The Times of India |
NEW DELHI: There is a new ‘Kaptan Saheb’ in the districts. He is invariably from one of the IITs or top-notch medical and MBA schools. He solves age-old policing problems with heavy use of technology or launches innovative initiatives to prioritize ignored sectors using the lessons he learnt in his college. Thanks to poor size of IPS batches (as low as 15 officers) between 1999 and 2003, the police service today has more than 40% of its total strength made up of officers with less than 10 years of experience. Most of these young officers come from engineering, medical or MBA backgrounds. In fact, in the batches that passed out in 2011, 2012 and 2013, 70% of officers are either engineers, doctors or MBA. It is these officers who are turning out to be the force behind the Modi government’s concept of smart policing. Several of their policing initiatives – implemented in their respective districts with great results – have been picked up by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) for inclusion in the smart policing programme.
Some of these initiatives include specially designed software to quickly trace stolen vehicles and find owners of impounded ones in Karnataka, digitally connecting all police stations in a district for faster sharing of information on criminals in Gujarat, e-beat books that maintain database of all influential and opinion-making people in an area for quick dissemination of information during communal unrest in Delhi, a comprehensive drive to trace missing children in Ghaziabad and a unique engagement with Kashmiri youth through cricket that has brought incidents of stone-pelting in Pulwama to zero this year. In September 2014, DCP with Bangalore police Abhishek Goyal, a 2005 batch officer and an IIT-Delhi alumnus, played a key role in launch of a social media initiative to bring about seamless communication between police and public. The city police and various officers launched their Twitter handles to communicate with the public. In less than a year’s time, the total following of Bangalore police’s Twitter accounts is more than 3.50 lakh. Its Facebook page has over 6 lakh followers.
Social media is used to take feedback from people and channelize police resources accordingly, be it for traffic management or crime prevention. A research on how the system made police accountable has already won two Delhi researchers an award in the US. Goyal, who arrested suspected ISIS follower Mehdi Masrur Biswas, also launched a social media monitoring cell – using a software created to scan all social media platforms with key words related to terrorism. Goyal’s colleague in Mandya (Karnataka), Bhushan Borase, a 2009 batch IPS officer with an engineering degree from Pune University and MTech from NIT Jamshedpur, is not far behind. A vehicle database management project launched by Borase one-and-a-half years ago has helped restored 786 stolen and impounded vehicles rotting in various police stations to its rightful owners. Borase got a special software designed for this from the local engineering college. This has already bagged an award for the best e-governance initiative. “There are vehicles stolen from the jurisdiction of one police station lying in another in the same district for years. It’s because one police station does not know what the other is doing. After we brought this system, we were able to track a truck to its rightful owner after 15 years of its impounding,” said Borase.
Ghaziabad (UP) SP Dharmendra Yadav’s comprehensive programme to track missing children and restore them to their parents – called Operation Smile – has won a pat on the back from home minister Rajnath Singh, who has sought to turn it into a nationwide movement. A 2006 batch IPS officer, Yadav spent considerable energy in mapping missing children trends, training and sensitizing his constabulary and connecting various police stations for quick dissemination of information and traced 800 missing children in a matter of months. “The details of the programme have been sent to BPRD. But this job has been more satisfying than tracking criminals,” says Yadav. Further north, a national-level sportsman-turned-IPS officer is changing the face of his district through cricket. A 2008 batch IPS officer, Tejinder Singh is SP of Pulwama, a volatile district in south Kashmir both in terms of militancy and law and order. Singh came to the district in December 2013. Once a national level athlete, Singh saw sports as the right medium to channelize the restive energy of Valley youth. Organizing various junior and senior-level tournaments, Singh not only forged a relationship between police and local youth but also built a database of youngsters which he taps into for help whenever there is unrest in the district. The initiative has helped Singh bring down law and order incidents in his district from 18 in 2014 to zero in 2015. – Courtesy