In what seems to be a scene straight out of a Telugu movie, police personnel at the Ongole Taluk Police station were left red-faced after they mistreated a 'complainant'. For their bad luck, the complainant was a trainee IPS officer, who had come to the station undercover. The trainee official was sent to the police station by Prakasam District Superintendent of Police (SP) Siddharth Kaushal.
The trainee officer, Jagadeesh P, went to the police station earlier this week dressed in civilian clothes and pretended to be a youngster who had lost his mobile phone.
Upon reaching the police station, he expressed his wish to file a 'complaint' that some miscreants had stolen his phone after assaulting him. Instead of taking a formal complaint, the on-duty reception staff and constables reportedly mistreated him, and used rude language.
Jagadeesh made multiple efforts to convince the officials, telling them that he had to rush to Gannavaram airport as he was booked on a flight. Later, a constable took the complaint and asked him to meet the station writer.
As Jagadeesh sought a copy of the FIR or receipt of the complaint, station writer K Sudhakar kept questioning Jagadeesh about the reasons why he came to the city and asked him to 'prove' that it was a robbery. According to reports, the policeman even threatened Jagadeesh with consequences if his complaint was proven to be false.
The entire process took over 45 minutes and when one Sub Inspector (SI) Samabshivaiah turned up at the station, Jagadeesh asked him to hear his plea, but the SI asked to him come in the evening instead, and meet Circle Inspector (CI) M Lakshman.
With all his efforts going in vain, the trainee IPS officer pulled out a phone from his pocket and made a call. Moments later, an escort vehicle with security detail arrived outside the police station.
The 'complainant' then proceeded to get into the car and leave. It was here that the staff realised that the 'complainant' was a police officer in plainclothes.
Action taken against staff
Based on the trainee IPS officer's report, SP Kaushal has taken action against the errant officials. He has suspended the station writer Sudhakar and served show-cause notices to four staff, including the Station House Officer (SHO).
According to officials, there had been complaints in the past about alleged mistreatment of complainants by staff in that specific police station.
Speaking to TNM, SP Siddharth Kaushal said, "Instead of conducting a regular review or sending our own officers, we have roped trainee IPS officer as they can inspect anonymously without getting identified. The officer saw the mistreatment and rude behavior of the officials. After the confirmation, we have suspended the station writer and issued charge memos to five, including the SHO and SI."
He further added, "With this, a clear message has gone to all the police stations that such behavior is not acceptable. We are emphasising on treating the people who seek police help, sensitively. We are not afraid to admit that there is scope for improvement in the system."
Of late, the Prakasam police is in the news for its proactive and friendly policing with schemes such as 'Abhay', where women can get free drop home service during the night.