While an apparent decrease in street crimes in November may have given Delhi Police a breather, 40,000 frantic calls from banks, ATMs and petrol pumps where people queued up to withdraw money in the wake of demonetisation have kept cops on their toes.
HT accessed police records which showed that the calls were received between the night of November 8 — when old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 were scrapped — and December 8.
There were around 450 robbery complaints in October. In November, the figure fell to 320, police claim.
On an average, the PCRs received 1,322 calls every day from banks and ATMs, ie, 55 every hour. Thirty-two calls every day came from petrol pumps alone.
Most calls were related to arguments between people in queues, non-functioning of ATMs, late arrival of bank staff, cash crunch at banks and ATMs, rude staff at banks and petrol pumps, and allegations of favouritism against bank and petro pump staff.
Between 8pm on November 8 and 7 am on November 9, PCRs received 200 demonetisation-related calls just from banks and ATMs. The number of calls more than quadrupled to 900 calls on November 9. Maximum calls were received on November 12, 13 and 14 when police received 3,436, 5,625 and 3,986 calls, respectively.
The calls dipped in the third week after the announcement — 96 and 78 calls were received on November 26 and 27, respectively. The least figure during the period was on December 4 — only 62 calls were received.
With 78,000-strong staff, the Delhi Police suffers a staff crunch of 8,000 at present. Yet, over 6,000 cops are deployed every day at banks, ATMs and post offices to prevent theft, robbery, cheating and fighting.
“The deployment of about 8% of the total police strength in demonetization-related duties has affected beat patrolling, checking of vehicles on roads, gathering inputs about criminals. Efforts to nab criminals have been hit due to staff crunch,” said a senior police officer.
However, senior Delhi Police officers claim that the number of calls are decreasing by the day. “For the past few days, the number has gone to below 500 calls every day. Most of these calls are now related to non-functioning of ATMs and no cash in banks and ATMs,” said a senior officer.