All-Female Police Squad Launched In Noida For Women’s Safety

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A new patrolling unit comprising an all-women squad has been launched by the Gautam Buddh Nagar police in Noida and Greater Noida. The aim of this patrolling unit is to ensure greater safety for women in these areas.

The “SwayamSiddha” Patrol Units Were Flagged Off On 1st August

Police Commissioner Alok Singh flagged off 50 of the “SwayamSiddha” patrolling units on Saturday. According to News18, the officials said that the units are to frequent such locations as metro stations, auto stands, schools, colleges, shopping malls, and other areas that receive female footfall in large numbers.

100 scooters have been provided to the new unit, with provisions for one rider per scooter. The uniformed personnel – which could be a sub-inspector, head constable, or constable – will be equipped with a baton, body camera, and “hidden arms and ammunitions”.

They will also constantly patrol crucial hotspots and stretches of road in the district that have been, or could be, particularly unsafe for women.

The initiative is the work of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Women Safety) Vrinda Shukla.

Police Commissioner Alok Singh said, “Her department has been coming up with initiatives on women safety in the past also which have shown positive results. Today, 50 such units have been launched. The initiative has been done after adequate research. About 163 hotspots were identified across the district where women felt a need for more police security. Route charts have been prepared accordingly for the patrolling units.”

He said that ever since its inception in January, 2020, women’s safety has been a key focus area of the Gautam Buddh Nagar police Commissionerate.

The plan involves deploying the units during the daytime initially, and depending on feedback, changes will be implemented later on in terms of duty timings and equipment availability.

 Pink Is Power 

A photo of the scooter-borne all-female squad released by the Press Trust of India shows the troop of female police officers donning pink raincoats. The swarm of pink uniform-like raincoats is a clear adherence to the historically gendered socialisation that mandatorily associates blue with boys and pink with girls. This socialisation comes with a myriad of other gendered divides and discriminations between the masculine and the feminine.

However, the conditioned association of pink with femininity already exists in the people’s minds. In recent years, from groups like the Gulabi Gang to activist movements and feminist protests, there has been a wave of dismissing the notion of weakness and inferiority that has come to be associated with femininity and the colour pink by association. This is done by reclaiming it in a show of women’s strength, power, and refusal to succumb to injustices.

The pink raincoats then may be a stereotype, but through the female squad’s undoubtedly incredible work in the future, can be a step to dismantling gendered constructs of the colour being associated with sexist ideas of weakness and passivity in people’s minds.  

Past Data Shows That Presence Of Women Officers Is Imperative To Dealing With Crimes Against Women 

According to the ‘Status of Policing in India Report, 2019” by Common Cause, women comprise just 7% of India’s police force. Even once they enter the police force, women face a multitude of hurdles. Less than 1% of women hold supervisory positions. 

This disproportionately low number has led to impediments in proper investigations into gendered violence and crimes against women. Studies by the National Family Health Survey show that 99% of sexual assault cases in India go unreported. 

“Data from 39 countries show that the presence of women police officers correlates positively with reporting of sexual assault, which confirms that recruiting women is an important component of a gender-responsive justice system,” the United Nations Women said in its 2011-12 report. 

Positive Initiatives Have Been Implemented For Women’s Safety By Noida Police

In July, in a landmark move, the female constables of Noida were sent on-ground for traffic duty for the first time. Before this the women in the traffic department were allotted desk jobs only.

They have started a “mahila chaupal” – a public meeting to encourage dialogue between the women and the police, set up dedicated units catering to women in each police station in the district, and set up a clinic the provides legal and mental counselling for resolving family disputes in cases of marital discord. Before rolling out these programmes, the public’s opinions and ideas were requested and considered, and feedback was taken from NGOs that work for women’s issues.

The need for women’s protection and safety, and for the recruitment of women in positions of power to ensure this safety, is clearly dire. It is heartening to see the need being acknowledged, women’s grievances being valued, and action being implemented to help resolve it, by the authorities.

These are positive steps in the direction of women’s safety and gender equality, and the new scooter-borne all-female squad is sure to steer us swiftly towards that goal!  

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Sanjana writes far too little to call herself a writer and reads far too much pop-culture fiction to call herself a reader. She once received a Special Mention for the Best Young Critic Award by MAMI, and refuses to stop talking about it. Her love for films, art, and theatre runs deep and is only borderline pretentious. She detests writing in third person but can be convinced to engage in it occasionally.

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