Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi acknowledges that crime against women had always been a pressing concern in the capital and feels modifying crime statistics for a cleaner pubic image is unfair to the average complainant. He also seemingly justifies police encounters as a legitimate step to instill fear in the heart of criminals.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: Crime statistics are soaring. So are, to be fair to your force, arrest figures. Are you equipped with enough manpower to take these to their logical conclusion?
A: I am a police officer and it is my duty to register each and every criminal case that is brought to notice. When this is done, I must register it irrespective of the constraints that be or whether or not I will be able to solve it or otherwise. We, as a force, are after the creation of a city that feels safe, not statistics open to scrutiny from different angles.
Q: The Delhi Police seem to have gone on overdrive when it comes to crime against women. But what about ‘other’ crimes like house theft, motor vehicle theft and even snatching that evidently have deplorable crack rates?
A: When it comes to crime - there are only two types; those that can be solved and those which can’t. There is no ‘other’ category. In the type of cases which you have mentioned, where the investigator is not easily able to establish a link between the crime and the criminal because of his facelessness, the success rate is logically lower.
Q: How are investigations in the murder of NRI student Anmol Sarna coming along? The local police couldn’t apparently do a good job at investigating it prompting you to transfer it to the crime branch.
A: All I can say is that the matter is under investigation and no facet of it — one which needs to be out in the public eye — has been kept from public scrutiny. With the fact that they have been transporting over 30,000 road accidents victims to hospitals every year, the Police Control Room (PCR) vehicles, which is primarily the first responder to any crime spot, have seemingly turned into substitute ambulance services, the services which should actually taken care by the Delhi government.
Q: Don’t you think that this is affecting the actual functioning of your first responders?
A: It would not be right to call PCR vans as substitute ambulance services. The prime and major duty of PCR police personnel is to respond swiftly in all emergency calls. When any person in distress seeks police assistance, it is our PCR vans that respond. Since we are aware that ambulance services are inadequate with the Delhi government and as long as robust ambulance services are not available, we will keep doing it.
Q: You spoke of increasing the number of CCTV cameras installed in Delhi. Do you have enough eyes to monitor them?
A: Yes, the number will increase to around 3,000 this year. In the coming three to four years, the number is expected to increase to 10,000. To counter constraints, we have instituted a system linking the police station, the district and the headquarter levels which will ensure that CCTV footage is monitored at all three levels.