Cops plan phone-in counselling for elderly

Source: Times of India

NAGPUR: The city police’s social service branch (SSB) is set to start telephonic counselling of senior citizens regarding tricksters posing as police personnel. The cops would also explain to senior citizens the modus operandi of online fraudsters targeting vulnerable citizens.

City police have also revived their beneficiary scheme for senior citizens after a lull of around two years, targeting the 5,522 enrolled members, including 438 women. The scheme, which also includes round-the-clock helpline 0712-2226533, would ensure the elderly population is shielded from any harm, whether on the road or inside their homes.

This year, the police have already intervened to redress grievances of 37 senior citizens with positive outcome. Till May this year, special senior citizen cell had also visited 259 senior citizens at their residences to learn about their grievances. Around 160 senior citizens have also been issued identity card by the department.

DCP, Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Shweta Khedkar said ‘feel good’ factors would also be added to the functioning of the cell, including wishing lonely souls on their birthdays once the database is ready. “There is considerable fall in crime against senior citizens in the city this year in comparison to 2017. We are aiming at providing layers of security around senior citizens by engaging personnel from different units,” she said.

“At present, we are focusing on the system of regular phone calls to senior citizens to enquire about their well-being, and try to solve their issues if it is within our purview,” said the DCP. She also said the social justice department would be asked to expedite the police reports regarding atrocities on senior citizens as per the special enactment on them. “Damini squads constituted to help women would also be engaged to extend support to senior citizens. There are four Damini squads, which would be working in this direction,” she said.

As city police have been trying to secure senior citizens, the dropping crime rates against them has been a morale booster. There were 121 offences against senior citizens in 2017, including eight murders and 44 cases of robberies. This year, there had been only six till May.

Khedkar said the names and other details of senior citizens would preferably be handled by beat in-charges. “Various anti-crime measures like Criminal Intensive Surveillance Project (CRISP) and beat system had helped reduce criminal activities, which also took care of the vulnerable elderly population,” she said.

Khedkar said the police department would now try to re-focus their efforts to ensure that different risk-prone groups among senior citizens are identified and extended security surveillance. “We expect NGOs to come forward and help us, as there is a substantial senior citizen population in city, which can be better covered for security surveillance if citizens groups come forward,” she said.

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