Mumbai: Foot patrolling could make a comeback, says police

With decent success of combing operations carried out once or twice a month to patrol the city streets and root out any street crime and externed criminals, police are likely to consider bringing 'foot patrolling' back in action. Foot patrolling not only helps find criminals in their home base, but also helps officials get a better lay of land as well as make a connection with the local public, who additionally get a sense of safety amid police presence.

According to a senior Mumbai Police official, the recent combing operations ahead of Republic Day had resulted in the arrest of 52 absconding and wanted accused, while 59 accused involved in non-bailable offences were also apprehended. Taking cue from the fresh success, police are likely to consider to roll out the foot patrolling again.

Last year, the then Additional Commissioner of Police (West) Manoj Kumar Sharma had spearheaded an initiative, wherein policemen from Oshiwara to Bandra used to hit the streets in the evening for foot patrolling and networking. Not only had this foot patrolling helped policemen know areas in their jurisdiction like the back of their palms, but had also posed as a deterrent to street thugs. The conventional way of policing through foot patrolling had helped officials build a good rapport with citizens, instill confidence in them, and eventually ward off criminals in the area.

Jiya Khanna, 29, a wedding photographer said that one day when was on her way back home in Jogeshwari (W), when a man had snatched her phone while walking. Luckily, a team from Amboli police station was on foot patrolling, who immediately chased the man and apprehended him for mobile snatching. Subsequently, a case was registered and the man was put behind bars.

Speaking about the incident, Khanna said, "I was lucky to be surrounded by police officers at that time, or else I would have lost the phone, with contacts and other photos from my assignment. Since then, whenever I see a policeman passing by, I feel a sense of content and safety."

According to an official, the foot patrolling had led to a steep decline in the street crimes in western suburbs of Mumbai, with criminals forewarned about police presence. Police had also returned to basics of local networking by visiting the tea-and-pan-vendors, who were once deemed as ‘the khabri’ of Mumbai Police. As a part of foot patrolling exercise, police could also visit remote areas of their jurisdiction which are otherwise inaccessible by police vans and motorcycles.

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