Royal Enfield, Mahindra Jeep, Hyundai Accent and now BSA SLR?

Someone at the Police Department seems to have loads of sense of humour!!! For years, the good old Royal Enfield and Mahindra Jeep had served the Indian Police loyally, when suddenly last year the Karunanidhi government decided to gift them with a new set of toys – the Hyundai Accent car. I have never understood why the Accent was chosen. Its a luxury class vehicle. Anyway, these new cars were fitted with sirens and blazing lights to match international standards. Now, we can see these cars wizzing past us every now and then. I have often guessed either they are rushing home for lunch or escorting some politician on his way home for lunch. Honestly, I have never seen a real life police chase in India. Maybe I am missing out on the action everyday.

Anyway, after experimenting with Accent car for over a year now, the Police department seems to have a new theory now – Cycles are better than cars when it comes to speed and convenience. Check out these sentences from the press release –

These bicycles besides making the policemen reach the scene of crime immediately…

wow! thats something new. Ok…. what else? check out this –

In any incident of crime, instant and swift reaction by the police was of paramount importance, hence the concept of bicycles for the men to easily move around, officers said.

I wonder how many physically fit police officers are out there to ride bicycles fast… Remember those cops from the Miami Beach? (If you haven’t seen them… try watching Miami Vice, CSI and Baywatch) Now, picture our khaki clad police officers in shorts and shirts, with their guns, walkie-talkies attached to their belts, pedaling away at high speed through Ranganathan Street (in chennai) to stop crime and save the day!!!

If you are still on your chair and not on the floor laughing, read the original press release.

Coimbatore: To ensure visible and effective policing in inaccessible areas in the cramped old Coimbatore City with too many lanes and by-lanes, the City Police have given 50 bicycles for the policemen to patrol.

The City Police Commissioner, C.K. Gandhirajan handed over 25 bicycles each to the Assistant Commissioners of Police S. Rajendran (South), R. Chakravarthy (West) for the use of policemen in these two sub-divisions.

Police officials said that Coimbatore City Police already have jeeps to patrol the main and arterial roads besides anti-chain snatching squad and crime busters on motorcycles to reach out to smaller roads. There was also a mounted horse unit at the Armed Reserve for patrolling the Race Course walking track.

This bicycle patrolling would help the police reach lanes, by-lanes and smaller streets where policemen on motorcycles could not easily manoeuvre. In any incident of crime, instant and swift reaction by the police was of paramount importance, hence the concept of bicycles for the men to easily move around, officers said. These bicycles besides making the policemen reach the scene of crime immediately and would also help them reach inaccessible areas for peacetime policing initiatives.

[Source: The Hindu]

No offense to the police department. But, still somenone had to call out that the king is naked. Someone had to call out that their ideas are not very bright. I wonder if any of these ideas go through a process of Brainstorming, review and approval? If it does, then I would strongly suggest a change of the review panel!

19 Comments so far

  1. Kokki_ Jacobus (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

    ROFL!! The next logical step would be to give the cops cycle tyres, a stick to ‘drive’ it and whistles :))

  2. Rajesh (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

    :-) Any idea how many of the Accents are in use now ? BTW, Cycles are much more affordable than Accents and more environmental friendly. This could be part of Green Policing effort. Who knows…

    Cycles are easy for the daily collections. I was working in the third floor of a building next to one of the major roads in Chennai. In front of the office there used to be some hawkers on the footpath with 20 Rs.items. Every day we used to see one man on a cycle stopping next to these hawkers and taking some money. The sad part is this man was used to be in uniform. :-)

  3. Manoj.M (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 1:35 pm

    This mode of patrolling on bicycles may be new to India and given the stigma attached to riding bicycles its not entirely surprising to see such comments.But the US police have realized the effectiveness of bicycles in narrow alleys long time back. The Florida bicycle patrol uses bicycles for effective patrolling. The west is returning to cleaner forms of transportation after realizing their folly with indiscriminate use of fuel-guzzling cars. In fact, in the west, it is supposed that health & environment conscious people ride bicycles. We Indians are just tasting the results of an open market economy and soon have to return to cycles after paying the price with a severely polluted environment.

  4. neoflys (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

    The kind of crime they show in CSI does not happen in chennai. Most of the thieves in cehnnai are not that smart. Using cycles in chennai streets makes more sense to me. I used cyles in our streets for more than a decade and it’s very true that you can maneuver faster than motor cycles in many streets. also we can see much fitter cops in our roads.
    and maybe you should cut down the level of sarcasm. Our police in chennai are doing a far better job than anyone in our country.

