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Delhi’s police stations to have 24×7 special teams to help victims of crime, says chief Asthana

In interaction with women journalists, Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana also spoke about women's safety, the rise in cyber crimes and the need for a law against snatching.

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New Delhi: Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said Wednesday that police stations across the national capital will have a separate investigating team of inspector-rank officers, available 24×7, to help victims of crime. 

“It was earlier difficult for complainants to lodge their grievances at police stations. Investigation also took time,” the commissioner said. “With a special unit in each police station now, things are getting smoother.” 

Asthana was speaking at an interaction organised by the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC), where apart from the changes in policing, he spoke on the rise in cyber crimes, and concerns over women’s safety. The officer has completed four months of his tenure as the capital’s police chief. 

Asthana also pointed out that he had appointed six women DCPs across districts, in a move to prioritise women safety. 

“Currently, apart from the six DCPs, we have eight female ACPs and nine SHOs. This has been done strategically in areas where we anticipate the need for more female officers to deal with crimes against women,” Asthana said. 

The commissioner also spoke on how special attention is being given to beat policing and merging of police control rooms (PCRs) with the local police. 

“The response time (SOS) of the police has decreased from seven to eight minutes (earlier) to 3 minutes 8 seconds now,” he said. 

Also read: Judge who slammed Delhi Police for ‘callous’ probe in Feb 2020 riot cases transferred

Integrated police booths 

Asthana also said that ‘integrated police booths’ will soon be facilitated in areas where there is lower connectivity and reach, to enhance women’s safety. 

“Integrated booths across the city will soon be functional. They will function in compliance with local police and traffic police,” Asthana said. 

On concerns over behavioral issues faced by complainants, especially in cases pertaining to sexual assault and domestic violence, the commissioner said all police personnel are being given ‘soft skill’ training to ensure that such matters are dealt with sensitively. 

He also released police data that showed 1,725 rape cases had been reported in the capital until 31 October. There have also been 3,117 cases of kidnapping of women, and 3,724 cases of cruelty by husbands or in-laws. 

Police analysis also revealed that of the total rape cases lodged, 46 per cent of accused include family members and friends, 11 per cent neighbours, 14 per cent extended family or relatives, 28 per cent other known persons, and 1 per cent unknown persons. 

Cyber crimes & snatching 

Speaking on the rise of cyber crimes, Asthana said 7,000 police personnel have undergone three months of training to tackle hi-tech offences. 

“We are aware that there has been a rampant increase in cyber crimes,” he said. “Dedicated cyber police stations will be set up in every district (15 police districts) to deal with such cases. They will be functional from 1 December.” 

The commissioner also acknowledged the need for a separate IPC section for snatching. Data shows 7,504 such cases until 31 October. 

Currently, snatching cases are registered by combining two IPC sections — 379 (theft) and 356 (use of criminal force) — and the offender is given a maximum punishment of three years for theft and two years for the use of criminal force.

“Other states like Haryana already have an amendment in IPC for snatching. Delhi Police also seeks to bring about similar amendments in the law to penalise such offenders,” Asthana said. 

The matter has been in talks since 2017 and was highlighted after a 25-year-old woman was murdered in a chain-snatching bid in March this year.

 (Edited by Arun Prashanth)

Also read: ‘Tried to influence witnesses’: HC rejects bail plea of juvenile in Gurugram school murder case


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