More than 16,000 volunteers signed up as civil police wardens to work with the Bengaluru police to help manage the city during the lockdown. The civil police wardens were mainly deployed at checkposts to check the identity cards of people commuting in the city during the week-long lockdown, at a time when the strength of the police force has been reduced.
Around 940 police officials have tested positive for coronavirus in Bengaluru while many others were quarantined. Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao has also asked police officials over the age of 55 to stay at home.
"More than 16,000 volunteers registered and they are being deployed in checkposts and station work by inspectors at the police station. This depends on what the volunteers have shown an interest in. The work hours are flexible but their shifts are managed directly by inspectors," says Isha Pant, DCP, Command Centre.
The volunteers accompanied policemen in night patrolling, managing checkposts, answering questions of the general public and assisting station house officers.
They are also required to assist in documentation and computer work at the police station level, enforce physical distancing and wearing face masks among the public.
She added that the police were overwhelmed by the response of the public in helping the police manage the lockdown. "The reaction has been good and slowly, we are utilising all of them. We can't utilise them in one go. It's going on so far and we have not faced any issues. The response has been really good," Isha Pant added.
"There are three shifts in my station and I report to one of the sub-inspectors. Most of us who signed up are deployed in checkpost duty. We are made to sign an attendance sheet everyday," a volunteer deployed to check identity cards at checkposts in Bengaluru's Rajagopal Nagar told TNM.
"We would even do night shifts and would help the station inspector with any other work that came up," says the volunteer.
With the lockdown having been lifted on Wednesday, the volunteers will continue helping the police in other work.
As some people were misunderstanding that the voluntary work would be a paid duty, Bhaskar Rao clarified last week that people volunteering as civil police wardens with the city police department will not receive any remuneration.
The Karnataka government has also deployed a citizen quarantine watch squad in the last four months to check the status of people supposed to be in home quarantine. The citizen-government initiative is headed by Manivanan, an IAS officer who was transferred from his role in the Labour Department to the Department of Animal Husbandry.