The Power Angels with their slogan ‘do not tolerate, do not ignore,’ and appointed by their educational institutions, will volunteer to ensure the safety of women and girls under a UP Police initiative.
After the success of a pilot project that was launched in Lucknow regarding women safety and empowerment the state government is now going to recruit around one lakh female Special Police Officers (SPO) as Power Angels to work for women safety and make them feel that they do not stand alone in their fight for freedom and rights.
Deputy superintendent of police, WPL, Babita Singh, said, “The need for power angels was felt because girls are usually reluctant to voice their issues and lack awareness regarding relevant laws. Power angels would keep an eye on happenings in and around their localities and educational institutions and inform police about cases of harassment and domestic violence where complainants are reluctant to come forward. Police will take it from there. The angels will make their peers aware of women-related laws and rights. Their anonymity will be maintained. Police, which is struggling with staff crunch, will get information on time to take preventive measures.”
“These Special Police Officers will work as honorary or unpaid volunteers and will be awarded a certificate for their services. If the administration finds the work of a volunteer really exceptional, that particular Angel will be given a recommendation letter and, maybe, a prize as well,” said Navneet Sikera, Inspector General (Women Cell), UP Police.
Those who are interested, have to fill necessary forms which are available with the colleges and the administration. In 2013, Lucknow Police had trained five college girls vis-a-vis as Power Angels to tackle eve-teasing and harassment.
Richa Singh, the first Angel appointed, told Express, “I myself is a victim of eve-teasing hence wanted to help… I also want to counsel young girls so that when my daughter grows up, she does not suffer what I had suffered.”
Complaint-related work will be done through the women helpline number 1090. The Angels will be armed with ID cards so that the police do not reject their complaints. The police have sent one lakh forms to around 12,000 schools and colleges across the state, and they have got 16,000 recommendations for the job from various institutions, so far.
The Angels will be recommended by the college principals, and there would also be a teacher in the college who would be appointed as an associate officer, called Mother Angel, who will directly be in contact with the police. There is also a criterion for the selection of these angels which includes that the girls should have studied Class X and above. The same goes for the ID cards that would be allotted to them. These will have different validation periods. The validity of the ID cards of a Class X qualified girl is five years while three and two years will be the validity for Class XII pass, and post-graduate and above.
On possibilities of misuse of ID cards, Sekera said “Girls would act as informers and not involved in any administration. They will use ID only to identify themselves for reporting a matter to 1090 or police officials of their respective areas on CUG numbers. We will have a computerized data bank of all power-angels.”
Using technique of Out Bound Dialling (OBD) which means a call will be made on number of an angel from 1090 and told about common Sections of CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) for 90 seconds in audio, if the girl understands she will press 1 and if she does not then press 2 it will be repeated, like this daily one section of CrPC will be dealt in.
Training would include the following:
- Awareness about laws relating to women.
- Explaining the working of Police in brief.
- How to access a system of government.
- Maintaining one’s health and hygiene.
- Lectures on the development of Society at large.
- How to obtain information through RTI?
“Today, girls want to live their life freely and don’t want to be bogged down by the binding traditions which were brought down from her mother’s generation to her. This concept will change as the new project will educate girls about the worthlessness of these social stigmas. So, when they grow up, they do not create gender bias in the society.
Secondly, they will help us keep a watchful eye on the college to keep the environment safe and secure,” said Sikera.
The new system is expected to help the women and girls in a positive way. “It is a huge responsibility as people come to you for solutions. For me, the biggest achievement is that my self-respect has increased as I am able to help someone in need,” Singh added.