In a first-of-its-kind initiative in Maharashtra, Pune City Police on Monday started the ‘Balsnehi (child-friendly) police station’ on the premises of the Lashkar police station in Pune Camp.
Objectives of the ‘child-friendly police station’ include creating a set-up on the police premises that promises to provide a curative and preventive approach at rehabilitating children in need.
The police station, which has a room designated for children who would come to the police station to report cases, was jointly inaugurated by Kanpur IIT Director Abhay Karandikar, Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta, Joint Commissioner of Police Ravindra Shisave, and CEO of Hope for Children Foundation, Caroline Audior De Valter.
Police said the aim of the initiative was to provide an environment that will enable children to report cases without fear. This will benefit even those children who have committed offences and “ensure that repeated offenders and children from nearby communities are not engaged in criminal activities and, on the contrary, support police in prevention of crime.”
While members of civil society will help police personnel provide counseling to children in need, HFCF teams will train police on child-friendly mechanisms.
Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said this initiative will help in eliminating the prejudice against police among the public. While the first child-friendly police station at Lashkar has been started on an experimental basis, Gupta said similar initiatives might be seen in other police stations in the future.
Karandikar, the chief guest, said in his speech, “We would like the police station itself to be friendly… The concept of child-friendly police station is very innovative. The Juvenile Justice Act requires children to get help. Police is the first interface to provide this help… However, only police can’t do everything. All stakeholders in the society should participate in this initiative.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Bachchan Singh also gave an introduction about the special juvenile protection unit of the Pune City Police and the child-friendly police station initiative.
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