Former IPS officer Prakash Singh talked to HT about the rising street crime in Delhi. Excerpts:
Crime figures in Delhi have gone up in the first quarter of this year. Does this indicate the law and order situation in the city has deteriorated?
Rise in crime figures should never be linked with deterioration of law and order. This means police are registering cases and complainants are also coming forward. It may be the effect of the new law, under which police personnel will face punishment if he/she refuses to file an FIR, or the aftermath of the Delhi gang rape, which has resulted in the better registration of cases.
But doesn’t it show that more crime is taking place in the Capital? Or is it just that earlier, the police were not registering FIRs promptly?
Crime will always increase but we have to see the positive aspect. For instance, what is the police response to the crime, how they handled the investigation. If the police response is poor and investigation is shoddy, then there is no point in just registering cases. If people are reporting more cases, the police must improve their investigation skills. Earlier, just to keep the crime figures low, the police were not registering cases.
Increase in street crimes means people are not safe outside their house.
Overall, what we have been observing is that there is no respect for law. Cases will always come and statistics will swell but in general the people should respect the law. There seems to be no fear in criminals’ minds.
What is the biggest challenge before the police?
The problem with the police is that nobody defends them. They know, if they don’t register a case they will be criticised and when if they do, people will claim crime is rising. We should concentrate more on seeking better policing.