Leave applications are to be submitted only in English; every police personnel must own a smartphone and learn how to use WhatsApp before being posted to police stations; they must also buy and read English newspapers as well as a dictionary and learn at least five new English words every day.
These are among the new directions issued by the Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur SP Dev Ranjan Verma to all police personnel in the district.
The order was issued following classes and workshops organised at several police stations, the district headquarters and the police lines over the past week. Following the directives, district police personnel have started purchasing books and dictionaries to learn English.
“The reason behind the initiative is that all cybercrime and surveillance information is mostly in English. Amendments, new regulations are in English and if there are discrepancies in the English and Hindi version, the English one is considered valid,” he said.
“But more than all this, in the recent past, I have seen policemen making blunders in understanding court decisions in English. Following that, I decided to take the initiative to ensure police personnel learn at least basic English,” said Verma, a 2011 batch IPS officer, who joined the district on June 9 this year.
“For this, I made it mandatory that all leave applications coming to me are in English. Everyone from a police constable to senior officers has started taking help from others or Google to write applications. I personally check the applications and make corrections if needed,” he said.
“I have also made it mandatory for everyone to prepare a diary to learn English, buy and read newspapers, Oxford advanced learner dictionary and a Lucent English learning book. I will be going to police stations and outposts at random ensure everyone has all this.”
Asked about the availability of English newspapers in the district, he said that earlier, there was no supply but with increasing demand, hawkers had agreed to deliver English newspapers. He added that 70 Oxford dictionaries were purchased by police personnel in the Sadar circle alone.
“Another important decision I have taken is making a smartphone and applications like WhatsApp, Cam Scanner and Google Drive mandatory for everyone. No police personnel will be given posting at police stations or police outposts if they do not own a smartphone and do not know how to use these applications,” he said.
According to Verma, some personnel who had objected initially were sent to the police lines. “I said that those who not agreeing to this will be suspended. It is simply that in the present world, those who do not know how to use Whatsapp and cannot send texts and photos on it are of no use to us. We need people who can share information as fast as possible,” he said.
Verma has also shifted all case diaries online and made the Google Indic keyboard mandatory for voice typing. He said that for VIP duty, police personnel have been asked to purchase safari suits, branded sunglasses and shoes of the same model. So far, around 35-40 constables and sub-inspectors have given orders for suits.
“Generally, what happens is that when we go for such duties, VIPs do not like a large police force around them… We want our police personnel to look good. We had a meeting and chose a colour and pattern for a safari suit, a shoe model and a sunglasses,” he said.
“We will train these 35-40 police personnel in using pistols and will send them for the Close Protection Team (CPT) in the inner circle of VIP duty. The suit is for around Rs 4,500, sunglasses are for around Rs 1,000 and the shoes cost around Rs 900 and the amount will be paid for by the owner. They can be used for personal purposes too.”
Verma said that his district, unlike others, had also asked for more women personnel. “We have asked for 100 more women constables. We are changing perceptions. We have asked our women constables to do sentry duties with bulletproof jackets and rifles in combat mode all the time. For sentry duty, they have to stand for three hours in a shift carrying about 12 kg in weight. We are also asking our women police personnel to learn riding bikes,” he said.
Devipatan DIG Rakesh Singh said he was not given any official information about the decisions. “Whether the use of English is important or not is a policy decision and the Police Recruitment Board, the DGP and others assess what skills our personnel need. I cannot say anything about this. There was no such instruction from the higher level,” he said.
ADG Law and Order P V Ramasastry said that he did not have any information about the orders and that the decision was taken at the district level.
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