Service providers will come under new rules on maintaining records of their clients, writes Biju Govind.

Service providers of all categories will come under new rules making it mandatory for them to maintain records of their clients and to submit these to investigators in a timely fashion when called for.

A committee to review the police Act, chaired by Director-General of Police Jacob Punnoose, has framed the rules, now with the State government for approval. Phone companies, hotels, Internet service providers, hospitals, laboratories, taxi services, rental services, financial institutions and so on will be bound by the rules.

Accurate records proving the identity of clients, along with details of the services provided, will have to be maintained, a senior police officer said. The service providers should furnish details, along with documents, to police officers investigating a case or inquiring into an incident within a stipulated time.

Officers investigating cases usually find it difficult to get details from service providers. The new rules will help investigators obtain information fast. The State government will consider a proposal to empower the Superintendent of Police or the Commissioner of Police to give a verification certificate to any class or category of service providers for starting any service.

The police will verify the antecedents of the proprietors and the employees. The government will keep a record of their activities from time to time, the officer said. The police will keep information gathered from the service providers about any person confidential. Information will be disclosed to the public if necessary to prevent a crime.

Another proposed rule is reporting about stolen, missing or wanted property. If any stolen articles come into the possession of service providers, they will be required to furnish details to the investigators. Usually, merchants, pawnbrokers, dealers and repairers do not check whether the items they obtain from people is genuine or not.

The proposal seeks them to maintain the address of persons who leave articles with their firms. The service providers should alert the police station if they suspect that stolen articles have been left at their firm. They will also have the right to detain any person offering such articles till the arrival of the police.