Delhi Police promise promotion to junior cops for tracing missing children
According to a report by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) released last year, 17 children go missing every day in Delhi and at least two of them remain untraced.Updated: Aug 10, 2020 00:47 IST
The Delhi Police have announced quick promotions to constables and head constables who will find missing children in a bid to incentivise and encourage efforts at reversing the trend of disappearance of kids in the national Capital.
According to a report by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) released last year, 17 children go missing every day in Delhi and at least two of them remain untraced. As per police statistics, at least 22,567 children went missing in 2019 from across the city, of whom police traced 12,996(57.58%).
To remedy the situation, Delhi Police commissioner SN Shrivastava on Friday issued an order, saying any constable or head constable who finds at least 50 missing children aged below 14 (of whom at least 15 children younger must be eight-years-old) in a year would be eligible for an out-of-turn promotion. HT has seen the order.
On Sunday, Shrivastava also tweeted about it. “In the last two months only, 724 children aged below 18 years, have gone missing. Of these 537 have been rescued. Those police officers who rescue 50 missing children in 12 months will be given out of turn promotions. It will help in preventing such crimes,” the commissioner tweeted in Hindi.
Usually, constables are eligible for promotion after five years in service, that too only if they clear a test. If the person does not take the test, it takes around 10 years to become a head constable.
A senior police officer, who did not wish to be named, said that two months ago, Shrivastava told the force that finding missing children must be a top priority at all police stations. During the weekly law and order meetings, all district police chiefs are asked about the untraced kids and the recovery rate of missing children in their area.
“Of 724 children who went missing in June and July this year, we have traced 537. This recovery rate [over 74%] is far higher than the average. It will only increase after this initiative. The annual recovery rate is always around 50℅ every year,” the officer said.
The police chief in his order also said those who recover at least 15 missing children below 14 years (of whom five children are less than eight-years-old) in a year, they would be considered for the Asadharan Karya Puraskar (AKP).
Officials said the emphasis is on children below 8 because though more children -- especially those in their teens are reported missing -- the young ones(below 8) fall prey to trafficking gangs. In many cases police have found that those between 15-18 often leave homes on their own and refuse to return when traced by the police.
The AKP is a medal awarded to city police personnel that also carries a cash reward of Rs 20,000. It is awarded to those who go beyond their line of duty by risking their lives or cracking complex cases.
Many police officials said the initiative is intended to be a morale booster, because it takes several years for a constables or head constable to be promoted.
Retired Delhi police officer Amod Kanth, who also runs Prayas — an NGO for children, said, “This initiative can get remarkable results because investigating missing children can help in recovering most. There is an award system among the police to track proclaimed offenders (fugitives), which has yielded remarkable results. This shows that a similar system will help in tracking children.”
Proclaimed offenders are those declared fugitives by a court. In some cases, they carry a reward for their arrest.
Sanjay Gupta, director, Chetna, an NGO that works for children’ welfare, said such incentives were welcome and would likely lead to an improvement in the number of missing children rescued from across the country.
“If officials are encouraged, then we are sure to have a better rescue chances in missing cases. However, when being evaluated, all aspects of a police personnel’s work on the case should be considered. The case does not end at rescue, the police is also responsible for taking such cases to its fruitful end. An official should be judged on their overall performance in such a case; from filing the case report to sensitivity in handling the rescued children and busting the culprits,” he said.