Praja Foundation and CHRI released their first report on state of policing and Law & order in Delhi

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Delhi, 15st December, 2015: Praja Foundation and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) released their first report on state of policing and Law & order in Delhi with the aim to provide a holistic view, in very objective terms relying solely on official data, of the state of crime and policing in Delhi for the year 2014, including the record of oversight by Members of Parliament and the State Security Commission.

Stating the need for such a study, Maja Daruwala, Executive Director, CHRI, said that “A large part of public fear and distrust of the police is fed by little understanding of levels of crime, the police response, and the various reasons behind perceived poor police performance.  Much of this fear and distrust would dissipate if there was more transparency and easy access to information.” The report further reveals what corrective action are needed to take the agenda of better policing for all forward.

Nitai Mehta, Managing Trustee, Praja Foundation, emphasised that “The basic right of any citizen is the right to live in a safe and secure environment without any fear, to face or be a victim of crime. Unfortunately our country’s capital fails in this area, especially with the number of crimes against women.”

In the Calendar Year 2014, there were 74,921 cases reported of Theft and while Burglary was 10,281. There were an alarming 1962 cases of rape reported in 2014, including 1818 rapes (u/s IPC 376), and 144 gang rapes (u/s IPC 376D). There were a 2,667 cases reported of assault to outrage modesty of women. Other crimes like Murder (533), kidnapping/abduction (7,186), snatching (7,170) and robbery (6,396) were also registered in high numbers. Places like Outer Districts are notorious with highest numbers in crime (22,222) in comparison to other districts.

Unfortunately the tussle between the Delhi Government, the Lietuenant Governer and the Central Government over the control of the police have contributed to the worsening law and order situation of Delhi. The high number of complaints against police indicates the deficit of public trust. A glance at the statistics of allegation-wise breakdown of complaints highlights the rot in the system with the majority of complaints relating to misbehaviour, inaction and corruption. The police received a total of 12,872 complaints against its personnel in 2014, of these, only 35 FIRs were registered.

Devika Prasad, Coordinator Police Reforms, CHRI, adds, “This paper has given us the opportunity to experiment with different methodologies on how to count and represent crime statistics. This has revealed significant differences in total crime figures, from the same base data, depending on the method used. This suggests it is necessary to consider new and diverse ways to compile crime statistics.”

The Delhi police is also bogged down by adequacy of the police force. There was an overall shortage of 6% in 2014. The shortfall was most significant at the supervisory ranks of Additional Commissioner (37%) and Assistant Commissioner (36%).

“Control” of the Delhi Police remains a contentious issue between the state and central government. As the administrator of the Delhi Police, the Lt. Governor has a leading role to play in ensuring law and order prevails. .In fact, there are various consultative mechanisms geared to improve and strengthen policing. . Milind Mhaske, Project Director, Praja Foundation says that, ”The current and most relevant mechanism is the State Security Commission (SSC) for Delhi, consisting of the Lt. Governor, Chief Minister of Delhi, Commissioner of Police, Leader of Opposition, other functionaries, and independent members  . However, since its inception in 2011, the SSC has had only five meetings over   two years (January 2012 to December 2013). Since the formation of the current government of Delhi, the SSC has not been re-constituted. Active and involved participation of all the members in furtherance of the SSC’s mandate, is crucial for improved functioning of the Delhi Police.”

Ms. Daruwala concludes by saying "Resourcing and equipping the police, particularly by addressing shortfall across ranks and encouraging specialisation of police work like separation of law and order from investigation, are key for better policing. A representative and active State Security Commission can play a great role and create policy towards these kinds of changes. This is the way forward"

A cursory glance over the statistics of deliberations given in the report reveals that seven Member of Parliament (MP) of Delhi asked only 17 questions on the issues of crimes in the parliament during Budget’14, winter’14 and Budget’15 which by any standards is awfully low, with one MP having not bothered to ask even a single question on crime. Although women’s safety is an important subject for the capital, only two questions pertaining to this were asked by the Delhi MPs in Parliament. .

Looking at the situation of Delhi, Mehta concludes that, “A common man is not concerned who controls the Delhi police but only with family’s safety and security. The governments of the day should focus their debate more on solving the law and order issues of Delhi rather than indulge in political mudslinging. Consensus is one of the hallmarks of democracy so, both the governments should ensure that they consult and collaborate with each other and the police, rather than compete for control over the police. Those representing us either in the Parliament or the State Assembly should take cognisance of this and deliberate on creating a safe and secure Delhi.”

About PRAJA Foundation:

PRAJA was founded in 1997 by a group of eight Mumbaites with a vision to re-establish accountability and transparency in governance. These individuals were fuelled by a concern about a general lack of interest among the Citizens' in the local government. Praja aims to create awareness among the citizens, and therefore empower them though the knowledge.

PRAJA believes that the availability of information can go a long way towards simplifying people’s lives and evoking participation. This aims to ensure a holistic approach for ushering good governance must have buy in of our ideas from the elected representatives. At the same time, there should be tools and mechanisms which enable citizens to keep a close watch on the work done by their elected representatives. PRAJA's goals are simplifying people's lives, empowering the citizens and government with facts and creating instruments of change to improve the quality of life of citizens in India. PRAJA is committed to creating an accountable and efficient society through people's participation.

About Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)

CHRI is an independent, non partisan, international non-governmental organization headquartered in New Delhi.

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