Mobile teams for crime investigation

NEW DELHI, AUG. 30.In what could be a major step towards professionalising the Delhi police, the Union Home Ministry submitted before the Delhi High Court that in one month's time nine fully equipped mobile crime teams and 1,000 officers dedicated solely to investigation would be sanctioned. The submissions were made in two courts on Wednesday.

A submission was made by the Ministry before a Division Bench comprising Ms. Justice Usha Mehra and Mr. Justice C. K. Mahajan during a hearing of suo motu cognisance taken by the court six months ago about alleged pendency of cases with Delhi police due to lack of speedy investigation. The court had taken notice after a report published in a newspaper.

The Ministry submitted that a mobile crime team each would be given to the nine districts of Delhi. The team will comprise three assistant Sub-Inspectors, one finger print expert, a photographer along with a dog squad and will be equipped with all the gadgets required to collect evidence from the scene of crime.

The officers inducted in the teams would be trained in every aspect of investigation -- including expertise in collection of all the forensic and ballistic evidence from the scene. The teams will be pressed into service on the occurrence of a heinous or any other big crime. The idea primarily being to preserve maximum evidence from the scene of crime, which are often lost due to inept handling.

In another development, the Union Home Ministry also submitted in the court of Mr. Justice Anil Dev Singh and Mr. Justice R. S. Sodhi, that a batch of 1,000 police personnel of the Sub- Inspector level would be posted throughout Delhi dedicated only to investigation. The submission was in relation to a hearing in the PIL filed by Rajiv Awasthi.

The move will allow more than 100 police officials -- earmarked for investigations -- to nine districts on an average.

To ensure continuity and focus on investigations, these personnel would not be transferred for a certain number of years. However, after that period personnel looking into the law and order could also be brought into the dedicated unit. The personnel will be trained in all aspects of investigations.

After taking a suo motu cognisance in the matter the court had been consistently asking the Ministry why no steps towards separation of law and order and investigations were taken. Similar queries were being made by the court in a Public Interest Litigation filed in the court of Mr. Justice Anil Dev Singh and Mr. Justice R. S. Sodhi. Following the submission today, the courts observed that such a step would be of great service to the people.

The issue of separation of law and order from investigation has been in the air for long. Right from the recommendation of the National Police Commission in 1970s to the voluminous report submitted by the Bureau of Police Research and Development early this year, several bodies have suggested such a separation. After the BPRD submitted the report earlier this year, a three-member panel was set up by the Ministry to study the recommendations.