To provide police pick-drop facility for women in distress, Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh has ordered all-women Police Control Room (PCR) vans to be mobilised in major five cities of Punjab to provide safe transport in response to such calls.

PCRs rushing to help stranded women seeking to be dropped safely to their home or workplace will be manned entirely by women cops in Mohali, Amritsar, Patiala, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, in line with the Chief Minister’s orders.

Disclosing this on Thursday, the Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta, who said that since the launch of the scheme to drop women safely home, a total of 40 calls had been received on helpline numbers 100, 112, 181 and 1091 between 3 December and 18 December.

Giving break-up, he said 26 calls were received at 112/100,  two calls were received at 181 and 12 calls were received on the districts 1091 helpline.

The CM had launched the scheme on December 3, amid growing concerns over safety of women, whereby free police help is provided to women stranded outside between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m..

Women callers are connected immediately to the police patrolling vehicles and concerned police stations as part of the pick-up and drop facility, available to women who do not have access to a safe vehicle, including taxi or three-wheeler.

Giving details of the distress calls received so far, the DGP said the minimum response time taken by Police Patrolling Parties to reach the caller was seven minutes and the maximum 30 minutes, averaging a total of 12 minutes.

In majority of the cases, a woman police officer was present in the PCR, said the DGP, adding that the scheme is still in the initial stage and having some teething problems, which were being streamlined. Once that is done, all PCR vans helping women in distress will have a lady cop, he added.

Though the scheme was officially announced for women stranded between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., the DGP said the CM had personally directed the police to ensure support to any woman who feels unsafe at any time of the day. Acting on this directive, the Pathankot Police had on 5 December, helped out a woman who had called at around 8.05 p.m by dropping her safely home.