Lessons to be learnt from the recent kidnap incident, says L. Srikrishna

The alleged kidnap of a seven-year-old girl from her school in Anna Nagar a few days ago has again brought to the fore the need for tightening the security mechanism at educational institutions, according to police officers.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Central) P. Balasubramanian and some of the officers, who were part of the investigation into the kidnap of the girl, Sufiya Nureen, said the incident exposed certain loopholes from a safety point of view.

A police officer said that the school managements should maintain a register of children who used school/own transport. If the children are dropped and picked up by relatives/domestic help, the school must, at random, conduct enquiries and make note. This would, to a large extent, help the school authorities prevent strangers, such as the accused in the kidnap case, from gaining entry into the institutions and take away the children.

Schools that have more than one entry or exit points should either deploy watch and ward staff at all the points or permit children to leave the campus through only one gate, he added.

This must be made mandatory, particularly for children studying in pre-nursery and primary classes, the officer said.

The respective class teachers should point out any negligence/carelessness on the part of parents, who had arranged to pick up their wards on their own. In case of working couples, who could not drop/pick up their wards, it may be safe to opt for school transport as some times the private transport arrangement may be risky, an officer said.

Another aspect that came to the fore during investigation in the case was the lapses in the process of sale of pre-paid mobile phone connections through private stores. According to a police officer, the accused made a call to the girl’s father from a mobile which was registered in someone else’s name.

The address verification was also not conducted properly.