In defence of Delhi Police
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The article 'Minding the police' (IE, January 17) by Vikas Anand made sweeping statements about police functioning in Delhi without any basis. The author, who is a civil servant posted in Delhi, comments that as the Delhi Police is directly accountable to the Union home ministry through the lieutenant-governor, without the involvement of the local government, there is no mechanism of accountability to the political executive. He forgets that the Delhi Police reports directly to the lieutenant-governor and the Union home minister, who are both appointed by the elected government and it is the elected political executive that exercises control over its functioning, budget and service delivery. Therefore, to say that the police is not accountable to the political executive is erroneous.
Anand should be reminded that the interference of local elected representatives in the day-to-day policing activities of station house officers and even in arrests in various states does not make the police any more professional or accountable. His assertion that the British introduced the commissionerate system in the Presidency towns alone, but not in Delhi, perhaps attempts to suggest that this was done with a purpose in mind, and should have been perpetuated. This is a case of regressive thinking. Since Independence, around 40 big cities and towns in India have adopted the commissionerate system and surely there must be some merit on account of which it is gaining currency.
The Delhi Police is one of the most scrutinised police forces in the country. It is under the scrutiny of 12 national- and state-level commissions, including the state security commission, the trial courts, the Delhi High Court, the Supreme Court, 24x7 electronic and ever-active print media.
Thus, Anand's contention of non-accountability is unfounded. He should be reminded that the Delhi Police has meted out major punishment to 545 personnel, and minor punishment to 1,344 personnel in 2012 alone. No other government department has comparable figures to show by way of internal vigilance and accountability to rules and laws.
The government of Delhi has passed the delivery of public services act, under which 23 services are covered. The licensing branch has never defaulted on the delivery of any of the services, such as "renewal of licences", the "permission of public amusement", and "permission for opening a new restaurant". However, various other departments have failed to follow mandatory timeframes.
The power of licensing with the Delhi Police and other commissionerates in the country provides uniformity and helps in coordination with various metropolitan agencies. Licensing functions enable the police force to regulate various establishments with a view to enhancing the internal security of the city. It is on account of these powers that the police has been able to ensure that cinemas, guest houses, etc have CCTV. The availability of CCTV footage in one such location proved to be crucial in cracking the case whose aftermath has prompted Anand to write his article.
The writer is public relations officer, Delhi Police, Office of the Commissioner of Police
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