Stop-gap measures bound to fail
Several measures introduced by authorities in the capital after the December 16 gang rape and violent protests are now memories. Many policemen are doing jobs not related to policing: assisting civic agencies in rounding up stray cattle, providing security at VIP weddings and social functions.india Updated: Dec 13, 2013 17:58 IST
Those convicted in the December 16 gang rape case had robbed a man before zeroing in on the 23-year-old physiotherapist and her friend as their next target.
Their first victim, Ramadhar, had approached three policemen in the Hauz Khas area to lodge a complaint that he had been robbed in a moving bus. Instead, he was asked to approach the police station in Vasant Vihar instead.
If the police had acted immediately on his complaint, it is possible that the Delhi gang rape convicts wouldn’t have been able to zero in on another victim.
The incident just highlights how crimes can be prevented if police on patrolling duty treat each complaint with utmost seriousness.
After the gang rape, a lot was promised.
But little has changed on the ground as complainants are still turned away from police stations.
Following the incident and the outrage that followed, a drive was launched and buses with tinted glasses were targeted.
Police personnel manning pickets were given torches to check the insides of vehicles but a year later, all these measures are a distant memory.
Another reason for security loopholes in the capital is the preoccupation of the security forces with VIPs and doing odd jobs.
If the total police workforce was available to the 1.67 crore Delhi residents, the city probably would have had one of the best citizen-police ratios in the country: the strength of the force is over 85,000, which means that one policeman could be made available for 200 citizens.
Some 45,000 Delhi policemen are engaged in doing jobs not related to policing the streets.
They assist civic agencies in rounding up stray cattle, verify domestic workers and passport applicants and provide security at VIP weddings and social functions.
As a result, there is minimal police presence on roads to act as a psychological deterrent for criminals.
Experts agree that the absence of police emboldens criminals.
After the gang rape, a lot was promised. But little has changed on the ground as complainants are still turned away from police stations.
In an interview, Dipak Mishra, special commissioner of police (law and order), Delhi Police told Hindustan Times that, "We are keeping an eye on routes used by vehicles of BPO companies."
Delhi has one of the largest police forces in the country with over 85,000 personnel, but cases of street crimes in the city have risen. People blame low visibility of police personnel in vulnerable areas for this. What is your take on it?
It will be unfair to say that our police personnel are not visible. More than 850 PCR vans are patrolling the streets across the city. The number of street crimes has gone up because we have been converting all complaints, made through PCR calls or in writing, to FIRs.
After the December 16 gang rape, Delhi police had made several promises to make women feel safe in the city. But there have been instances where complaints of women were turned away at the police stations.
Why would we turn people away? We have asked station-house officers (SHOs) to register FIRs in complaints related to crimes against women without attempting to make changes in the complaints or discouraging those making the complaints.
What steps are being taken to make Delhi safer for women?
Junior police personnel are being trained to handle cases related to women sensibly. More women personnel are being deployed at police stations. We have also opened women help desks at police. Orders have issued to monitor the routes taken by BPO vehicles.