The suggestion made recently by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to remove the presence of uniformed police officers in Delhi from “non-core” areas of duty and deployment of private agencies for conducting such duties, is being frowned upon by several senior police officers within the Delhi Police.
A senior Delhi police officer, who did not wish to be named, told The Sunday Guardian, “There is nothing called ‘non-core’ and ‘core’ areas of duty within any uniformed force. Everything is core, important and sensitive. We cannot involve private agencies to deal with sensitive and crucial information. The police force is trained in a certain manner; they are disciplined and cannot be compromised by roping in private agencies to do some jobs.”
However, according to sources in the Delhi Police, the “non-core” area of duty that is being looked into could comprise duties such as data entry, operation of computers, driving, and personnel involved in office works, while “core” areas of duty could involve all duties that involve the maintenance of law and order.
Even this segregation is being criticised by many senior police officials as they believe that this would compromise with the safety and security of information and the movement of senior police officials.
A senior Delhi Police officer told this correspondent, “How can data entry, operations of computers and driving duty be given to private agencies? They comprise several crucial secret data and information which could be easily leaked if not handled by trained and disciplined people, thus compromising on investigations and other important works. Even driving is a very crucial task in the police force; they have all the information of movement of police officials. If a raid is planned and this information is leaked, it would be compromised.”
However, Maxwell Pereira, former Special Commissioner of Police, believes that this idea is a “feasible” one. Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, he said, “There are several non-core activities that the police force is involved in, like guarding of houses of VIPs, escorting prisoners, removal of encroachments and even removal of carcasses from the streets. These are not the duties of police personnel. Police is meant for the prevention and detection of crime and if they are only involved in such duties, then policing would become much better in this country. The idea floated by the MHA seems to be good, but it only looks like a gimmick because even they (the Ministry) and senior police officials would not like their police security and such duties being assigned to civilians.”
The suggestion made by Rajiv Gauba, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, at a high-level meeting in North Block, Delhi, attended by Secretary (Expenditure) Ajay Narayan Jha, comes after the Delhi Police Commissioner, Amulya Patnaik, requested for additional posts to deal with the acute shortage of manpower in Delhi police.
The Delhi Police is currently facing a manpower crunch of over 12,000 police personnel, which includes a shortage of over 7,000 constables, 3,279 head constables and some 1,500 sub-inspectors, apart from 183 posts that are vacant from the rank of Inspectors to Joint CPs.
However, the MHA has cleared the proposal to recruit 3,000 police personnel in Delhi Police, and the requested posts for 12,000 personnel will be filled in four phases over the next few years, according to sources.
Sources in the police have said that they have not yet received any official communication in this regard and once the official communication from the Ministry reaches the Police Headquarters in Delhi, they would start the process of recruitment.