Commissioner of Police J.K. Tripathy defends the decision
Amid controversies of the tenant enumeration process infringing on the residents' privacy, Commissioner of Police J.K. Tripathy terms it a “crime prevention measure” taken to empower police personnel and provide them with adequate data.
The whole exercise is enormous but a ‘necessity of current days,' that needs to be implemented and enforced in all areas, he says. “Landlords from now will have to know details about the people they rent out their houses to. They can no longer cite excuses that they keep changing or that it is difficult,” he said.
Chennai Police will soon come out with anadvanced software that will store all the information compiled on tenants. The data will be collated centrally, but will be accessible to all police stations. “This is an attempt provide policemen with useful tools and data which would help them in their investigation,” said Mr. Tripathy.
Residents should not only comply with the procedure but should also ensure their friends and neighbours do, and if they don't, inform the police, he said.
“It is not something we have come up with all of a sudden. We have been thinking of introducing this for a long time now. Many other cities already have it.”
“There is no threat to privacy and this is no surveillance,” Mr. Tripathy said. “Only about 5-10 per cent of the total data can be subject to verification. The point is not to probe into peoples' lives or suspect anyone who is a tenant, but only ensure the information is at hand to be used when necessary,” he said. The intent is to use the information for analysis based of suspicion and take action when needed, he said.
Where landlords reside outside the city, they can download the form from the State police website and send filled-in forms by post. The option is also open to landlords residing in the city, the Commissioner added. However, a mechanism to enforce it in cases of sub-let houses, pay guest accommodation and serviced apartments will be devised soon, he said.
But will these extend to a check on the number of visitors too? “We are not here to harass people. If there is nothing suspicious, residents need not worry. The intention is just to discourage the misuse of tenant space for anti-social activities,” he said.
Though the earlier announcement had specified a deadline of May 1 for the process, the commissioner clarified that the police is really not too stringent on it.
“Police cannot be expected to everything. We request people to co-operate with us. This will only make our city safer.”
But, how safe will the data be and would the police ensure it will not be misused? “The police are there to prevent crime. Residents need to trust them,” he said.
“If there is any grievance or harassment, people can always call 100 and complain. We will soon have an online grievance redress mechanism for this purpose. Our website will also be made interactive in a few months, giving residents more options to voice their concerns.”