Bengaluru police rethink on use of mannequins as cops

Until recently, two mannequins dressed up like police constables stood guard at the entrance of the main building of the police commissionerate in Bengaluru. But over the past few days, real policemen have started manning the entrance.

After nearly a year-long experiment with substituting real policemen with mannequins, especially in the traffic department, Bengaluru police are gradually easing out mannequins from policing duties on account of various problems, including the general opinion that they serve no real purpose and weather-related problems in the monsoon season. “We are having a rethink on the use of mannequins,” said Additional Commissioner of Police for Traffic in Bengaluru city, B R Ravikanthe Gowda.

The rethink also appears to be linked to a change of guard in the police commissionerate, with former commissioner Bhaskar Rao, who brought in the mannequins, being transferred on July 31 and being replaced by Kamal Pant. The mannequins “are just dummies and in the end, a policeman still needs to control the traffic”, a traffic constable said.

“After the Covid-19 outbreak and the onset of the monsoon, the mannequins were taken off… In this weather, the clothes on the mannequins tend to get soiled on the streets. We may use them again,” said a senior traffic officer. Meanwhile, in view of the pandemic, Bengaluru traffic police have adopted a strategy of contactless policing, involving policemen using mobile phone cameras and traffic cameras to pick up violations and sending challans through an automated system, instead of stopping people on the roads. “An amount of Rs 82 lakh has been collected in fines,” Gowda said.