  5. Ela (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 4:12 pm

    I agree with Mr.Manoj about our people´s mentality…. if u r whissing past (which is not possible now with the amount of traffic in chennai) in a car, which is by the way is covered under a long term loan scheme from a bank, then u r considered as a high tech, civilised customer at par with European life standards?! Riding bicycle is not gonna make someone cool there…. and ofcourse with our people not knowning the meaning of signal lights it is also not very safe…i was totally scared this time… thought that when there is a green man out there i could walk across… seemed i was wrong, it was time for cars and bikes to go on….

    Anyway cycles are very ecofriendly, fun to ride (provided others r have not already crowded the place with smoke and noise), makes one look really cool and can make our long time dream come true….. well toned, active police men….

    And with my last trip to Coimbatore i was impressed with that city, far much better than Chennai in cleanliness, less pollution, much more ordered traffic police force… i am not so familiar with that city, but from what i saw, that too in comparison with Chennai, one can´t make fun of them and their ideas.

    Don´t take it too personally, but may be the stigma attached with bicycles could be removed if we ask some of our beautiful heroines to pose with bicycles and post that on huge boardings all over Chennai(someone has to take responsibilty to find place) and ask them to say how much they luv to ride bicycles!!!

    I don´t mind it, only if i can leave the world as a reasonable place if not a much better place for my kids to live!!!

  6. udayms (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 4:34 pm

    @Neoflys: True. The only problem is that we don’t have that many physically fit police men out there. Also, the criticism is not about Police using cycles. It’s about the changing systems based on someone’s whims and fancies. That is bad. What research have they based this decision on? Cycle patrolling works if its localized to certain areas. For ex:- its used in the Florida Beach. Not the entire stretch of Florida. In San Francisco, cycle patrol operates within the Airport.

    Cycle patrol is definitely a nice idea. But, my only question was whether any proper ground work has been done before giving out 10 bicycles and asking policemen to ride that on the streets. I honestly do not think so.

    I can list out more examples of half cocked ideas by authorities being tried out on streets before realizing that it was blunder. And then quietly those actions fade away from the light. And who has paid for these mistakes? The Indian Tax Payer. And I disagree with one point you mentioned –

    Our police in chennai are doing a far better job than anyone in our country.

    This is the same excuse every Indian is giving each other. This is an excuse for not improvement. Why are we benchmarking with worser kinds? We should look at better systems and look at what we can do to get to that level instead of looking down at Somalia or some other 3rd world country in a worse state than us and console ourselves that we are better.

  7. Ram (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

    I remember the night patrolling done by the police with their brand new cars in Chennai!!
    somewhere around 3.00am the cars will move about sounding the siren (?) – what for – to alert any robbers that the police are coming and giving them enough time to hide run away! Where was the need for the siren anyway in that time when the roads were clear — Only one good thing it did, it woke me up regularly and I could never go back to sleep, and I would go on reading the rest of the night.

  8. Ravi (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 9:34 pm

    I don’t see what is there to ridicule about this? We are not talking about giving a hot chase in a cycle or for using cycles for highway patrolling. This is probably for the residential night patrols or small distance patrols and as quoted in the press release – for by-lanes and smaller streets. Cycles are definitely ideal here since cycles are pollution-free, noise-free, not fuel consuming and is a good way of keeping the policemen fit and also a better way of patrolling than by foot. I think cycles are still used for night patrolling in Tamilnadu. Maybe we should get over the attitude of considering anything hi-tech as good and anything retro as obselete and useless.

  9. Vivek (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 11:06 pm

    *** Our police in chennai are doing a far better job than anyone in our country ***
    … in collecting bribes???

    In US cops will turn on the lights and will NOT turn on the siren unless it is necessary. It is called as ‘Sound Pollution’. Man, I think India can never become a developed country. Humanity will be wiped out before even India compares itself with the western countries. I read Kalams interview yesterday and he mentioned that the Indian political system is worrysome. Why the FCUK did he not take any action against those. The problem with India is everybody know there is problem, but nobody (even the president) does anything to clean the system. India is doomed.

  10. Rajesh (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 12:38 am

    @Manoj: I agree with you except for this point “Our police in chennai are doing a far better job than anyone in our country”. How many of us would feel free to approach police with an issue. We would think a hundred times before approaching the police.
    @Ram: True. This is not a new idea. And it is really environment friendly. But when there is a hype with lot of reasoning…
    @ Ravi: Everybody know that there is a problem; No one is ready to raise the voice; If anyone raise the voice, the system makes sure that his life is doomed. We are shining.

