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FIR? Your case isn’t worth it

This one is right out of Ripley’s believe-it-or-not, Delhi Police officers are masters in statistics. They are such experts that they know how to manipulate the tally in order to get the desired result. The police don’t like filing FIRs. They try to avoid it as much as possible.

delhi Updated: Jul 16, 2010 01:35 IST
Karan Choudhury

This one is right out of Ripley’s believe-it-or-not, Delhi Police officers are masters in statistics. They are such experts that they know how to manipulate the tally in order to get the desired result.

Don’t believe it? Read on.

The Delhi Police has a slogan. It goes like this, With You, For You, Always. An honourable slogan, isn’t it? Most of the times you’ll find the slogan painted on the sides of the PCR vans or on a white board stuck to the main gate of any police station. In reality, this slogan shatters to tiny little bits as soon as one enters any one of the Capital’s numerous police stations.

Ask any Delhiite who has ever gone to lodge a First Information Report (FIR) and all you’ll hear is a long narrative of the person’s ordeal and harassment.

The police don’t like filing FIRs. They try to avoid it as much as possible. Why? Here’s the reason, Statistics.

If a police station dutifully lodges FIRs on all the complaints that come to them, then their crime rate will go up. If the crime rate goes up, the senior officers start asking too many uncomfortable questions such as: “Why is the crime rate going up in your area?” The answer, “Because we are registering all the FIRs that come our way” isn’t going to win them any medals. All it’s going to get them is an earful.

So to save themselves from official lambasting and tons of paperwork, the police try and avoid filing FIRs as much as possible. The police believe that FIRs should only be registered for the most heinous crimes, such as murder, attempted murder or rape.

While the police try to keep their figures in shipshape, the common man continues to suffer street crimes such as snatchings, pickpocketing and theft.

Anjali Chandana, 44, a Mayur Vihar-II resident became a victim of snatching recently and had to go to the police station to lodge an FIR. Here’s her account in her words: “I was returning home when two boys on a motorcycle snatched my bag. Shocked and angry, I decided to go and lodge an FIR. That day, I realized that losing my bag was nothing compared to the emotional trauma I underwent to get an FIR.”

She was made to sit at the police station for two hours. Finally, an Investigating Officer came to her and asked her what all she had lost. “I told him that my wallet which had around Rs 1,000, my cellphone and a few other things. He said my loss wasn’t that big so I should not file an FIR as it would be a major hassle. He told me take a Non-Cognizable Report instead as it would get me a new phone number. I was stumped. When asked why, he said, I would have to go to court and recognise the criminal. I got scared and left the station without anything.”

Senior police officers, however, view things differently and refuse to believe that things are that bad. Joint Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) N. Dilip Kumar says, “Every person feels their problem is important and should be reported. But police has to see if it is a cognisable offence or not. If it is a cognisable offence then the police is bound to file an FIR. I agree there are a few bad seeds in the force but that does not mean that the entire system is bad.”

So far this year, the Delhi Police has registered around 25,000 FIRs. Senior police officers blame the people for not filing FIRs. “When we tell them they’ll have to go to the court, they think we are intimidating them. It is part of the procedure which has to be followed,” says a senior police officer on the condition of anonymity.