In an attempt to check crimes occurring at night, the city police have decided to introduce ‘verified night auto service’ by issuing identity cards to auto-rickshaw drivers to ply their vehicles in the urban limits in the late hours.
In September, an auto-rickshaw driver was arrested on charge of robbing two women passengers under the Duvvada police station limits. In the same month, the police arrested another auto-rickshaw driver on charge of relieving a passengers of valuables under PM Palem police station limits.
In several incidents, passengers had left their valuables in the three-wheelers after which the police had to track down the vehicles.
Sources in the Police Department say that many crimes are occurring late in the night. “About 70% of auto-rickshaws operate in unorganised manner in the city while only 30% are affiliated to unions or associations. Night auto service is being run mostly by the drivers not affiliated to any association,” say a police official on the condition of anonymity.
According to Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Ch. Adinarayana, unique identification numbers have been issued to auto-rickshaw drivers. The police have also created an auto-rickshaw information portal where details of vehicles, names of driver and vehicle owners, along with their other particulars are being updated. After verification of all the records submitted by the auto-rickshaw drivers, the identification number will be issued.
“After the numbers are issued, we will collect applications from auto-rickshaw drivers who wish to operate their vehicles between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. We will scrutinise the applications and issue identity cards for the verified night auto service,” explains Adinarayana.
The staff on the night beat and night patrolling officers will also check the auto-rickshaws plying in the late night and initiate action against those who operate without such a pass.
As part of community policing, the traffic police have been conducting awareness meetings with the auto-rickshaw drivers, with the support of trade unions and auto-stand members. The police say that the auto-rickshaw drivers can also help the police prevent crime by providing information about any suspicious movement of people.