Capital defenceless against crime: Former Delhi top cop

In a belated but startling disclosure, former Delhi Police commissioner B K Gupta on Wednesday said the country’s capital neither has electronic surveillance systems such as CCTV cameras in place to deter criminals nor the city police have adequate forensic science support to nail criminals.

Ironically, Gupta, before his retirement on June 30, had always claimed that Delhi Police were the most well-equipped in the country, fully prepared to thwart any terrorist attack in the city.

“It is not the number of cops that matter. In fact, we have to have less feet on the ground in terms of numbers, but more of high-tech equipment that supports the police force in the discharge of its duties,” said Gupta at a session on ‘Coping with rising crime in cities’ at the FICCI conference on ‘Homeland Security 2012.’ He lamented that even after the Commonwealth Games in October 2011, Delhi did not have a proper and effective CCTV facility to check terrorism and other crimes.

The former top cop reminded the audience that progress with regards to installation of CCTV cameras is being made on a piecemeal basis and compared to South Mumbai, which has over 5,000 cameras, Delhi is yet to make a beginning. Gupta’s sourness regarding CCTV cameras is understandable.

When he took over the reign of city police from Y S Dadwal on November 10, 2010, Gupta had announced that his priority would be ensure that CCTV cameras were installed at all the 27 entry-exit points of the city. However, not much progress could be made on this front due to bureaucratic red-tapism.

Cristina Albertin, South Asia representative of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, pointed out that mega-cities need to plan and develop use of space in an integrated way to tackle infrastructure, housing, transport and other social and economic problems.

“Greater attention is needed to be given to redevelopment of public space with a view to create safe and accessible places for interaction and recreation,” Albertin said.

She pointed out that the high-crime cities like São Paulo, Medellin and Bogota demonstrated the importance of combining strong leadership, efficient funding, effective civil society participation, good governance models and utilising technological innovations.

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