India police fight public peeing with 'garlands of shame'

A police officer giving a man a flower garland to wear Image copyright Hyderabad Traffic Police
Image caption Police say they don't want to be high-handed with people, and describe the initiative as "citizen friendly"

Police in India have come up with an eye-catching way to shame people who urinate in public - by hanging flower garlands around their necks.

A new campaign in the city of Hyderabad sees traffic officers swoop on people spotted relieving themselves on the street, before handing them the colourful neckwear, the Deccan Chronicle reports. Insp Rama Swamy says he got the idea after seeing social workers doing something similar in Delhi several years ago. "After garlanding them, we request them not to create filth and use the public toilets instead," he says. The force has also been handing out chocolates to scooter riders who wear helmets, in an attempt to persuade others to follow suit.

Many people commenting on the force's Facebook page applaud the initiative, although plenty think the problem could be solved with greater access to public facilities. "Construct public toilets first... Don't waste on flowers," one person writes. But others think it's more of an attitude problem. "Has anyone seen a woman doing this nonsense in public? Isn't she human too? And, if a woman can control, why cannot a man?" asks one user.

In 2015, police in China took a similar tack with jaywalkers. Any pedestrians caught dodging cars in the city of Shenzhen were given a choice between paying a small fine, or donning a green hat and tabard and helping the police to direct traffic.

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