‘He Came, He Saw, He Conquered the Hearts of the Citizens’-An Exclusive Interview with Top Cop
Mangaluru: He Came, He Saw, He Conquered the Hearts of the Citizens of Mangaluru. And He is none other than our Dynamic, Young and Energetic Police Commissioner of Mangaluru. This Police Commissioner is quite different from all the Police Commissioners the City of Mangaluru had so far. Apart from doing his Commissioner’s job with great Responsibility, Dedication, and Commitment, Mangaluru Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar during his leisure time loves to Sing, Play, Swim, and participate in many other co-curricular activities.
He is a fun-loving, jolly, and easy-going guy, and mixes with all types of people, including the police personnel. He is Friendly, Approachable, Courteous, and an Easy-Going Person. It should be noted that ever since N Shashi Kumar took over the charge as Police Commissioner he has come up with quite a few initiatives starting with a month-long fitness workshop for the police personnel to keep them trim, fit and healthy, both men and women, then he had organized a cricket match to keep the police involved in sporting activities.
N Shashi Kumar took charge as the new police commissioner of Mangaluru from Vikash Kumar on 1 January 2021
And later, alarmed over a number of people and also police personnel getting infected by coronavirus on duty, Police Commissioner Shashi Kumar has directed that kiosks be set up outside all police stations for people who come there to file complaints, passport ID verification, etc. Followed by that he took the initiative in providing free lunch and dinner to the frontline workers aka police who toiled hard combating the Covid-19 pandemic. N Shashi Kumar who loves to sing, a few months ago had initiated a programme, encouraging a bunch of police personnel to come forward and unleash their hidden singing talents in a singing online show/live performance named “Gana Sudhe”, which was promoted live on Arvind Vivek’s Facebook page, and the performance was held in the studio of St Aloysius College Sarang 108.7 FM.
And among the bevvy of singers on this Show, was police commissioner Shashi Kumar who had beautifully rendered the Kannada song “Geethanjali” by C B Shankar, and also a Hindi song from the 1971 movie ‘Anand’- this showed that apart from being the Top Cop, Shashi Kumar is also a Great athlete, Cricketer, Swimmer, and also a great SINGER. It should be also noted that for the first time, the police commissioner made his stage appearance, when he sang a devotional song and entertained the crowd during the Brahmakalashotsava celebration of the Mahalingeshwara temple at Pandeshwar on 9 January 2021. And apart from all the fun things he loves to do, under his able leadership and guidance the Law and Order in Mangaluru City was effectively handled during the difficult time of the COVID-19 crisis.
His social concern can be seen in the different activities like creating awareness for crime prevention, road safety, and prevention of sexual harassment of children are noteworthy. He is a truly inspirational figure to the youth of the city through his various social awareness initiatives. Shashi Kumar was born on 5th October 1983 in Chitradurga District of Karnataka. He completed his studies in B.Sc (Agricultural Sciences). He completed the UPSC exam and became an IPS officer in 2007. He completed his probationary period of service at Bellary District. After that, he was posted as the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Kunigal Sub-Division, Tumkur District. From there he was promoted to the position of Superintendent of Police, Raichur District. He then worked as the Superintendent of Police, Chikkamagaluru District, Haveri District and Kalaburgi District. Prior to becoming the Mangaluru Police commissioner, he served as the DCP North Division, Bengaluru and SP Wireless, Bengaluru.
And Top Cop N Shashi Kumar was ‘TOP’ in cracking numerous cases during his ONE Year tenure, after taking charge as Mangaluru Police Commissioner on 1 January 2021. Under his dedicated and committed leadership and guidance quite a number of cases, including theft, crime, murder, assault, moral policing, etc have been solved. From the day he took charge on 1 January 2021 until 1 January 2022, thirteen crucial and important cases were sleuthed into and most of them were solved. Two cases in Konaje and Ullal and police stations pertaining to the desecration of temples where a person who had dropped objectionable items in the offertory box were found in January 2021 were solved, by arresting the accused on 28 December 2021, and found out that he was involved in 18 such cases.
Under his tenure there were cases- where 38 Sri Lankan nationals were caught in the City, Fire set to a beef stall in Thokkottu; arrested a person in Ullal for having a link with ISIS; the murder of a minor due to PUBG game, among others. In Surathkal police station limits, a honey trap case was cracked and four persons were arrested. Gang members of “Maya ” and “Karkana” were arrested for assaulting a police constable at New Chitra junction in City; arrested the fake RTPCR certificate holders at Talapady, theft and murder of Ravi Poojary aides, under Moodbidri police station limits series of thefts and arrest of accused involved. Also Sexual harassment of a law student and an intern, murder and rape of an 8-year-old girl at tiles factory, among others.
Also in 2021, 328 NDPS cases were filed and 492 were arrested. Six Nigerian nationals and a person of Oman nationality were arrested for possessing Rs 85,00,000 worth of drugs including ganja, MDMA, cocaine and LSD, and the drugs were seized. A medical student was arrested for possessing hydro weed. Six cases of ragging were filed, and the Police organized awareness programmes urging for zero tolerance towards ragging. In 2021, five moral policing cases were registered.
