THANE COMMISSIONER of Police, Param Bir Singh has begun a new initiative to allow for interpersonal interaction between police officials and the constabulary — an informal forum called ‘Tea with the Police Commissioner, Thane’. ACP Yashaswi Yadav said, “This forum is essentially meant to facilitate informal interaction of the constables with senior IPS officers. The constables make up 95% of our force but can tend to be neglected. For many of them, this forum is a once in a lifetime opportunity to personally meet the officers.”
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The initiative was kicked off on October 20 this year and is a daily fixture in which 15 constables from various police stations under the commissioner meet him and other senior officials for tea and to chat at four in the afternoon. ACP Yadav says, “In about a year and a half we should be able to make an entire round of every constable in all the branches and police stations under the commissioner.”
All those attending this interaction are in casual wear, not uniforms. “During this time we want to put ranks aside. Usually the constables are apprehensive about approaching their seniors but we want to ease that stress here,” Yadav says. Says Commissioner Singh, “I talk to them about their families, health, spirituality, fitness, and so on. I want to understand them as humans, not personnel. For work-related issues, we have other forums like the darbar and orderly groups. This is solely to talk about personal matters.”
The constabulary appear to be generally pleased about the new set-up. Shrikanth Wagh and Ananta Donde who have been a part of the force for 25 years say that they have not had this kind of interaction with their seniors before. In fact, Donde — who is from the Badlapur East police station — says that he has never seen any of these senior officers personally.
They believe that this system is positive and should be continued. Sneha Dhanawade from Kasarwadavali station says, “We are always in our uniforms so I’m feeling free in my civils. We talked about our families; it felt quite homely.” Many in the police force are now hoping that the initiative continues and is extended to other units too.