Why cops on survey duty?
Why Cops On Survey Duty? Cases piling up, but cops are used for all and sundry jobs.
Cases piling up, but cops are used for all and sundry jobs.
The city police have been constantly engaged in providing security for festivals and other occasions. This has led to a delay in their daily chores, causing widespread inconvenience to the public. With the involvement of half the force for the mega survey on August 19, the situation seems to be they do anything but maintain law & order.
Sonali (name changed) has been doing the rounds of a police station in Secunderabad as the summons to the court case of her husband has not been delivered for the past four months as the police were busy with elections, Bonalu and Ramzan.
Ishaan (name changed) lost gold worth Rs 5 lakh last week. But the circle and staff are busy getting trained for the mega survey of August 19.
When Aziz (name changed) called up the Basheerbagh police to enquire about his watchman who was missing for many days now, he received a harsh reply that everyone was busy training for the survey.
About 4 lakh government employees, ranging from Tahsildars to collectors, including police personnel, are expected to take part in the survey, covering 86 lakh households in the state. The survey includes a proforma where signatures of all the heads of families would be taken, that ascertains the statistics of the family.
A circle inspector from the Old City says, “Cases are piling up and there is shortage of manpower. The newly elected government conducts several public meetings and the recent months saw a lot of festivals and occasions like Eid, Bonalu and Independence Day. The police force is required to partake in the security measures. Taking the suspect from jail to court for bail requires man power. Hence poor people languish in jails as we are short of manpower. Now we are using more than half of the police personnel from the station for the survey.”
According to National Police Commission set up by the Government of India in 1977, the duties and responsibilities of the police include: to promote and preserve public order; investigate crimes, identify problems and situations that are likely to lead to crimes, reduce opportunities for the commission of crimes through preventive patrol and other police measures aid and cooperate with other relevant agencies in implementing appropriate measures for prevention of crimes; aid individuals who are in danger of physical harm; create and maintain a feeling of security in the community; facilitate orderly movement of people and vehicles; counsel and resolve conflicts and promote amity; provide other appropriate services and relief to people in distress and collect intelligence reports relating to matters affecting public peace and crimes in general including social and economic offences, national integrity and security.
Among these duties, survey is not mentioned.
Another ACP says, “We are the backbone of law and order. Using any other department like agriculture, teachers, students, and revenue is fine but use of police and military forces for surveys can jeopardise the security of citizens.”
There is a shortage of police personnel. Police departments in Telangana and Andhra are all working harder at recruitment and drawing fewer applicants. It is the same story in smaller cities of India where the number of applicants to the police department has dropped by 70 per cent over the last five years.
One of the concerns expressed by police officers in the course of a recent workshop was the shortage of women police in the city.
“Though the law prescribes that victims of rape or any kind of sexual assault must be handled by women police, the lack of sufficient women in the police force prevents the law from being adhered to. If victims of sexual assault visit police stations at night, there must be a women on duty,” some of the police officers complained during a workshop.
One of the leading cases on this points to a case in Nalgonda, where a woman was continuously being harassed by ex-boyfriend. She went to the police for help many times, but was always rebuffed. Desperate, because she could not get police protection, on the eve of her engagement party she and her mother went to the police one last time pleading for protection against what they were certain was a serious threat. The police was busy in a meeting that was attended by a VIP. The police refused to offer protection yet again. As she was leaving the party, her former boyfriend threw acid on her face, blinding and permanently disfiguring her. Cases like this keep piling in police stations.15 per cent of the police force is used for the protection of some 200 VIPs alone.
As for the law and order situation in the city with its 1.2 crore population, the police strength is truncated by a sizeable chunk.
VIP security is a big issue for any police force. However it becomes troublesome when a sizeable percentage of the city's total police force is busy protecting the so-called VIPs, day in and day out, leaving security of the public at large, which, at times, hampers both the prevention and investigation of crime.
Home minister Naini Narsimha Reddy says, “We are considering all factors and using half the force of every police station for the survey.”
While there is shortage of more than 40 per cent of man power in the police department, how does it compensate using 50 per cent of the police for the survey?
In spite of several calls, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Mahendar Reddy was not available to comment.