When the 1986-batch IPS officer PK Srivastava arrived in Chandigarh as UT inspector general of police in February 2010, he had tough challenges ahead. Crime was on the rise, factionalism had marred Chandigarh police, over 120 accidents were reported on city road daily; and number of fatal accidents seemed to be spinning out of control.
The UT police top cop, belonging to AGMUT cadre, received both bouquets and brickbats. Some decisions of his brought him applause, including e-surveillance at traffic lights and checking petty crime. However, his nearly three-year stint was largely marred by police infighting and serious allegations of corruption against an IPS officer. He was also perceived as not-tough police officer.
During his stay, Srivastava was promoted to the rank of director general of police. He introduced schemes for the welfare of cops, including holding of health camps and initiated steps to curb staff shortage by effecting recruitments in Chandigarh police.
As he demits office on retirement on Friday, Hindustan Times caught up with the director general of police for a tête-à-tête, during which Srivastava candidly admitted he could not achieve all that he had desired.
Q Allegations of factionalism between junior police officials and IPS officers heading the force dented Chandigarh police image. What do you have to say?
Factionalism is not so uncommon phenomenon in the police force. In a place like Chandigarh, where size of police force is not so large and media is active, such incidents are highlighted.
Q But, in an unprecedented move, ministry of home affairs was forced to intervene that led to the suspension of two inspectors?
As the IGP, I could not take many tough decisions, as my primary concern was to ensure smooth functioning of the police force and take everyone along. Any action on my part to intervene in the case of alleged indiscipline by two inspectors would have led to further bad blood. My aim was to run police force cohesively and make Chandigarh a secure place. MHA had a distant view and suo motu took the right decision.
Q How can Chandigarh police be made more professional?
New blood from outside will do a lot of good to the city. Seven senior officials would be joining the city from New Delhi and Haryana in the coming days. Interacting with officers from different cadres will make city police act in a more professional manner. MHA is actively amalgamating Chandigarh police cadre with New Delhi and Andaman Nicobar cadre.
Q What do you have to say about the crime situation in the city?
Chandigarh is a peaceful city, with majority of cases reported of petty crimes rather than heinous nature. Three to four sensational cases were reported during my tenure in the city. Only two went out of hand: Khushpreet abduction and murder case and Neha murder case in Sector 38 West. The infamous Khushpreet case, though unfortunate, led to creation of sensation in the city. The Neha case turned out to be a blind murder, despite our best efforts to crack it.
Q What are your achievements during your stay here?
I wanted to modernise the city police. I have been able to make major difference in the infrastructural scene of Chandigarh police, such as construction of a police colony with 1,600 houses at Dhanas. We established police training school and Indian Reserve Battalion campus at Sarangpur. We also succeeded in making the city more secure by ensuring better security arrangements at banks, jewellery shops and other commercial institutions. Beat constable system was reintroduced and community policing strengthened through efforts such as senior citizen programmes and direct contact with police control room.
Q What are the projects on cards?
I wanted to bring in the 'safe city' concept on the UK pattern but the matter is pending with authorities concerned due to the cost involved. Chandigarh shooting range is also being modernised to ensure state-of-the-art training facilities for tricity police and general shooters. Similarly, the UT Administrator's vision for an underground control room with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) equipment is also at an advanced stage of consideration.
Q Any regrets?
I could not sensitise the Chandigarh residents completely to make their homes and surroundings secure. We initiated steps to sensitise the residents to the need of making the homes secure but lot more needs to be done. Security requires to be improved in palatial houses in the northern sectors, which largely remain neglected. Residents need to be vigilant so that police parties on patrol may be alerted in case of requirement.
Q What is your take on corruption charges against Chandigarh police personnel and the recent case of IPS officer caught by CBI on charge of accepting bribe from an SHO?
It was indeed a very sad incident involving an IPS officer. I would never like to defend corruption. All bad elements should be weeded out and anyone indulging in corrupt practice should be dealt with strictly.
Infrastructural development such as houses for police force and modernisation of shooting range.
Police welfare programmes and new recruitments.
Beefing up security in banks, jewellery shops and other financial institutions. Re-introducing beat system.
Infamous Khushpreet abduction case that led to protests in the city. The child could not be saved and was found murdered.
Neha murder case could not be solved.
Indiscipline and insubordination in force.
IPS officer caught in corruption case.