Bengaluru: traffic, vehicles, road accidents

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Mannequin traffic police

As in 2019

Rajiv Kalkod, Dec 23, 2019 Times of India

Pedestrians walk past a mannequin dressed up as traffic police at an intersection in Bangalore
From: Rajiv Kalkod, Dec 23, 2019 Times of India

Two-hundred and fifty new recruits to Bengaluru traffic police are giving jitters to motorists with a propensity to violate rules. That too without lifting a finger. Meanwhile, 4,500 other traffic cops are flailing their hands to flag down violators, even chasing them at times to ensure a semblance of order on chaotic roads.

The 250 mannequins dressed as traffic policemen are a huge success, admit Bengaluru’s senior traffic police officers. So much so that a team of officials from Paris police department met Bengaluru top cop Bhaskar Rao last week and inquired about the results of installing mannequins. “They’ve taken the details and may introduce the measure in Paris too,” he told TOI.

JCP (traffic) B R Ravikanthe Gowda said the mannequins are getting a positive response from the public.

Donning traffic police’s khaki and white uniforms, complete with reflector jackets, boots and sunglasses, the life-size mannequins are stationed at different intersections every day. They’ve been instrumental in ensuring motorists stick to the law, officers said.

The mannequins, incidentally, are Rao’s brainchild. A scarecrow he noticed in a paddy field on the outskirts of Bengaluru gave him the idea of getting dummies to stand in for traffic police in the city.

With the city’s vehicle population of 80 lakh slated to touch 1 crore by 2022, traffic police face the problem of manpower. “We need more personnel to handle the increasing traffic and we decided to place mannequins at busy junctions. Since they look like real traffic cops, motorists fall in line,” the commissioner said.

The city has nearly 600 traffic junctions. While nearly 380 have signals, the rest are manned by personnel. Bengaluru is home to 44 traffic police stations and around 4,500 traffic police personnel. Every day, around five mannequins are given to each station. Each mannequin costs between Rs 4,000 and Rs 6,000.

Officers are shrewdly alternating the deployment of mannequins and personnel at junctions. Rao said he has plans to implant the mannequins with cameras so that they can click violators and enable remote monitoring of the traffic situation by the control room.

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