PUNJAB POLICE MAKES MAJOR STRIDES IN CONTROLLING CRIME
Chandigarh, January 4:
A sharp decline in heinous crimes marked the year 2017 for the Punjab Police, which notched up major successes in maintaining law and order in the wake of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief’s conviction and arrest, besides busting as many as eight terror modules and solving the series of targeted killings that had rocked the state over the past two years.
Among the major highlights of the year was the busting of the terrorist module in Moga on November 8 and the arrest of five persons, which led to solving all the eight cases of targeted killing of activists/leaders of the organizations associated with the minority community, which had been pending over the past two years. Similarly, the arrest of Jaswant Singh @ Kala and six other associates in July 2017 has solved three killings, including those of Paras Moni, Gurdev Singh of Dera Sacha Sauda, and Baba Lakha Singh @ Pakhandi Baba in Hanumangarh, Rajasthan.
From murder and attempt to murder, to kidnapping/abduction, robbery, dacoity etc., crime figures under all major heads witnessed a major decrease during the year, as the police raised the bar multifold following the installation of the new government, under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh, in March 20.
Major breakthroughs were also made in tackling cases under the local and special Acts, particularly the NDPS Act. The police force also made major strides in building its technological edge and infrastructure, and improving the traffic systems in the state.
The Punjab Police has also made significant gains in implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking System (CCTNS) by completing 24 Core Application Software Modules, integrating 08 Citizen Services being provided by Saanjh, providing hardware to all Police Stations, starting online registration of FIR and general diary, and digitization of last 10 years’ FIRs of all Police Stations in the state.
Upgradation of its counter-terrorism capacity is also high on its plans for 2018, as the police is all set to operationalize a crack force Special Operation Group (SOG), which would be trained and equipped to be at par with the best special forces in the world.
Also on the anvil during 2018 is implementation of the National Emergency Response System (NERS) Project, with the adoption of Centralized Call Taking and Distributed Dispatch, with a single Emergency Response No.112. The entire call taking would be at a Public Safety Answering Point (P-SAP) in Mohali with 60 work-stations, and 12 Police Control Rooms with 900 emergency vehicles, which is expected to be operational in April 2018.
Cognizant of the growing threat of radicalization taking place on social media, the Punjab Police is continuously augmenting its presence on such media. It also intends to have its own Face-book, Twitter and Youtube accounts to interact directly with the citizens, give timely responses to queries, provide a complaint redressal mechanism, and showcase the positive work done by the police. These accounts are all set to be launched this month.
Personnel management is another top priority for 2018, when nearly 4000 vacancies are expected to be filled up by direct recruitment, with focus on conducting recruitment every year to fill vacancies accruing through retirement and expansion.
Punjab Police would continue its focus on women, with organization of Zonal Women Conferences starting from 4 January 2018 to evolve a dedicated action plan which would be unveiled on March 8 at a state level function. Police personnel are being trained in showing the required gender – sensitivity in interacting with women, particularly victims of crime. There would be effective and prompt response on complaints of sexual assault/harassment, domestic violence, eve teasing and obscene calls/texts.
Re-dedicating itself to the maintenance of peace, national security and public order in the state in 2018, the Punjab Police will continue to strive to enhance its capacity in counter terrorism, tackling in organized crime and to upgrade its technological capabilities. It will gear itself to meet the challenges of modern policing by being accessible, sensitive and people friendly, and work in a fair and professional manner.
Giving details of the achievements of 2017 and plans for 2018, DGP Suresh Arora said peace, communal harmony and law & order were successfully maintained after the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on August 25 in Panchkula. This was ensured through massive deployment of state and central armed police forces, preventive measures, gearing up of the entire police machinery, and quick and clear responses to initial challenges.
During the year, Punjab Police launched a sustained drive against terrorist elements and busted 08 terrorist modules with the arrest of 47 persons and seizure of 43 weapons, including automatic weapons. Nearly 21 foreign handlers involved in providing logistical and financial support to these terrorist modules have also been identified. These modules were mainly being operationalised, networked and financed by operatives based in Europe, North America and Middle East, and were aimed at targeted killings/assassinations of members of organizations associated with the minority community, in order to spread communal disharmony and revive terrorism in Punjab.
The recent busting of the terrorist module in Moga on November 8 and the arrest of five persons has solved all the eight cases of targeted killing of activists/leaders of the organizations associated with the minority community. Similarly, the arrest of Jaswant Singh @ Kala and six other associates in July 2017 has solved three killings, including those of Paras Moni, Gurdev Singh of Dera Sacha Sauda, and Baba Lakha Singh @ Pakhandi Baba in Hanumangarh, Rajasthan.
Revealing the comparative figures relating to heinous crimes in 2016 and 2017, the DGP said murders came down to 656 from 771, attempt to murder to 795 from 862, kidnapping/abduction to 1462 from 1591, robbery to 116 from 147, and dacoity to 26 from 43.
As far as the cases under NDPS Act were concerned, registered FIRs had more than doubled to 12,309 from 5,906 in 2016, while Heroin recovery had increased to 186.865 kg. from 139.596 kg. Recoveries of Poppy Husk (43,734.5 kg against 33,189 kg in 2016) and Opium (447.56 kg against 354.68 kg in 2016) also showed a significant increase.
The police force, which is also credited with peaceful conduct of the Vidhan Sabha, Gurdaspur bypoll and MC elections held during the year, maintained pressure on organized criminal gangs, resulting in the arrest of as many as 408 gangsters, including A category criminals like Gurpreet Sekhon, Kulpreet Singh @ Neeta Deol, Gurbax Singh Sewawala, Aman Dhotian, Jaspreet Singh @ Jampi Don, Kamaljit Singh @ Bunty and others.
Sharing details, Mr Arora disclosed that 149 snatched vehicles, 183 firearms and Rs.1.5 crore cash were recovered from organized criminal gangs. A mobile application having dossiers of more than 80,000 active criminals with artificial intelligence and face detection system had been operationalized, he said, adding that court permissions had been obtained for conducting 159 trials through video-conferencing in organized crime cases.
Given the state’s sensitivity resulting from being located along the international border with Pakistan, a lot of effort was made during the year to strengthen the second line of defence to thwart cross-border terrorism by providing equipment and vehicles to the border districts, including BP morchas, thermal imagers, BP Tractors, body protectors, micro UAVs etc. Anti-riot capacity has also been strengthened, while acquisition of water cannons and armored carriers is under progress.
The thrust on traffic improvement also yielded results, with Punjab recording the maximum decrease of 14% road accidents among all states in the country during 2017, as per the Road Safety Committee, appointed by the Supreme Court. Punjab Police now plans to deploy body cameras on traffic personnel, make highway patrol functional, introduce e-challaning and focus on traffic education to further strengthen the traffic systems.