Top Cop paying last respect to Sniffer Dog 10-year-old Doberman Pinscher- Sudha
Apart from cracking numerous cases, Police Commissioner was instrumental in organizing many public outreach programmes such as Health Exercise and Yoga classes; Covid management programme, property parade where stolen items were returned back to the owners; For four months a free police canteen serving lunch and dinner for police personnel on duty during the pandemic, police enrolment programme for youths, both boys and girls, physical fitness. He also took the initiative in conducting workshops of police staff and work from home and grievance programme, and Tulu Beary language training classes.
Showing his kind gesture, N Shashi Kumar gave a new life to 1,256 rowdy sheeters whose names were deleted from the rowdy sheet files. 140 new civil police constables and 21 sub-inspectors were appointed, while nineteen constables were promoted to a higher level as Head Constables; two Assistant Sub Inspectors to Sub Inspectors. 135 cops were promoted in 2021 in the CAR department during his one year tenure. A friendly, very approachable and a go-getter, Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar is truly a people’s commissioner, and for the last one year, Mangaluru was at its peaceful best under his guidance. Hat’s off to you Sir.
And as I was ready to get an exclusive interview, he gave his signature, adjusted his black shirt and joked as he took a swig from a water bottle before rapid-fire questioning began.
Following are the excerpts from the exclusive interview with Mangaluru Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar:
Q: After you took charge as Police Commissioner what was your First priority in Mangaluru?
My first priority was to win the confidence of our force of Mangalore city police and make them trust their leadership. Secondly, in the backdrop of some major law and order incidents and criminal cases, winning the trust and confidence of the general public about the performance of the police department was also a priority area. Then again as usual keeping the Commissionerate limits plentiful with good public order, prevention and detection of cases; traffic management; looking after the welfare of the officers and staff and efforts made for improving the public perception of police was yet another priority. Covid-19 first wave had taken the toll of a lot of police force in different parts of the state and country and so far in Mangaluru, more than 300 positive cases were reported. Covid enforcement as per the guidelines are given by the government without creating any disturbance to the routine life of the general public was also a priority.
Q; What plan of action have you in mind to tackle the rise in Moral Policing in the City?
All officers and staff have been sensitized to be watchful about possible incidents of moral policing. Surveillance is kept on individuals who have a tendency to commit such offences, and periodic preventive cases have been booked against the accused of such cases. Whenever we get any information regarding moral policing, it is taken into reality and quickly attended to. Besides whenever there has been any incident of moral policing, legal action has been taken in the past one year. There have been six incidents of moral policing in Mangaluru city police Commissionerate, around 20 people have been arrested and cases have been taken up under appropriate sections of law.
Q: Nowadays there is an increase in complaints from the people in residential areas about loud music and parking issues- what action have you planned?
Mangaluru is an educational hub, medical hub, industrial hub and a lot of people, particularly senior citizens, have been staying in the City in residential areas and also apartments. Whenever any report about loudspeakers playing at high decibels, or any parking issues, local police have been instructed to quickly intervene and sort out the issue. The facility of 112 has been popularized and thoroughly used, and 112 has the reaction time of about 15 minutes in Mangaluru city police Commissionerate wherein every call made to 112 is going to be locked documented and follow up is done centrally from Bangalore and 112 vehicles with police personnel will be reaching to each of the calls made and necessary legal action will be taken through the local police station.
Q: There have been quite a few suicides by youth-What would be a good solution to prevent such suicides?
No definite pattern has been made out about suicides. Post-Covid possibility of financial distress, lack of employment opportunities, and other personal issues have been the main reason for youth committing suicide, besides family and matrimonial issues. I appeal to the youth and the general public of Mangaluru city police Commissionerate not to resort to this extreme step of committing suicide but to share your problems with your family members, friends, councillors and others. If there is any financial stress because of loan recovery, non-payment of loans or threat made on your life by any person or individuals please approach for necessary legal intervention, or police if needed.
Q: How will you address the cyber-crime incidents which are on the rise? Are your people trained well in handling crimes involving technology?
Digital banking and digital platforms have grown beyond everybody’s expectation in the short span of 6 to 8 years but there is a lack of precautionary methods and knowledge followed by the people about cybercrimes. For financial frauds and other women and children related criminal acts which are possible through cyberspace, we have a separate police station called CEN police station, which looks after cyber offences. The general public should be careful by not sharing their personal details, not allowing access to their personal status like contact numbers, WhatsApp chats and also be thoroughly careful not to share any information to any financial institution or individual seeking information on behalf of some financial institution.
Q: What is your take on handling crime-related issues involving locals, and also foreign nationals?
