Train bullies, beware! RPF to arm its men with spy cams
Will Produce Recording As Proof In Court
Mumbai: To bring train bullies and ‘stuntmen’ to book, RPF personnel on Western Railway are getting spy cameras so they can discreetly record the goings-on and produce it as evidence in court. The first batch of 14 spy cameras will soon arrive for the personnel of the RPF special wing. The force has been using body-worn cameras for some time, but being bigger and clearly visible to commuters, recording activities discreetly isn’t possible.
In February, TV news reporter Sudhir Shukla was assaulted by a group on a Churchgate-bound train. Shukla boarded the train from Mira Road station. He had an argument with a group of passengers inside the coach over seats and they rained punches on him. He lodged an FIR and a few days later, the GRP arrested five men. “The Virar-Andheri belt in the suburban section is where most cases of trainbullying are reported. Passenger groups block the doors and don’t let people enter at subsequent stations. And, inside coaches, the bullies reserve seats for friends,” said an officer.
RPF personnel in plainclothes will wear the spy cameras and mingle with commuters on trains. “Spy cameras come in many varieties. They could be connected to a shirt button or a pen in the pocket. The objective is to use the recordings as evidence in court. The culprits wouldn’t be able to deny their actions when faced with this evidence,” said a senior RPF officer.
WR currently has 387 body-worn cameras for its personnel in Maharashtra and Gujarat; 42 of them are used in the Mumbai division. These cameras are largely used while escorting long-distance trains and on station areas. Many premium trains, including Rajdhani, ply on WR and diamond traders are fre- quent travellers on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route. The RPF has been instructed to curb theft on trains. “Bodyworn cameras can be used for recording evidence if the loot is found on a co-passenger,” said an officer. Body cameras can also be used when commuters do not pay heed to instructions given by RPF personnel or level false complaints against them. They can also be used to check the presence of adequate personnel on long-distance trains, through an RFID-based attendance system.