The offences against women in Hyderabad have come down by around 20 per cent since the setting up of ‘SHE Teams’, the Hyderabad Police’s wing tasked with cracking down on eve-teasers and stalkers, a senior official has said. The ‘SHE Teams’ were launched on October 24, 2014 in Hyderabad with the aim of curbing sexual harassment at all places and providing safety and security to women in the society and building up their confidence.
A SHE Team comprises a male or female sub-inspector, a woman police constable and three other police constables who carry hidden cameras for video-recording. “Over the past three years, the SHE Teams have caught 1,464 people red-handed and addressed 3,516 cases. Overall the reduction in offences (relating to harassment) against women is around 20 per cent,” Additional Commissioner of Police (crimes and SIT) Swati Lakra said.
Among those who were caught included 363 minors, another police official said, said adding that 20 per cent of the offenders were jailed and 80 per cent were fined. Besides, 950 others caught were warned and let-off. “The culprits are nabbed red-handed with the personnel of the SHE Teams using discreet cameras to record the offence as and when it is committed, and by acting on complaints received through WhatsApp and various other social media platforms, email and post,” the official said.
According to Lakra, numerous awareness programmes have been conducted to educate women on self-defence techniques and ways of staying clear of cyber crimes. Campaigns have been conducted successfully to empower women and make them feel confident, she said. In all, 3,516 complaints were received through various means and addressed upon, a police official said. The complaints were related to offences like stalking, harassment on phone, passing lewd comments, harassment through social media, touching inappropriately, taking photos without the victim’s knowledge and creating nuisance at girls’ colleges and hostels, police said.
“The cases are registered suo motu when the victimised women doesn’t come forward to register a case. In most cases, the offender’s family members are called to the police station as it has been observed that arraigning the offender before his near and dear ones has a positive impact,” a police official said. “If the offender is a minor, he is counselled individually before his family members (usually parents) by a panel of psychologists to mend his ways and the details of these conversations are recorded. If the offender is a major, a case is booked. The cases are registered only after a thorough inquiry,” the official explained.
The concept of SHE Teams has been extended to all districts and commissionerates of Telangana and it has been replicated in six other states – Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh – under different names, Lakra said. The concept of such police teams has also been introduced in the intermediate curriculum of the Telangana State Board, she said. To increase the horizon of training activities carried out by SHE Teams, a 15-minute free e-learning course has been initiated with the sole purpose of raising public awareness on women’s safety, police added.