Sanjay Pandey: The good cop, who is taking on the bad and the ugly. Common people get to air their grievances in person with the top cop.
By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | April 23, 2022
The name is Pandey, Sanjay Pandey
Mumbai Police Commissioner, Sanjay Pandey is a no-nonsense man. He takes his position seriously. Seriously to the extent that he knows he can make a difference. He is making a difference. Those who know him for a long time will vouch for his honesty and approach to his job and how he goes the extra mile to help anyone in need—within the purview of the law.
Pandey is out to make an impact, and how! He stands in the firing line. He is out there setting an example. He leads from the front. He is the one active on his social media accounts, handling the accounts! “I am active on all my social media accounts—Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp and people think that somebody is handling my Social Media. But let me tell you this: nobody is handling my accounts. It’s me,” he reveals.
“I realized that if I wanted information from the citizens, the only way was directly through my number. I shared my number because that is the best route to get unfiltered information. Who am I working for? It is certainly the citizens. So citizens should be able to approach me.”
Just a few months into his posting as Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, and the city of Mumbai is feeling the change. The decibel levels at construction sites have been regularized, senior citizens are being visited, and complaints of citizens are being looked into personally, no matter what your status. One WhatsApp message and there is an immediate reply for a meeting at the Headquarters. When was the last time a normal citizen had this confidence in the police force? When was the last time a Top Cop personally addressed your grievance?
Not in a long, long time!
The Fourth Estate and Sanjay Pandey
Recently, The Commissioner of Police met with the journalists at the Mumbai Press Club and listed out the various things he has done and the other plans he has which will follow soon. There were brilliant ideas which were already implemented and some which are in the implementing stage.
My immediate question to him was, “Sir, I hope you will be there for the next five years because the initiatives have to be followed up.” My question was necessitated because, in the course of his conversation, he mentioned that he would soon be a senior citizen. As a citizen, this was not good news for me. Because when something good is being implemented and the person behind it moves away, that good soon crumbles because the next in charge may not have the same passion or dedication or drive or the inclination to be one with the masses.
He replies with wit, “My being timed out is not in my control. It happens to every bureaucrat. There is a time till which you work; sixty years is what is defined. I have nothing more to say about that. It’s part of the process.”
That’s certainly bad news. For someone who is doing so much at such a rapid pace, I sincerely hope that this will be one Mumbai Police Commissioner who will be given a five-year term, irrespective of his age.
Reducing work hours of the police force
My next question to him was about the work timing of the police force. I feel they are overworked. Pandey replied, “On International Women’s Day (March 8), women in the police force began an 8-hour shift. We are also working on giving the men a 12 and 24 hours break. There are issues of manpower, but we are working to resolve the timing part.”
He explains why the police are being overburdened. Bandobast duty. “Having said that, I still believe my enforcement is stronger. You would have seen the recent morchas and protest marches being taken out. Haven’t you seen them very silent now? If we enforce it properly, I don’t need so much manpower. In Saudi Arabia, we don’t see a single constable on the road: they have cameras. Yes, we also have cameras. But what is the fine in Saudi? 300 Riyals and/or 24 hours in jail. That’s the enforcement. We are not saying we will put you in jail but what I am saying is that in most cases, not only traffic, if the law is enforced properly I think I have enough manpower. A 45,000 force is enough to handle this.”
Issues that have been looked into are:
No towing away of vehicles
Lowering Decibel levels at Construction sites
Visiting of senior citizens by the local police once a week
Tackling wrong-side driving
Removal of khataras
Rewarding his police force, across ranks, from the Government Fund to the tune of Rs 25,000 to motivate them
Beginning an Initiative called ‘Silent Sundays’
Ensuring Members of a Society is not harassed by the MC
Working towards helping MC with Members who owe Society their dues
Sir, I would also like to highlight, among the many issues Mumbaikars face, the one menace on the roads whilst driving: Bikers. Something needs to be done about their discipline.
Please pass a law to arrest the bikers who cut dangerously from any side and overtake a four-wheeler from the wrong side. There should be a hefty fine to discourage this menace.
Also, those talking on the phone while driving, even hands-free, should be penalised. Their license should be suspended for three months.