The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) DN Hari Kiran Prasad, T Nagar has been making news for his remarkable work during the Covid-19 lockdown. He has been on the headlines several times for performing his duty diligently in a proactive way. DCP Hari also handled many sensitive cases like bank fraud, chain snatching, cybercrime, burglary, and woman abuse cases in a humanitarian and responsible manner. DCP Hari has been working closely with the public to resolve the cases and changed the outlook on policing. We find out more from the man in uniform himself…

During the Covid19 lockdown, you have worked closely with the public. How challenging was your work pressure?
During the Covid-19 lockdown, we were given additional duties to ensure the safety of the public as well as containing the spread of Covid, as T Nagar is the shopping hub of Chennai. Initially, we had a difficult time communicating to the public and also exposing ourselves to the virus. We have a standard operating procedure to deal with everything and all the police have been given clear instructions and guidelines to follow all the protocols to fight Covid. We came back stronger in phase one. The current Covid phase two, the virus itself is slightly virulent and we are also prepared for it and taking extra care.

We are using the video calling concept so that people don’t have to come physically to file a complaint and which was started by our commissioner and which is helping a lot of people. We have solved more than 1000 cases through the video call facility during the lockdown. Yes, our job is tough, but we take this as an opportunity to improve police-public relations and trust. It’s our earnest duty to assure that we come out of this situation at the earliest.

After receiving complaints from 30 residents, you would have been at a pressure point in that crucial time. How did you decide to take them to the hospital instead of the police station?
In policing we ensure that both emotional and social aspects are taken care of. Recently, we handled a case at KK Nagar – a family of three, mother, son and daughter addicted to some kind of drug abuse and was creating social inconvenience to the residents at the apartments for a long period of time. The apartment residents have approached local police several times but since the trio was socially not curable, the issue was not resolved and nearly 30 families used to suffer on daily basis. When the same issue came to us, I immediately went to the spot, inquired and personally noticed their aggressive behaviour against the people around.

The complaint initially came to me in the form of a requisition letter and most of them were housewives. The trios were creating all sorts of problems for the neighbours like knocking on the door at late hours, passing comments and physical obstruction. We decided that there should be a long-term resolution that should be in the manner of behavioural changes. Hence, instead of putting them behind bars, I felt that it’s better to give them the care they needed. I listened to the resident’s views and discussed the same with the authorities at Government Kilpauk Medical College and also we got help from NGO for the rescue process and solved the perennial problem. We would like to tell the public that whenever the issue is big and police is involved, we will always be one step ready to bring it to closure and serve the community at large. This has been our agenda for many years and presently with our commissioner, this proactive step has been taken at all levels.

This is not the first time you’re being noticed by your work; even during lockdown you have helped Radha amma to get her job back. Where did the thought come from?
During the initial days of coronavirus infection, there was not enough knowledge about Covid. Radha ma was working in a complex as a domestic helper for many years and that job is her source of livelihood. When she was asked to quarantine after the suspicion, the families didn’t allow her to continue the job so we went and counselled them about the technical details and science behind it. We asked them to follow all the safety precautions and they were convinced by our proactive steps and what happened you all know. In the midst of covid phase, there was heavy rainfall and almost all of the areas in Chennai were affected and we took extra steps to be active throughout the day to attend to the rescue calls round the clock. During such a helpless situation we took responsibility with pride and did everything we could do.

You have changed the perception of policeman; the outlook of public has also changed when they see you. How did this happen?
Normally in any department, the perception or the outlook depends upon the leadership. Our Greater Chennai Police totally derives its activity from the commissioner of police. We have one of the finest officer’s Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal and under his leadership we continuously get guidance. One of the biggest freedoms our commissioner has given us, I would say, is with respect to the delegation of powers. Earlier, if someone wanted to file a cybercrime complaint one had to go to all the way to the commissioner’s office, but with an initiative every DC has a dedicated cyber cell team to cater to the cyber complaints. We are able to serve the public on being cautious about OTP frauds and bank thefts within 24 hours of the complaint. If you write to the bank about the fraudulent transaction immediately the bank will revert the transaction. So there are high chances that within 24 hours if you come to the police the money will be reverted back to the account and people are extremely happy. To date, we have received 500 cases and around 24lakhs we have recovered only in T Nagar. We have also given power at various levels to take decisions and it’s actually helping for better service delivery.

Who do you look up to as inspiration from your field?
Whatever I am today is just because of my parents. After completing the training session I came across many people who have done tremendous work in the police service which is inspiring. Few people who shaped my thought process are retired IPS Vijay Kumar sir, I used to listen to his various successful initiatives. I’m also a keen follower of National Security Advisor Sh. Ajit Doval KC, my initial trainer IPS Arun Shakthi Kumar sir, AG Babu sir, and the present commissioner.