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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Law and order not an election issue in Pune

Current police commissioner K Venkatesham has been strongly focused on confidence building amongst residents

pune Updated: Oct 16, 2019 16:24 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Gavel for judge, law and order

A steady decline in serious crimes over the last five years - 2014-2019 – and rising conviction rate for the Pune Police is suggestive of better crime management in Pune city.

The conviction rate was 11.3 % in 2015 and climbed to 33.42 % in 2016, the statistc show.

In 2018, 9,995 serious crimes were reported, compared with 13,885 in 2017. Serious crimes include murder, attempt to murder, chain snatching and sexual assault.

Current police commissioner K Venkatesham has been strongly focused on confidence building amongst residents.

The introduction of people-centric, connect intiatives like “Bharosa”cell and “Service Excellence and Victim Assistance” (Seva) initiative are all aimed at redressing public grievances in real time.

Former city BJP president Yogesh Gogawale claims that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis took the decision that respective police commissioners can effect transfers without any interference from the home ministry. “This brought in the desired results,” says Gogawale.

“The crime level, in calculation norms, were followed diligently and the government made it clear to officers in charge that they will be held accountable. CPs have been given the freedom to implement innovative measures which has delivered results for Pune,” Gogawale said.

Ramesh Bagwe, the Congress candidate contesting the Assembly elections from the Cantonment seat does not view the statistics as being a reflection of the ground reality.

“Women are being molested. Vehicle vandalism is on the rise and people don’t fear the police anymore,” he said

Expert view

Lower crime rates, increase convictions

Advocate Milind Pawar, a prominent criminal lawyer, explains: “Previously there were no legal advisors with the police. Now, legal advisors scrutinise chargesheets and it is a foolproof method for preparing watertight cases resulting in increasing rate of conviction. Earlier this was not the case. Earlier loopholes which have happened in cases where witnesses have not supported the prosecution are being plugged.”

Rajendra Sonawane (retired), additional director general of police, says, “A number of factors like preparation of water tight cases, follow-ups and witnesses not turning hostile are the reasons behind increase in conviction rate. At the same time, police must protect witnesses from threats and coercion.”