A special women’s patrol unit with Delhi police has been given pink scooters and crash helmets to identify them, leading to accusations commanders are enforcing “girly” stereotypes.
The 16-strong unit was formed to make the police more "approachable" to women and the distinctive pink-check livery was adopted to make the patrol members easy to spot.
But the colour scheme has also led to accusations that the female officers are being discriminated against.
Vikram Singh, a former director-general of the Uttar Pradesh police between 2007 and 2009 told the Hindustan Times: “There should be no discrimination when an officer wears a uniform. This is the reason why it is called a uniform. Just because they are women officers, one should not give them vehicles that are girly in colour. This is contrary to the spirit of the uniform.”
The all-female team began duty in September, working two shifts a day, with patrols around lunchtime and late afternoon.
Female officers are armed with handguns, batons, and pepper spray. Police chiefs said they wanted the patrol unit to be both approachable and effective.
“Since the uniform worn by both the genders is similar, the women teams wouldn’t look different from a distance. We wanted a women’s team that had a marked presence on the roads, and yet was approachable,” Ved Prakash Surya, deputy commissioner of police (north-east), told the paper.
A police constable told ANI that the “aim behind choosing pink colour is to build confidence in women so that they can approach us without hesitation.Women feel happy seeing us. Police-public interaction has increased after this”.
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SukhDarshan, 30, another member of the team said: “When we move, the public must know of our presence.”