Two months after one of their colleagues gunned down a teenager at a wedding, the crime branch’s men seem to have a little problem on their hands. Rather, it is on their “arms”.
These days, crime branch personnel, including constables and sub-inspectors, are allowed access to their licensed weapons in only two circumstances: either before a raid or when they are certain that they will face “clear and present danger” while gathering intelligence.
“These terms have always been in place,” maintained a senior police officer. “They’ve just been reiterated recently.” The sudden reappearance of these seemingly “basic” instructions has, however, has become a talking point among policemen.
To some, the step, at best, aims to pre-empt incidents such as the shooting of 14-year-old Tarun Chauhan by a drunk constable, Jai Baba, posted with the special operations squad of the crime branch, over a minor argument, in Mukherjee Nagar’s Dhakka Village on March 12.
Others see it as an attempt to rein in the rather “entrepreneurial” lot and block their attempts at abusing the might of their uniform and government-sanctioned weapons.
“Of course there are rotten apples but that doesn’t mean that everyone should go through the same grind,” argued a sub-inspector. “I now have to get my weapon sanctioned every single working day.”
Used to operating in eight- to 10-member teams, other crime branch officers feel the step has added another tier to an already convoluted procedure of executing a timely raid.
On these complaints, the senior officer chose a rather dramatic axiom to defend his decision. “Great power comes with great responsibility,” he said.