One of India's most congested cities has hired an unconventional force of traffic cops.

A force of mannequins have been drafted in to police the roads and keep the city moving.
Dressed in police caps, hi-vis jackets, and khaki trousers - they show up to duty at Bangalore's busiest intersections, often propped up by trees or roadside furniture.

But no one could accuse these coppers of being stuffed shirts.

There are signs that the wooden police force are having an impact on driver behaviour.
As a hub for India's tech services, Bangalore has around eight million drivers on the roads. This is expected to rise to 10 million on the next two years.

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As a result roads are deathly slow and commute times are almost unbearable. Traffic averages a speed of just under 19kph and is the country's second most congested behind Mumbai, according to local tech company MovinSync Technology Solutions.

Police – a of the non-mannequin variety – record over 20,000 traffic violations a day.
While up close their appearance is comical, road users are more cautious when they catch sight of the yellow vests. Their presence seems to calm traffic.

"It is making people wear their helmets at traffic junctions," college student Gautam T, told the BBC.

Saravana, a rickshaw taxi driver, said the plastic police force has had a calming effect on his driving: "It makes you not jump the traffic signal."

Others are not so impressed. Bangalore social media is already full of #mannequin selfies.


Some road users say traffic is no better when actual cops are on duty.

Bangalore local, Felix sees plastic police officers as hardly a priority. He calls the mannequins a "waste of money" while locals "don't have footpaths to walk on, roads to drive on and proper transport."

PR worker Saleela Kappan said the dummies were "far too fit and fair" to be mistaken for Indian policemen. Talking to the BBC she says the mannequins have little hope, "people violate traffic rules even when policemen themselves are present".

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BR Ravikante Gowda, a senior traffic police officer in Bangalore, explained to the BBC World Service the rational for padding out the ranks of his traffic enforcement officers:
"The idea of placing these mannequins at a different location every day is because people behave differently when there is a policeman present at the junction. When he is not there, their behaviour is different."

But don't get too complacent, the police are no dummies.

They rotate the daily deployment of mannequins daily with real cops, which gives errant drivers the fright of their life when what they thought was a plastic police man springs into life to issue them a ticket.