HT spoke to former Delhi police commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma on rise of crime in the city. Excerpts from an interview:
Can the rise in number of crimes be always ascribed to better registration by the police? Doesn’t it indicate the police’s failure to curb crime?
Though it will be unfair to say that the law and order situation has worsened, but quoting crime figures does indicate that crime is happening. It also means there is a better registration of crime but a lot more needs to be done. If the Delhi Police start registering every case, the number will increase by 8-10 times, which is not the case. There are chances that still every case is not getting registered. If the police work hard and register every case, from next year onwards, the cases will start coming down.
In Delhi there is no organised gang, but cases of extortion are still rising. Is it an alarming trend?
Earlier, criminals used to extort money in the name of the Mumbai underworld. But they don’t do it anymore. This means criminals, especially the experienced ones, are becoming active. They are getting the confidence to operate independently. Police must take it as a warning and stop first-time criminals from graduating and becoming extortionists.
There is a 260% rise in cases of abduction.
This should ring an alarm bell. Abduction is a serious crime and affects the common man and his perception of safety on the road. It also shows that heinous crime is going up and the police will have to become more vigilant. The fact of the matter is that a crime as serious as abduction is still taking place and the police cannot just not do away with claiming that it is a result of improved registration of cases.
What is your suggestion for Delhi police?
They must register every crime to know the situation on the ground. If they demand more force, why would the Centre give them that if the crime graph remains the same as it was earlier. Just to keep the figures down, police were reluctant in registering FIR and the move backfired. They will get the force only when it will be established that crime is rising.