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Odisha police to separate crime and law and order for better investigation, conviction rate

The DGP said a proposal has been submitted to the home department last week seeking augmentation of the police manpower so that inspectors in 115 of the 523 police stations can focus only on the investigation of crimes.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2018 18:10 IST
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Odisha,Odisha Police,Crime
The proposal also seeks to have another inspector with over two dozen beat constables to maintain law and order and prevent crimes.(HT File Photo)

Debabrata Mohanty

The Odisha police have initiated a major reform by deciding to segregate crime investigation from law and order functions in 115 police stations of the state to improve the conviction rate in criminal cases, among the lowest in the country.

“The existing sanctioned strength was far less than required. As policing is a 24-hour job, we need separate manpower for investigation and law and order,” said Odisha director general of police RP Sharma.

The DGP said a proposal has been submitted to the home department last week seeking augmentation of the police manpower so that inspectors in 115 of the 523 police stations can focus only on the investigation of crimes.

The chosen police stations were picked after a month-long exercise to categorise them on the basis of number of cases they handled annually, urbanisation, population, communal sensitivity and industrialisation.

“Growing urbanisation and rapid increase in population as well as industrialisation have added multifarious jobs to a police station, making policing very challenging,” Sharma said.

As per the proposal, the police stations have been divided into three categories depending on the population they cater to. The Category A police stations will have an inspector and 34 subordinate staff, Category B stations will have one inspector and 24 junior officials and Category C will comprise of an inspector only 18 sub-inspectors and others to investigate crimes.

The proposal also seeks to have another inspector with over two dozen beat constables to maintain law and order and prevent crimes. An official familiar with the matter said implementation of the proposal will require hiring of personnel at all levels.

Though Odisha has recruited over 4,500 policemen in various ranks in last 4 years, it still has about 6,000 vacancies, with a large number of the police stations having just 10-15 policemen.

Data provided by the home department shows there are 83 policemen for one lakh population in Odisha, way below the national average of 151 per 1 lakh population. About 30 % of the posts of sub-inspector and assistant sub-inspectors, the backbone of police stations for conducting criminal investigation, were lying vacant.

Police records show how poorly-manned police stations are unable to cope with crime investigation. As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the conviction rate in Odisha stood at 10.4% in 2016, the second lowest among all states. While 37,549 cases went to trial, only 3,907 ended in conviction. Only Bengal was worse than Odisha with 10.1 % conviction rate.

Former director general of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Prakash Singh, on whose petition the Supreme Court laid down guidelines for police reforms in 2006, welcomed the Odisha government’s move.

“It’s a step in the right direction. If the same person does law and order and investigation, he would not be able to do justice to both,” said Singh. In its 2006 order, the SC had underlined separation of the investigating police from the law and order police to ensure speedier investigation.

First Published: Jun 10, 2018 17:53 IST