Hyderabad: Transformation, especially of a hardcore criminal, is not easy. But the Hyderabad City Police have pulled off what could be a major achievement, convincing 25 notorious offenders, together involved in about 400 cases to surrender, that too within a few months of launching its unique ‘Transforming Personalities’ programme.
The offenders who were targeted as part of the programme were made to attend counseling sessions along with their families, and with offers of rehabilitation and jobs.
The process took a few months, but paid off last week, when in the first move of its kind in the city, 25 notorious criminals surrendered before West Zone DCP A Venkateshwar Rao at the Habeeb Nagar police station.
All those who surrendered were involved in about 400 theft and house burglary cases in Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda Police Commissionerates. About 200 non-bailable warrants were pending against them with some of them being involved in more than 40 cases. Most of them were detained under the Preventive Detention Act as well.
“We counseled them along with their wives and other family members. We made them understand the result of their criminal activities and the suffering they and their families have to undergo. We told them this could be avoided. We gave them time to introspect and thus the transformation happened,” P Madhukar Swamy, Inspector, Habeeb Nagar, said.
Earlier, no police official would dare to enter into their area, Mangar Basthi, or arrest them. They would evade arrest either by self-inflicting injuries using knives or by damaging police vehicles. They also used their children as human shields to evade police, he said.
It was this that prompted the police to take its community-friendly policing initiative into the area.
“For over six months, we have been actively in contact with them. Our first aim was to gain their confidence and assure them that the police are there to support them in better living. We organised community lunches, health camps and distributed notebooks for their children,” Swamy said, adding that the local MLA and Corporators too were part of the efforts.
“I committed many thefts and was involved in more than 50 cases till now. I lived a life without peace. I could not stay at home or go out with my family. The officials made me understand the importance of life and assured me all support for better living. So, I decided to quit crime,” said H Narasimha (25), one of those who surrendered.
The police said as part of rehabilitation, the persons who surrendered will be either sent to prison to serve pending sentences while jobs would be provided to others with the help of government and corporate houses.