Crimes in Delhi up 275% from 2013: CAG report
The report says that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had approved 12,518 posts in the city police with advice to operationalise 3,139 posts first and then the remaining 9379 posts after deployment of 3139 personnel on ground.Updated: Sep 24, 2020, 00:19 IST
Crime incident in Delhi increased by 275% in 2019 compared to 2013 even as “acute shortage” of manpower put the force under “tremendous strain” with average daily duty hours ranging from 12 to 15 hours against the prescribed eight hours, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on manpower and logistics management in Delhi Police which was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.
The report says that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had approved 12,518 posts in the city police with advice to operationalise 3,139 posts first and then the remaining 9379 posts after deployment of 3139 personnel on ground.
“…..However, due to failure of Delhi Police to recruit against these 3,139 posts, the remaining 9,379 approved posts could not be operationalised (August 2020). We found the functioning of the Delhi Police being affected by shortage in manpower,” a press release issued by the CAG quoted the report as saying.
A Delhi Police spokesperson said, “We have now initiated a proposal for recruiting nearly 5,800 constables. The recruitment process is on.”
According to the CAG release, the registration of heinous crimes such as murder, robbery, rape in Delhi increased sharply between 2013 and 2015 (from 4,159 to 11,187 in 2015). However, after 2015, registration of such crimes has been constantly decreasing, showing a positive trend. The police registered 5,185 henious crimes in 2019 compared to 4,159 in 2013.
Former Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar said he higher crime figures should never be seen as the index of performance of the police as it is the “easiest to meddle with these numbers” and underreport them to show the law and order situation to be improving.
He said that while the police would do well to fill the existing vacancies, the answer does not lie in the numbers, but in the utilisation of the existing resources. “The more the number of police personnel, the more lax is the control of the police leadership over them. Instead, the leadership must use technology as a force multiplier and better utilise their existing personnel,” said Kumar.
After Neeraj Kumar retired on July 31, 2013, BS Bassi, Alok Verma and Amulya Patnaik served as Delhi Police commissioners before SN Shrivastava became the police chief in March this year.
According to the CAG audit, only one out of 72 police stations had staff as per the norms prescribed by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D). In other police stations, there was a manpower shortage of up to 35%.
Outdated communication system
According to the CAG report, the increasing number of blank calls received in the police control room (PCR) has been a major irritant affecting the performance of the emergency response system but a “satisfactory solution has not been found”.
The audit found that the city police have been using a 20-year-old trunking system (APCO), which is 10 years beyond its normal life span. The proposals for upgradation of these sets were initiated 10 years ago, but even tenders have not been finalised yet, the top auditor says in the report.
“The number of wireless sets under the conventional system declined from 9,638 in June 2009 to 6,172 in June 2019 as the sets condemned during the period were not regularly replaced,” the report says.
It also pointed out that the police have installed 3,870 CCTV cameras at strategic locations across the city, but the percentage of cameras functioning satisfactorily is abysmally low with 31% to 44% cameras being defunct.
The police spokesperson said, “A proposal for procuring a new and advanced communication system is at the advanced stage in the ministry of home affairs.”
The CAG says that despite being Delhi’s specialised counter terror unit, the special cell lacked vehicles, protective equipment like bulletproof jackets, and arms and ammunition, which are vital for quick, real-time response.
Problems with digital initiatives
In its report, the CAG has pointed out the Delhi Police’s Himmat (Plus), women safety mobile application, witnessed a lukewarm response from the users despite a sizeable expenditure (₹ 18.5 lakh on development and ₹6.82 crore on publicity).
“Out of a total 1.66 lakh downloads of Himmat/Himmat Plus app, there were 1.32 lakh uninstalls leaving only about 0.34 lakh users as of May 2019, which was much less as compared to users of women safety apps of Bengaluru Police (50,482) and Maharashtra Police (84,000),” says the report.
The police spokesperson said, “More citizen-centric mobile applications are being added for effective and transparent functioning of police. It is for the public to use such facilities.”