The latest Delhi Police initiative on car theft has racked up an average of 70 vehicles reported missing every day. The Capital’s first virtual police station set up exclusively for vehicle thefts has had a very busy first few weeks, registering 1,200 cases just 18 days into its launch.
The e-police station for motor vehicle thefts was inaugurated on April 17 as auto thefts continued to top the crime charts in Delhi, which has the highest number of vehicles in India.
While on an average 1,343 vehicles are registered in the Capital every day, 70 two- or -four wheelers are stolen daily. In 2014, 22,000 vehicles were reported stolen to police, only 2,322 of these were recovered.
That perhaps explains the virtual police station’s successful trial run as well as its urgent necessity. In the coming weeks, the smart police station will be accessible to the general public.
“FIRs will be instantly received on the cellphone without the complainant having to run to the local station,” a senior officer said.
At the e-police station an FIR can be filed online through a mobile app or through the Delhi Police website.
At present, all details of a theft are fed by police officers to the e-station. But once the stations opens to people, a user with access to a computer or a mobile phone would be able to file a complaint directly and receive a copy of FIR instantly.
To make the process transparent, police will start sending reports of untraced vehicle to e-courts, the notification for which has been issued, from May 17. Police have a month to tell the court about the status of a stolen vehicle.
An additional chief metropolitan magistrate has been assigned for each of the 10 police districts of the city to handle cases forwarded by the e-police station.
When the e-police station will allow public to register complaints directly, untraced vehicle reports, which take a month now, will be sent within 21 days. These reports are a must for claiming insurance.
“The untraced report will directly go to the court within 21 days. It will be easier for complainants to get insurance because the e-court accepts the untraced report,” the police officer said.
With rising vehicle thefts, complaints of police harassment are not uncommon, but technology will make the process transparent and officers accountable, he said.
A common database will also make it easy for the police to trace the owner if a stolen vehicle is recovered in the city.
As the stolen vehicle data will be available to public, an owner will have access to information about any recovered vehicle. The online facility will also allow a complainant to track the progress of the case.