Gurgaon: In a first in the country, Faridabad police has set up a dedicated wing for youngsters, Teenage Police (TAP), to protect them from bullying, trafficking, drug abuse and alcohol addiction.
Newly appointed commissioner of police in Faridabad OP Singh told TOI that it is the need of the hour to address age-related issues faced by youngsters who are between 14 and 19 years.
“Often teenagers face bullying and victimisation by unscrupulous elements and the threat has increased because of their exposure to social media and internet,” he said, adding that an ACP-rank officer will lead the wing.
“The officer will work in close coordination with school authorities, parents associations and NGOs that deal with teenage problems in the area,” Singh said.
He added that TAP will also create an interactive platform of schools’ captains and sports teams’ captains. “It will host sessions with them through web-conferences and face-to-face interactions to understand the problems they and their peers face and seek suggestions in how best to deal with them. Based on that an effective police response will be formed,” he said, adding that police receive many complaints related to cyber crime, in which teenagers have received obscene messages or videos from fake accounts that threaten them of dire consequences if reported.
Haryana director general of police Manoj Yadava told TOI that it will be a part of their community-based policing, and it will be started first in Faridabad as a pilot project. “Based on the response, we will extend it to other districts of the state. Teenagers go through a lot of physical and emotional changes and it may be stressful, and they are vulnerable to crime. Haryana police is committed to taking care of the younger population,” he said.
Under the initiative, Haryana police also plans to launch a helpline with the help of reputed NGOs active in this field for parents and victims.
Singh added that TAP will also use social media platforms such as Instagram, which are popular among teenagers. “Through these, it will seek to educate teenagers about possible victimization,” said Singh, who joined the post on July 1, adding that ‘Parents Teachers Meetings’ will also be used to sensitise parents and teachers about the steps they need to take to save their children from potential harm.
Meanwhile, Charu Maini, principal of DAV Public School in Sector 49, Gurgaon, said that such an initiative will surely instill a sense of security among teenagers against bullying. “We have been organising counselling sessions at our school, even during the lockdown to check on the wellbeing of the students,” she said.