Hyderabad: The way Cyberabad police commissioner V.C. Sajjanar sees it, Covid-19 has changed policing in some ways. In an exclusive interview, Sajjanar explains how the focus in the near-term has turned to health. The most visible government apparatus for more than a year now, police has evolved into something much more than an agency that chases criminals and maintains law and order.
Did you, during your training as a young IPS officer, ever imagine that you would be spearheading any battle with a virus?
Never. We are prepared for dealing with crime and other regular cases but never a pandemic. However, we rose to the occasion and are ighting the battle in the best possible way.
How is policing different now compared to the pre-pandemic days?
There have been drastic changes in policing. In a way, the pandemic has changed policing totally. Earlier we were busy with crime and general duties like arranging bandobast and traffic management. Now our priority has become health-related issues and we are ensuring public safety by strictly enforcing lockdown regulations as directed by the Union and state governments.
What are the challenges you are facing during the second wave compared to the first?
During the first wave, there are more apprehensions. Further, when one person contracted the virus, the individual would immediately be isolated and taken care of. In the second wave more and more people are getting infected. It has become a family phenomenon. If one person tests positive, in no time, all others in the family are getting affected.
This is the era of social media. Are you under increasing pressure from what people have to say on social media, including those pointing out mistakes? How has social media changed policing?
Social media has helped us reach out to people and spread our message. We helped a lot of people in dire need of medicines, plasma and blood. In addition to criticism and advice, we also get accolades. We are taking everything in a constructive way and moving forward.
Have the acceptance levels of police been less or more among people?
Earlier meeting police was considered taboo. If any person met the police he/she would have been either a complainant or a criminal. Now the scenario has changed. More and more people are approaching us for help and the relationship between police and the public has grown better.
How do you keep yourself safe being at the frontline day after day? Also, there is the pressure of keeping your families safe. How are you managing this?
First and foremost, I got vaccinated to be safe. With a good healthy lifestyle we could avoid getting Covid-19. Early morning after a good bath I do breathing exercises and yoga. Secondly, I wear a mask when I am outside. Despite best efforts to maintain physical distance, sometimes it becomes difficult when people approach me. However, I take all precautions to avoid getting infected....