Taking Policing to a New Level – MBVV Police

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                                                                                                                    Mohit Naik

Within a year of its formation, the Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar Police Commissionerate is recognised as one of the top achievers in policing. The highly qualified and dedicated staff, backed by fresh and modern policing initiatives, is working round the clock to serve the citizens while tackling the crime rate within their jurisdiction. Zero fatality among police officers attached to MBVV during the second wave of the pandemic signifies their attention towards police welfare while also following strict COVID protocols.

Mira-Bhayandar and Vasai-Virar are two of the busiest cities adjoining Mumbai. Lakhs of commuters have migrated to these areas over the past several years. With a population of around 18 lakhs (Mira-Bhayandar) and 19.37 lakhs (Vasai-Virar), maintaining law and order is a challenging task. Analysing the situation, the State Government formed a police commissionerate to serve citizens more effectively. 

Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) Police Commissionerate was established on October 1, 2020.

Up until October 2020, the Mira-Bhayandar stretch was under Thane (Rural) Police District, and Vasai-Virar was under Palghar Police District. With the motto of upholding the rule of law impartially and firmly without fear or favour, the MBVV Police have strived to make the twin cities free from threat and danger and conducive for growth and development. The Commissionerate is prepared to deal with the multifaceted challenges of policing in the 21st century, and it believes that this chronicle will motivate the Force in striving for excellence. 

The second wave of the pandemic has proven to be deadlier than the first one, with the fatality rate reaching new heights. Maharashtra Police was deeply affected by the virus since it shook the country last year. To minimise the spread of the virus among the policemen and citizens, MBVV Commissioner, Shri Sadanand Date (IPS), took several measures to combat it. These measures were executed successfully, resulting in zero fatality of police officers during the second wave of the pandemic. 

While interacting with The Protector magazine under the guidance of the Commissioner of Police – MBVV, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Headquarter), Vijaykant Sagar, gave in-depth details about how they successfully implemented rules and minimise the spread of deadly virus under their jurisdiction. 

Vaccination Drive

As per the State and Central Government guidelines, the goal was to vaccinate the entire police force. Out of 2030 police officers and constabulary, 1936 police officers have successfully taken the first dose of the vaccine. 1760 have already received their second dose as per the interval phase given by the government. About 270 officers are yet to get their second dose. Out of a total number of police officers, 94 police personnel suffering from illnesses and are on medical leave are yet to be vaccinated. Due to this mass vaccination and strict implementation of COVID-19 guidelines, the MBVV Commissionerate has been kept safe and sheltered from the onslaught of the second wave.

Apart from vaccination, 10,000 N-95 masks and 1000 face shields were provided to police personnel on duty at various nakabandis and police stations. The Coissionerate allotted spray pumps and litres of sanitisers to all 13 police stations. They were all ordered to follow strict safety measures to avoid the spread of the virus.  

Rapid Testing

To detect if a person is suffering from the coronavirus, the best way is to get tested. The Commissionerate’s main focus is to increase the number of testing under the jurisdiction. Each police officer needs to get himself tested once a month. If an officer develops symptoms or he has come in contact with an infected person, he can get himself tested at a testing centre by opting for a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or RT-PCR test. Upon receiving a positive report, the officer is admitted to the hospital for treatment. A team of officers monitor the infected officer and the family members and provide a regular update to the Commissioner. Due to rapid and regular testing, the virus is detected in the early stages, and with quick treatment, the fatality rate was down to zero at the jurisdiction. 

While the above steps were taken for the police personnel, the MBVV Police Commissionerate took several measures to protect citizens, resulting in a higher recovery rate and lower fatalities. The first lockdown witnessed a large number of violators, but the second one is well managed by the police. The way the police coordinated with the citizens in every aspect lifted the image of the police in ways never seen before. 

Violators 

Wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing are two crucial aspects of minimising the spread of the virus. The MBVV Commissionerate distributed more than 10,000 face masks to the people who were roaming without one. About 24,354 cases were registered against people not wearing masks, and Rs 67.55 Lakhs of penalty was recovered from these violators. 

