With the two brutal murders committed by domestic help in Juhu and Bandra, the whole issue of negligible numbers of police registration for domestic help across India has been unveiled. As per a Mumbai police official, prior police registration of domestic help with local police can act as a deterrent for any crime. Even though residents of that area claimed that registration of data with police does not ensure safety, police officials very clearly mentioned that the if the domestic help is aware that his/her information is available with police, a fear factor to get caught after committing any crime will always prevail in their mind.
Reluctance to register domestic help from employer/resident’s side
A very basic question that arises in one’s mind is why only a negligible number of about 9-10% of domestic help is registered with police. Why don’t all employers/residents register their domestic help with police? The main reason behind the employers not registering the domestic help are:
a) Employers not willing to take the pain of registering the domestic help with police
b) Employers fearful of losing their domestic help as they may leave the moment an employer asks them to submit their details before local police
c) Domestic help unwilling to share their details due to the fear of being unnecessarily harassed by police
The only people who ensure that they register their domestic help with police are those who keep things of high value at their homes, have full time maids for their children or senior citizens who keep domestic help to take care of them.
How do residents conduct the “unofficial” verification process and why police verification takes a back seat?
Most of the residents hire help through trusted references like friends etc. or if a particular person is working in several households in the neighbourhood, people just assume that it’s more than enough to hire someone. After a point of time, when a person becomes familiar to his/her new employer, the complete need of registering the domestic help with local police takes a back seat. With increased comfort level between the employer and the domestic help, police verification is never a priority. But honestly, is familiarity or comfort level enough to judge one’s criminal bent of mind?
Only when a domestic help leaves on bad terms or a resident feels threatened with a particular individual’s action, he/she tends to register that person with police.
Is simplification of the registration process a solution?
As per the current process, the employer takes down the details of temporary and permanent address of the domestic help and submits it to the local police with a photograph and ID proof. A lot of residents’ complaint that this process is time consuming. Quite a few residents claimed that if the police commences an online registration system, wherein one does not have to go to the police station personally, the number of registrations will increase. As per certain residents, one needs more facilitation centres who can help residents in employing bonafide domestic workers.
However, as per some of the police officials the entire system can be quickly simplified if the housing societies or resident welfare associations can collect the data from residents/ domestic help and submit the entire data set as a whole with police. The police department in Mumbai has been holding regular meetings with the housing societies to make verification mandatory in the apartments. The data with police deters planning of any criminal activities and enables police to detect crime faster. This process needs to be followed by all residential areas/apartments across India to keep their residents safe.
So, if you have still not registered the domestic help in your apartment, please prioritize this over all other activities for the safety of the residents of your apartment.
Better safe than sorry!