Delhi Police are going digital to improve the quality of investigation.
The police control room (PCR) department has decided to procure high-definition (HD) video cameras (handycams) and keep them in 1,000 PCR vans that are the first responders to any crime scene.
The handycams would be used by the in-charge of patrol vans to record the crime scene, gathering of people, and areas around the spot, apart from recording statements of the witnesses, all in digital format.
This video recording will be handed over to the investigating officer, who can use it as digital evidence in the court. “The objective of the initiative is to get first-hand evidence of any crime and use it to make the case stronger against the accused,” said a senior police officer.
In the current scenario, the officer said, evidence collection is the investigating officer’s job and the officer takes the help of forensic experts to lift samples.
A lot of evidence and witnesses are lost or gone from the crime scene because the forensic experts and investigators generally reach late, mostly after some key witnesses leave the spot.
“But as our PCR vans act as first responders to any crime and reach the spot first, sometimes in less than a minute or two, it will be easy for us to capture such key evidence using the video cameras,” the officer said. “There have been instances where suspects were present at the crime scene after the crime, monitoring the police activities and probe. Video recordings of the spots can help us identify and prosecute them based on the video footage.”
Another police official said that the video cameras can be used for multi-tasking. Apart from crime spots, patrol van officials can use video cameras during demonstrations, riots, processions and other public gatherings, which at times witness violence as protestors resort to stone pelting on public servants and damaging private and public property.
The recordings of such gatherings can be used by the police at a later stage to nail the trouble mongers.
At present, as many as 500 patrol vans are equipped with ‘phablets’ that are used as call receiver and navigator. Since these phablets have in-built cameras, they can be used for video recordings too.
“The idea is to train our patrol van staff in making videos of crime scene... We cannot use video recordings of the phablets as digital evidence because the quality of video they produce is not good,” added the officer.
PCR vans and control room
Average calls received everyday by the police control room: 25,000 to 28,000
Actionable calls: Around 8,000
Number of patrol vans: 1,000
Number of police personnel posted in patrol vans: 6,000