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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

Kolkata police mulls measures to rein in ‘indisciplined’ cops

Bibhas Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, August 06, 2013
First Published: 12:41 IST(6/8/2013) | Last Updated: 12:48 IST(6/8/2013)

Seeking to draw lessons from the alleged questionable conduct and indiscipline by a section of city police force during the just-concluded panchayat polls, top bosses of the Kolkata Police are likely to moot a host of new measures to avoid similar incidents during the next panchayat elections scheduled for 2018.

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Three officers of the rank of deputy commissioner (DC) have been tasked with preparing a report in this regard.

The officers, of the 5th, 8th and 2nd battalion of Kolkata Police, had been posted in the districts along with junior officers during the rural polls.

“I will contribute to the report and give suggestions on ways to avoid any unseemly conduct by our forces in the future,” said a DC not wishing to be named.

From the time the panchayat polls got underway, a section of city police constables deployed for poll duty erupted in protest, citing inadequate arrangements.

While a section of forces in the Maoist-hit areas of Bankura raised the spectre of revolt, demanding provision of automatic rifles to fight extremist elements in the event of trouble, still more in Birbhum got into a slanging duel with the district police officials, citing lack of adequate transport to move from one post to another.

A section of dissidents have since been suspended for resorting to pressure tactics, brazen agitations and scuffles to press for their demands.

The city police bosses were clearly evasive when quizzed by the mediapersons on such incidents.

“The Kolkata Police constables are accustomed to the rigorous duty hours in the rural areas and some were exhausted from the long hours of vigil across all five phases of the panchayat polls.

However, we would have to concede that to an extent their protests were justified, as in some districts they were not even accorded with a proper accommodation to rest after a long, hard day of labour,” said the DC.

Upset with inadequate provisions, a section of police personnel posted in Howrah got into a bitter altercation with senior district police officers, and even fell into scuffles and trading of abuses to press for the claim.

“Three officers of the rank of ACP (assistant commissioner of police) had been heading separate teams on duty during the panchayat elections.

However, they found it hard to link up with their junior personnel for want of requisite transport and there were no top officers in view to broker a truce in times when the constables erupted in protest.

I will stress on provision of at least one officer of inspector rank with each police contingent or team during future polls, so they could deal with untoward incidents if any,” said the DC.

“But most of all, I would stress on the need to brief the officers and constables on what to expect when away on election duty and not crib about lack of provisions.

They should also be properly schooled on the kind of terrain they are to be deployed in,” the DC said.


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