Under flak for the horrific gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl, Delhi Police on Friday said it has the “power, strength and propulsion” to bring about major changes in the way crime against women are dealt and enlisted a series of measures to ensure their safety.
At its annual conference overshadowed by last month’s case which outraged the nation, the city police also released crime figures for 2012 which showed a 1.75 per cent increase from 53,353 cases in 2011 to 54,287 cases.
Observing a two-minute silence in honour of the “brave girl” who died on December 29, Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar took pains to explain the “momentous” decisions that were taken in the aftermath of the incident.
“It is not as if such incidents have not happened. You have all heard of Ranga Billa in 1978, then the Dhaula Kuan gangrape case (2010) or even major incidents. It is the turning point in the history of Delhi Police.
“It is not only a watershed incident of this force but for the history of criminal justice system of India, if not the whole of India. It has the power, strength and propulsion to bring about major changes in the way offences against women are dealt with by police, prosecution, courts and even medical teams,” he said.
Quoting from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caeser, he said the society has been jolted with the “sheer rudeness” of the incidents and actions taken have to be channelised in the right direction.
The measures taken by police, Mr. Kumar said, include making women help desks at police stations functional round the clock, increasing lines of police helpline ‘100’ from 60 to 100 and registering of cases regarding women anywhere in the capital without bothering about the jurisdiction.
“Women should not be made waiting to register a complaint and their complaints should be recorded verbatim and a copy of that should be given to them. There should be no tutoring. There will be zero tolerance against eve-teasing,” he said.
Mr. Kumar said all district heads should be on patrolling till midnight and make sure that local police and PCR vans are deployed adequately to man the streets. “At barricades, there will be deployment of local police, PCR and traffic,” he said.
Asked whether he felt the need to resign taking moral responsibility, he said, “Not at all. Never. Because my work is to lead the force. I need to keep the morale of the force high. I have said that I am not a quitter. I will continue to lead the force till the government has faith in me.”
On punishing senior officers, including the commissioner, who could be held responsible for the gangrape, he said the Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Usha Mehra will look into such cases.
He also refused to join issues with lawyer Ram Jethmalani who called him names but in a lighter vein said, “Perhaps, (calling Kumar a notorious criminal) it may be right.”
Mr. Kumar discounted suggestions that VIP duty was causing a hindrance for maintaining law and order, saying such duty is being done by a separate wing which has a separate allotment of personnel.
“We have 7,000 personnel in the security wing. Out of this only 2,000 are for personal security. The other 5,000 are deployed in places like the Supreme Court, Delhi High Court and other major installations,” he said.
When pointed out about the claims of the friend of rape victim that there were lacunae in police response, Mr. Kumar said the male friend was their witness and “what matters is what he says in the court” and not in media.