An unfortunate outburst of anger by an assistant commissioner of police (ACP) during the recent Gandhi Nagar rape case has triggered winds of change within the Delhi Police.
ACPs since the inception of the Delhi Police have acted mostly as 'liaison officers between the local police and the bureaucracy. But now, as per a highly-placed Delhi Police officer, they will be required to play a crucial role in curbing one of the biggest banes which the Capital suffers from - the mysterious and daily disappearance of minor children.
The ACP of every Delhi Police sub-division, who till recently used to seek only written reports from his subordinates and busy himself with paperwork before passing it on to the district Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), will now be the first responder to cases of missing minors.
"Instructions to this effect were issued to all ACPs and SHOs by police commissioner Neeraj Kumar at a special meet held last Friday," said an officer. "We will no longer stand losing precious time in such cases just because investigating them more closely doesn't fit into the job profile of senior personnel such as ACPs."
According to the new directive, which will soon be circulated in the form of a written order in the coming week, the ACP will now be required to visit the spot of the disappearance of a person - especially if he or she happens to be below the age of 18. This should be done as soon as a PCR call informing the local police of it is received.
Once at the spot, the ACP will be required to oversee the collection of physical evidence from the spot, initiate the collection of forensic evidence if available and be in constant touch with the victim's family.
"In many cases, missing minor children have been found to have died after having fallen into a ditch or a pothole in the vicinity of their home. The ACP will get such crevices checked and do it personally if required," explained an officer.
"Also, staying in touch with a missing minor's family is of utmost importance. Not only on humanitarian grounds, but also so that the family's repeated queries - though natural - do not hamper investigations into the incident by consuming the investigating officer's time."
The Delhi Police are currently reeling under the ignominy of seeing one of their suspended ACPs, Bani Singh Ahlawat, slapping a female protester at a hospital where a five-year-old victim of sexual assault was admitted. Ahlawat was suspended with immediate effect.