Regarding dealing with local individuals, as usual, we take necessary action in the form of creating awareness efforts to prevent offences from getting committed and also the same thing applies to foreign nationals. Mangaluru being an education hub, people from abroad visit Mangaluru for education, and for various other reasons. Due to sudden political development in Afghanistan, students of Afghanistan were disappointed and felt insecure about a lot of things. Therefore we arranged a separate meeting and necessary intervention was assured which made them feel comfortable and even today all of them are pursuing their studies. Many foreign nationals have been involved in cases like drug dealing, which due to the financial burden of being out of their country for a long time had made them get into such illegal trade. Necessary legal action has been taken against such drug-related cases.
Q: What action will be taken against the black sheep in the department? How do you deal with corruption in the force?
The police department has been known for taking strict action on individuals who are corrupt or where misconduct or misdemeanour was noticed by some of the officials in the form of negligence, necessary action has been taken all the time in the form of transfers, suspensions, departmental enquiry and many other legal provisions which are possible. If needed, necessary legal action will also be taken in cases that demand it. Those who are good are being rewarded and given promotions, but those with misconduct and negligence will be seriously dealt with. Recently departmental action was taken by removing all the 30 staff working in a women police station, along with the suspension of six persons at once.
Whenever any reports of connivance with the accused individuals associated with illegal activities or anti-social, illegal activities are noticed, necessary disciplinary and legal action has been taken. If any corruption or dealing with money transactions with the accused or involvement in illegal activities is noticed, severe legal action will be taken against our staff, with no partiality, whatsoever.
Q: How will you address the cases of murders, robbery and chain snatching which send shivers down the spine of Mangaloreans?
Mangaluru being an international city having borders with Kerala and education and also the hub of a lot of economic activities and financial transactions there has been some incidents of murder, chain snatching, robbery and other offences which creates a sense of insecurity and fear among the general public. A lot of cases have been booked in the form of preventive action and many individuals who were eventually associated with committing murder, robbery, chain snatching, Dacoity, we have done the highest recovery and detection. Last year strict action was taken on drug dealing, ragging, etc. Rowdy parades and mob parades have been conducted, and the history of rowdy sheeters has been constantly updated. Based on their good conduct and behaviour recently we gave a new life to 1256 rowdy sheeters by closing their files. Through dedicated work and sincere efforts of our officers in detecting crimes, many gang-related crimes have been sleuthed into and stopped.
Q: Talking about the Covid-19 pandemic, did the two lockdowns change the role of the police?
Lockdown pandemic and Covid-19 enforcement have made the police a more acceptable and appreciable force because they performed their duties very systematically. All our police forces were given the Covid-19 protective gear, and they all adhered to the Covid rules. The public has appreciated the good work done by the police whenever there has been a sensitive situation by following all the protocols. Although there were nearly 300 positive cases in our force, and one death in the first wave, and in the second wave about 80 people became infected, with one person dead in the third wave. 13 police officers and staff have been tested positive. We have also taken measures in the form of vaccination to more than 95% of the 1st and 2nd dose, and booster doses also have been given for about 750 of the total 2000 police force and the remaining will be done as and when they become eligible. Rs 30 lakh compensation was sanctioned, and routine compensations were given by identifying police as frontline workers.
Q: Has the pandemic and lockdowns changed the traffic on the roads and are we seeing any different traffic patterns compared to earlier years?
Probably post Covid-19, the tourist population has been reduced, and also not many people are coming out unnecessarily due to the fear of the virus. We have very well monitored the night curfew by preventing people from roaming around for no reason and booked cases for violations. There have been no incidences of friction between the public and police because of proper compliance with instructions given by the government and district administration. We have opened about 36 check posts in and around the Commissionerate to facilitate the traffic movement and also to prevent unwanted movement of people in and around.
Q: How do you intend to strike a balance between tough policing and friendliness?
The tough word doesn’t suit here, since we have been people-friendly and always ready to help them when they need us. But those who are violating the rules and creating offences, we were tough. We have tried to act on occasions where there have been offences/violations. Because of the revolution in sharing of information through print, electronic, and social media, the public expects us to be updating the action taken on important cases and we have taken utmost care and precaution and strict action in cases that are affecting the logistics of the society like youth, students, women, children, senior citizens. We have tried to make the best efforts to communicate the action taken and also reach out to the public to know what is expected of the police department in the delivery of their duty.
Q: What do you think are the high points of your career?
There is nothing like high points in my career because for any police officer challenges come through the career and if you can live up to the expectations of the situation the expectations of the public and to the expectations of the victims would be a high point. Completing one year in Mangalore city, and all the applause received, along with questions raised about the performance of the department itself can decide the high point in my career.
Q: What is your message to the Citizens of Mangaluru?
Mangaluru is considered a very educated, sophisticated and civilized society and people have good knowledge about enforcement organizations like police departments. I am happy that the people of Mangalore are very cooperative and that our department is there for their service 24 X 7 and want to do our best to ensure that expectations of the public from the police department are appreciated. I also ask the people of Mangaluru to encourage the good work done by the police department and to constructively criticize when resources and staff are found showing some negligence. Let’s work together for a harmonious City to live in with no communal hatred and disharmony.