Facing brickbats over the soaring crime graph, the Uttar Pradesh Police is all set for an image makeover.
Police recently got a reprimand for poor response time even on heinous crimes from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who asked them to improve their image, a senior official said.
Following the missive, a meeting of senior officials was held and inputs were sought from the information and public relations department on ways to improve the image of the force.
According to officials, it has been decided to appoint a public relations official to train police personnel on ways to handle the public and the media.
An official told IANS that the name of the official had been finalised and within days he would be on the new assignment.
Director General of Police A.C. Sharma and Additional Director General Arun Kumar have also been roped in for the ambitious move.
"It has been found that due to lack of communication between officials and the media and absence of authentic information, cases are misreported by the press," an official pointed out.
The public relations officers would be trained on how to write press releases, media communique, face television cameras, give sound bytes, and monitor television and press reports on crime.
PROs in districts would be trained by the end of April.
The chief minister, official sources said, was likely to begin review meetings in May.
He will visit various commissionaries to take stock of developmental schemes, infrastructure projects and the law and order situation.
The training of police officials is likely to be completed by then.
UP Police has been asked by the chief minister to fit their jeeps, bikes and other vehicles with GPS devices so as to locate their positions at the time of a crime and to monitor their response time.
"The image of the police has to come across as alert, people-friendly, prompt and that of a honest, well-wishing force, the image certainly needs to change," the chief minister said in a statement.
This week, all special operations group (SOG) units were dissolved and the number of crime units increased in all 75 districts of the state.
A plan to connect all police stations to a dedicated close-circuit television camera (CCTV) network with its control rooms set up in zonal headquarters is also underway.
A Government Railway Police (GRP) station in Moradabad has been linked to the CCTV network under the scheme. A dedicated short messaging service (SMS) has also been started by the state home department.