Lucknow: From monitoring bloating waistlines to logging on to Facebook to leveraging the benefits of IT, the 125,000-strong Uttar Pradesh Police, hitherto infamous for its acts of omission rather than commission, is attempting a complete makeover - on orders from the top.
Senior officers have been asked to not only get their "act together" in the wake of a poor law and order situation but to also ensure that the change in behaviour - a more pro-people one - is for all to see in the nation's most populous state of nearly 200 million people.
Admitting that there was "still a lot of roughness at the chowki levels", Uttar Pradesh police chief AC Sharma said since the lower levels of the constabulary were the face of the entire force, they are being trained and groomed into being "better and more effective policemen".
"The situation at my office and at the chief minister's janta durbar is mind-boggling. We are disappointed that such a large number of complaints has to come to Lucknow which ideally should have been resolved at the lowest level or the zonal level," A.C. Sharma told IANS, adding that the state police's establishment department, akin to the HR department of the corporate world, has been asked to "hammer out the chinks at the bottlenecks".
One such move is to create a system whereby policemen would be able to directly interact with their superiors, express their problems and discuss issues without the "long red tape of hierarchy in between".
Inspector General of Police (Establishment) Sandeep Salunke, while confirming a "host of fresh incentives", informed that very soon, constables would be able to interact with their superiors through SMS.
A police officer said that soon every district would have a Facebook page of its own on which would be posted pro-people initiatives every day as also responses to complaints posted on the site.
A 24x7 helpline is also likely to begin operating at the zonal levels in July and a detailed data base of the entire force is being compiled from "many loose sources" to create a unified command data base, the officer said.
An exercise has also begun to monitor the waistlines of policemen to ensure that lean and fit officers get prime postings in various districts. "This will mark a major makeover as bloating waistlines are generally synonymous with the sagging image of the police force," a senior officer told IANS.
Other than this, the establishment branch of the police is also trying to "give their best men" in response to requests made by agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the National Investigative Agency (NIA) for probing various cases.
The CBI recently requested the Uttar Pradesh Police for 10 inspectors to probe the National Rural Health Mission scam and the NIA, which is setting up shop in the state capital this year, has asked for three sub-inspectors, one head constable and 11 constables.