Kozhikode: Police stations in the state are set for a makeover. The authorities envisage converting more existing police stations into child-friendly centres and new ones will be designed keeping this objective in mind.
Though the state government has already started converting some of the existing police stations into child-friendly ones, the new stations coming up in every district would offer a totally different experience, says IG P Vijayan, who is in charge of the Children and Police Project.
Srijit Srinivas, an architect based in Thiruvananthapuram, has designed the new police building. The new police stations will feature ramps for the elderly, rest area and day-care facility in a standard 924 sq ft property, he said.
Including the interior works, each such facility would cost Rs 26 lakh, Srijit said.
At the child-friendly zone attached to the police station, children, women and elderly can come and relax, consult the cops and leave in peace. The idea is to remove the taboo attached to the police station and make it a place approachable for not only children but also women and elderly.
“From outside, its an exposed brick building which meet global standards. There is a counselling room inside, a small kitchen with water connection. A wall on which children can paint. has been provided. Two toilets, including one for the disabled, also have been provided. The women's room with a cot and sofa has an annex for feeding infants." the architect explained.
IG Vijayan said the design changes will help to overcome legal difficulties in taking children to police station and talking to them. The Bureau of Police Research and Development Programme of the Central government has taken up the Kerala project. It has directed the implementation of this project in all the other states, he said.
The remodelled police stations are coming up with funds from the the local legislators. The Local Areas Development Fund of the MLAs would be utilised for construction. Police Housing and Construction Corporation will carry out the construction.
“Already we have six child-friendly police stations in the state. Another 56 police stations will be converted in the same manner by the end of this financial year. For the first time in India, UNICEF will be training 5,000 police officers, along with the other support staff, in these stations. The new type of stations are being constructed with the support of the MLAs from the respective areas since the setting up of all the facilities in a new centre require around Rs 30 lakh,” the IG said.
One psychologist-cum-social worker is already working on contract basis at the six child-friendly police stations. The aim is to post one full-time staff as the ministry of Women and Child Development, Vijayan added. Children in distress, for example, those who got separated from family or need medical help or protection, can report here and stay at these new-look stations.
At the child-friendly police station in Kannur experts provided by the paediatric association are available weekly once for consultation.