“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything,” said Swati Lakra, quoting Albert Einstein, as she addressed a group of Hyderabadi youngsters. And that one line aptly sums up her approach to her work.
An IPS officer of the 1995 batch, Swati is Hyderabad’s Additional Commissioner of Police (SIT & Crime).
As the head of the city’s SHE teams (an initiative by Telangana government to tackle sexual harassment in all aspects, in all forms and at all places), the super cop has been working tirelessly to facilitate a safe, secure and healthy environment for the women of Hyderabad.
Under her aegis, the Hyderabad police launched ‘Bharosa’, a one-stop support centre for women and children victims of sexual violence, in 2016. Since inception, the centre (which provides financial, legal, medical, and counselling assistance) has received over 2,500 cases of various offences related to women and children.
In December 2017, a new child-friendly court was added to the centre for speedy disposal of cases registered under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses) Act.
Known for her people-centric initiatives and iron hand in dealing with offenders, Swati has also recently been selected for the distinguished Humphrey Leadership Award.
As a part of the award, she was invited for a three-week programme that included working on crucial issues with policy level professionals both in and out of the US government.
Talking to the Hindu, a delighted Swati said,
“The US consulate had nominated me and I didn’t know about it. It came as a jolt, Apparently, one individual is selected from 10 countries and two names were sent from India; Out of it, I was selected.”
After the initial orientation programme, Swati attended the leadership training programme at Harvard University — called “Leadership for the 21st Century – Chaos, Conflict and Courage” — followed by job shadowing. She was especially excited about this because it gave her an opportunity to see how the policing in the US works, particularly in dealing with cybercrime.
Back from the US, Swati looks forward to broadening the scale and coverage of the SHE teams in Hyderabad. Gender sensitization of the police force and tackling cyber-stalking of women are two crucial areas that she will be targeting.
Swati also wants more women to join the police. In her capacity as a member of Telangana’s Committee on Safety and Security of Women, she has been urging the government to implement 33.3 percent reservation for women across all ranks of the police force.
“Considering women comprise almost 50% of the population, if there are only 5% women police personnel, that’s a very skewed percentage. So, as part of the committee formed to discuss safety of women, we managed to push for 33% reservation for women personnel and Telangana government has initiated the process too.
In the coming recruitments, we’ll be getting more women on board at every level – right from a constable to the DSP level – is very much required,” Swati told Telangana Today.