Last week, the police in Delhi, India, announced that they were preparing to mount a new campaign tackling violence against women on the city's streets: a new motorcycle-based police unit that's predominantly women. The squad, called the Raftaar or "Speed" unit, will comprise 600 trained police officers, over 60 percent of whom are female, armed with guns, pepper spray, tasers and body cameras, according to the Hindustan Times, and is designed specifically to target the problem of harassment and violence against women in Delhi's public spaces. But will female police be a lasting solution to gender-based violence?
Delhi spokesperson Dependra Pathak told the Hindustan Times that having the motorcycle-mounted squad will serve as "first responder[s] in emergencies" in areas frequented by women. (It was initially reported that the Raftaar squad would be all-female, but the Delhi Police said that not enough female police officers have motorbike driving licenses for the 600-strong squad to be all women.) The idea of training female police officers to be on the front lines against street harassment and assault is an appealing one, but understanding whether it will work involves looking at the problem a bit deeper.