Public outrage triggered by the December 16 gang rape and recently instituted measures at the higher echelons of the government to project an image of zero tolerance towards sexual crimes, Delhi Police claim, have sent crime statistics soaring through the roof.
But in a city that bears witness to at least five cases of rape and 10 of molestation each day, the registration of relatively more cases related to sexual crimes is finally being viewed as a positive step instead of a reflection of lawlessness.
In an advisory issued to the police, the government had made it mandatory that any complaint related to crime made to the police be filed as an FIR (first-information report).
Though the advisory was issued much before last year’s December 16 gang rape, the police took months to put the suggestions into practice and make it mandatory.
And as a result, the cases of rape in 2013 went up by as much as 200% as compared to last year’s figure. The cases of molestation saw a five-fold increase over last year.
Asked about the reason behind the rising trend in crime against women, a senior police officer said that it was happening because of the free registration of FIRs in such complaints.
“Our stand on crime against the fairer sex is clear. As per our directions, all the station house officers (SHOs) and police officers have been directed to convert complaints from women into FI Rs. And anyone found violating the directions faces punishment,” said the senior officer.
In recent months, according to the officer, several station house officers have been served show-cause notices for not complying with the order of converting complaints of crimes against women into FI Rs. Some of them were even removed from their posts after preliminary inquiry made against them found them misusing their powers.
According to the officer, a study into calls of crime against women made at the police control room (PCR) or complaint received at the police stations revealed that the SHOs were misusing the power to use their discretion in filing FIRs to keep out frivolous and false complaints for keeping the crime records of their police stations balanced. As a result, genuine victims of crime were not getting redressed and were often harassed.