The law and order situation in the city has not got better or worse in the past four years, but police investigation and conviction rates leave a lot to be desired, reveals a white paper on the state of policing, which was released by NGO Praja Foundation on Tuesday.
An overwhelming 83% of the 12,296 cases in which trials were completed in 2011 have seen acquittals. Of the 1,61,528 cases tried in courts in 2011, the verdict was given in 8% or 12,296 cases. Of these, only 17%, or 2,082, cases ended in convictions, the report states.
“It is shocking that the acquittal rate is as high as 83%. Also, we found that in the case of serious offences, the police could get conviction commensurate with the crime committed in only 10% cases,” said Nitai Mehta, founder trustee, Praja.
The report has found that the police have completed investigation in less than half the number of cases registered between February 2011 and March 2012. Add to this the backlog of previously pending cases and the numbers are frightening.
The white paper says 71,425 cases were investigated in the calendar year 2011. Of these, the police completed probe in 45% of the cases. While 35% were closed, 65% went for trial. This means the police have yet to complete their probe in 39,409 cases.
Mehta said to speed up investigation and improve conviction rates, the department must separate the investigation wing and not involve it in regular duties. “Let it not be bogged down by bandobast and nakabandi duties,” he said. “The commissioner’s office or the home minister can effect this change; it does not require legislative action.”
The report also reveals that the police force is badly short-staffed — the sanctioned strength for Mumbai is 41,401 personnel, but only 33,998 personnel are on board. The city needs another 7,403, or 18%, personnel. “The gap in the number of sanctioned and working police sub-inspectors is 60%, while for assistant commissioners of police, it is 27%,” said Mehta. PSIs are the ground-level investigators in a case.