Mumbai Police – overworked?

I was recently involved in my passport renewal process from Mumbai. After spending inordinate time and energy in assembling together a truck load of papers for verification, spending 3 hours at the passport office to get them verified (which was done systematically at the Regional Passport Office, Mumbai without any off-record payments whatsoever), I prayed for the next milestone – police verification.

The Hawaldar doing the beat in our area was to come home to verify my address personally.

This happened only after we (hubby & I) made a trip to the local police station. We were surprised to find an entire department building at the police station manned by policemen for passport verification. It resembled any paper-filled office replete with in and out trays, separate cabin for the Inspector etc.

Anyway the police verification finally happened.

After the police verification was a personal interview by the Inspector, accompanied with verification of proofs (that the passport office had already validated). And the inspector wanted some more proof because we were not owners but tenants (more on the step child treatment to tenants in Mumbai, later).

Finally that also got done (again without any off-record payments), and the papers, we were last told are at the CID’s office for further verification !!! The same set of documents are being checked at least 4 times by various  Government servants.

In the entire process, I discovered that the police actually do a mind-boggling amount of paper work.  Add to that the security they provide to heads of states, politicians, foreign delegations etc (this also I witnessed at another time recently – when civilians were cordoned off from the main road to let a huge security-filled foreign delegation pass).

Probably the police really have lesser bandwidth for civilian protection?

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2 Comments

  1. February 15, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    But isn’t verification of passport a very critical part in ensuring civilian protection? especially in the times we live..

    Of course the police are overstretched. And we seldom recognize that. I would like to see more policemen recruited, trained and compensated well. And yes we definitely need to have critical relook at the special security given to ‘VIP’S!! Reminds me of the film actor seeking security in the movie Wednesday/UPO.

    By the way, really glad to know there were no off-record payments 🙂

  2. lazeyblogger said,

    February 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    1) Passport verification is indeed for civilian protection. Police can verify the correctness of address, check reputation of resident in the locality etc. But I am not able to agree that the accompanying paper work is also the role of police.

    Govt can easily hire outsourced parties/ forensic experts on sample basis to check if documents are fraudulent. Existence of papers is already checked by passport office, police only seem to be doing the same thing again. There is no additional checking for authenticity of document as such.

    2) Yes, I am also VERY GLAD that I did not pay a single rupee so far for getting any work done. More so, the police officer was helpful and advanced my interview timing since I had to leave town at the scheduled date ! (a totally gracious act without expecting favours).

    Have formed an overall positive image about the Mumbai Passport Office and Police Department from my experiences thus far.


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