The police registered 13,025 cases against those not following social distancing norms. They were able to collect fines worth Rs 10.14 Lakhs from these rule-breakers. 

During the lockdown, there were restrictions on the movement of people from one place to another. Only essential services with a valid ID were permitted. The Traffic Department, MBVV Commissionerate conducted several nakabandis (roadblock checking) and registered 1,90,474 cases of lockdown violations. The police collected fines worth more than Rs 2.45 Crore from those roaming without a valid ID. 

Citizens

To minimise the spread of the virus, spreading awareness about it among the people is the best way to keep them informed about the current circumstances. The Commisionerate hired several private rickshaws and cars with a loudspeaker attached to them, patrolling the entire jurisdiction and announcing detailed information about lockdown rules and regulations. Educational videos were created and circulated on various social media platforms urging citizens to stay at home and follow the rules and safety norms to keep themselves safe from the coronavirus. An independent E-pass Cell was created to help people who need to travel for emergency cases within the State or outside. The Cell helps citizens and provide them with a travel pass after checking their requirements. 

COVID Help Desk

The MBVV Commissionerate office created a COVID Help Desk to help the public. Citizens could call the helpline number – 7021-909105 to get accurate details and updates about relaxations given by the government under the ‘Break the Chain’ order.

 COVID Cell

An independent 24×7 COVID Cell was set up at the Commissionerate to help people affected by the virus. The Cell provides citizens in need of COVID-related information with all details regarding medicine availability, hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, etc.

Lockdown Violators

The Police Department and the Municipal Corporation came up with an idea to minimise the spread of the virus. They appointed a team of police officers and municipal officers dressed in civilian clothes to detain lockdown violators and get them tested at the testing centre. If the result comes out negative, the person has to pay a fine and then allowed to go with a stern warning of not violating the set rules. On the other hand, if found positive, the person is taken to the nearest COVID Quarantine Cell for further treatment. Hence, many people were scared to violate the law, which helped bring down the number of active cases in the jurisdiction. 

E-Visit Facility

Since restrictions are in place due to the lockdown, the State Government had issued an order prohibiting visits to government offices. As a result, there was less footfall visiting police stations as well. To overcome this issue, the Commissionerate of Mira-Bhayandar Vasai-Virar started an E-visit programme where citizens can get in touch with the respective police officers online and communicate the problems and hardships they encounter.

“We have provided an email address [cpoffice.mb-vv@mahapolice.gov.in] and a WhatsApp number [+91-8591336698] on our official website. Citizens facing any problem or need to have their doubts cleared regarding any issue can email on the email ID or message us on WhatsApp. On receipt of the request, our team will respond to the complainant, providing details of the date, time and platform for an E-visit,” said an officer attached to MBVV.

The complainant can have a video chat with the respective police officer of their jurisdiction through the link.

Citizen Talk

“Due to the increasing population in both the cities, there was an urgent need for a separate Commissionerate. The Mira-Bhayandar Vasai-Virar Police Commissioner has brought a sense of relief to the local people. The MBVV Police are well-equipped with the latest technology and enough manpower to tackle any situation. Their sacrificial and systematic work during the pandemic is widely appreciated. Kudos to them.”

Nitesh Poojari, Journalist

“As we have seen on news channels, the second wave is much deadlier. MBVV Police have handled the situation responsibly and have helped several needy people during the lockdown period. I salute their work and the effort they have taken to keep us safe from the virus.”

Sreeraj Nair, An employee at a private firm

“A difficult job done wonderfully! It is not easy to get the results we seek; it is a time-consuming process. I must say that through the interactions I have had with the MBVV Police, they have always been professional, polite and friendly. My sincere thanks to the entire team.”

Sagar Ringe, Resident of Mira Road

“Our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day. They have a tough job to ensure the public is safe and hold lawbreakers accountable during normal times and even during the pandemic. I salute the MBVV Police.”

Ruchit Makwana, Law Student

“I went into journalism to learn the craft of writing and to get close to the world I wanted to write about – the criminal justice system. State cops have a tough time out there. I appreciate all the efforts they put in day in and day out.”

Rakesh Singh, Journalist and resident of Vasai-Virar