  11. Govar (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 1:33 am

    ROFL! Maybe a smart police guy thought cycles are the only way to redeem so-called cops of their chicken-n-ghee infested tummies? And why BSA SLR, for heaven’s sake? I thought it’s mostly popular among ladies!

  12. Govar (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 1:34 am

    ROFL! Maybe a smart police guy thought cycles are the only way to redeem so-called cops of their chicken-n-ghee infested tummies? And why BSA SLR, for heaven’s sake? I thought it’s mostly popular among ladies!

  13. Govar (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 1:42 am

    COuld you pls. delete one of my previous comments – I accidentally submitted twice.

    Anyway, with regards to cycles being used in the west, the biggest difference (and this is big) is the weather. I can’t picture cops cycling around in Chennai doing patrol/duty. It might be optimal in the west, not in India, and certainly not in Chennai. Knowing the cops, I’m tetra sure they’d catch up 4 hrs of sleep for every KM they ride.

  14. Kokki_ Jacobus (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

    Well, looks like I’m not the only one with a cynical view. The fact is unlike the US or Europe where recreational biking/cycling is popular, in India it is limited largely to people who cannot afford motorized two wheelers/cars. Given the wonderful ‘shape’ the average Tamilnadu policeman is in, it will be a wonder if he actually manages to reach the crime spot. I doubt if the policemen can even chase a convict on foot.
    The possibility that the cycles will help them reach quicker is remote and the idea is itself ludicrous. About a year ago there were some suspicious people near my house; they had been there for a long time observing passersby and my house. I called the police station, and asked if they could come by and check on them. By the time the cops finally arrived more than 45 minutes had passed since my phone call. I understand that t was not something that required immediate attention but calling 911 in the US would ensure there’s a cop on the scene within 5-10 minutes. Providing cycles alone is not going to acheive anything if the policemen aren’t fit enough to ride them.

  15. neoflys (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

    why is that we keep comparing ourself with US. Don’t you think the cops in chennai now are far better than what they used to be few years ago.
    especially the traffic police do their work more efficiently these days. True that there are lot of problems in our system but we are improving and the system needs more encouragement and appreciation from itself to keep improving.
    btw i am a big fan of CSI series and always admired those cops and I wished to see similar cops in my neighborhood one day.

  16. udayms (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 6:50 pm

    @Neoflys: I agree they are working hard. But not smart. The solutions they are finding for traffic problems are best described as patches. They do it without any scientific reasoning or research. Their ideas have back fired more than often. The problem is not they getting innovative. There is a thin line between innovation and stupidity. And many a times, their ideas border around stupidity. I can quote many such instances here. And I probably am going to post more on that.

    It’s not that we are anti-chennai or anything like that. See, when the authorities are making mistakes that are obvious and we the citizens choose to ignore it and console ourselves saying there’s improvement theres going to be no end to India’s problems. We need ZERO tolerance. They don’t spare me from my taxes just because the street lights don’t work. The police officer who stops a government employee on the road with mundane excuses for bribe doesn’t realize that if this employee is late for office, its a Loss-of-Pay for him. But, at the end of the month. The employee still has to pay his/her tax. The same tax that this Police officer gets as his salary.

    We Indian’s have an attitude of taking it all as our FATE and dodge the problem because WE CANNOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. I also belong to this whole category. One difference. I complain. I whine.

  17. potpourri (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 4:03 am

    The post made me smile but the comments have set me ROTFL ..

  18. Ram (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

    I fail to understand the jest in this posting. Isn’t it logical that in Chennai’s clogged traffic conditions, the best way to get from point A to B is by two wheelers? Further, the smaller lanes that lines most suburbs in Chennai are much better accessed by a two wheeler. Witness the tragedy, for example, of a desperate ambulance trying unsuccessfully, to make its way through the traffic in Nungambakkam on any given evening. Just because it’s funny to see our cops riding bikes does not mean that it’s not a good idea. And the notion that people in police departments make plans without reason and research is quite naive.

  19. Senthil (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 5:23 am

    Hyundai Accent is a luxury class vehicle??? Hahaha!!! Thanks for the laugh man. Have you seen a Hyundai Accent or a luxury car before? By the way, bicycles make for efficient transportation for police. They need a bicycle mount on the back of their car, and can patrol short distances on their bicycles and long distances on the car. It is actually a very good concept for cityscapes, and is done all over the world.

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