Delhi's new all-female motorbike police unit drive down street harassment against women
The unit helped reduce street harassment of women by 30 per cent
by Saptarshi Ray, New Delhi, 19 July 2018
A new all-female motorcyle police unit in New Delhi has helped drivie down incidents of harassment and intimidation against women in the Indian capital, according to latest figures.
The Raftaar (speed) unit consists of around 40 female officers, all on motorbikes, and has helped reduce street harassment of women by 30 per cent, according to police in the Indian capital.
Since the unit’s formation in February, incidents of stalking, molestation and “eve-teasing” (wolf whistling and general intimidation of women) have come down in several areas of the city.
Street harassment of women in the Indian capital is a constant menace, with police and women's groups offering helplines for females who feel unsafe at any point in the city. Special focus was put on the safety of women after the gang rape and murder of a female student on a bus in Delhi in 2012.
According to official statistics, 233 cases of crime against women were registered between October 2017 and February 2018. But since the Raftaar motorcycle unit was introduced in March the number has fallen to 163.
Delhi Police launched its 'All Women Patrolling Squad' in south district to strengthen women safety four months ago
Police chiefs say the team has managed to rescue women from stalkers and sexual predators during 24-hour patrols on the streets, keeping a special eye on university campuses, shopping malls, metro stations and parks.
Two weeks ago a young woman was being followed by a group of men near the a mall in the Saket district in the morning when officers saw her running towards a metro station and they intervened, reported India Today TV.
Similarly, a girl in her 20s was being followed by a stranger near the green area of Deer Park when she was rescued by the team and escorted home.
"We keep an eye on girls in distress. In several cases, members of the woman squad have nabbed stalkers. They rescue girls and also ensure they reach their destination safely," said Vijayanta Arya, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, who is in charge of the squad.
She added that the team was formed in March due to the frequency of women being harrassed on the city’s streets, and that having the the officers in pairs and on motorbikes means they can access most areas in safety.
"We have chosen young and energetic women personnel who underwent rigorous training to combat strangers, as well as have the ability to make victims feel comfortable," Arya told India Today.
The squad members are equipped with mobile wireless sets and proactively check with girls and women they see travelling alone, to ensure word spreads of the unit’s existence.
"The aim of our squad is not only to rescue women but also prevent the occurrence of heinous crimes," Arya said.