Bengal government issues guidelines for civic volunteers in police duty

by IANS |

Kolkata, March 25 (IANS) Pushed by the Calcutta High Court, the West Bengal police directorate has finally defined the role of civic volunteers in police-related activities and issued guidelines on this count.

Under the guidelines issued by the directorate on Saturday, civic volunteers will assist police personnel in traffic management and other related duties on the occasion of special festivals like Durga Puja, Christmas and New Year's Eve, among others.

With regards to regular duties, the civic volunteers' roles will be restricted to traffic management duties like assisting the police personnel in preventing illegal parking and similar such duties.

Another major role of these civic volunteers, as per the guidelines, will be in helping and guiding commuters to follow the traffic rules.

On March 21, the single-judge bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha directed the state government to define the role of civic volunteers in assisting regular police forces in maintaining law and order and prepare detailed guidelines.

The state government is supposed to present a detailed report to the bench by March 29.

The court's direction came after frequent complaints of excesses by a section of the civic volunteers, who as per police manuals, do not enjoy the powers and jurisdiction of the regular police personnel.

The post of civic volunteers was created in Kolkata Police and West Bengal Police in 2012 -- a year after the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government came to power in West Bengal ending the 34-year long Left Front regime.

As per the records of the Chief Minister's office, currently there are 1,19,916 civic volunteers in the state.

The appointment for civic volunteers is purely on a contractual basis and they are entitled to a monthly payment of Rs 9,000 besides some additional benefits like insurance.

The opposition parties had been vocal against the appointment of civic volunteers since the beginning.

The contention of the opposition parties had been that these civic volunteers are principally the uniformed cadres of the ruling Trinamool.

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