Jnanabharathi too large for effective policing, say cops

Jnanabharathi too large for effective policing, say cops

Staff strength at the police station unchanged since 1975

Police officers attached to the Jnanabharathi police station believe that the area under their jurisdiction is too large to handle.

A rising crime rate, a large forested area and the unchanged facilities and the number of staffers since 1975 are among the main issues they confront in their daily work.
As many as 406 cases were registered in the police station in 2009. The number rose to 464 in 2010 and dipped to 435 in 2011. This year, the station has recorded 346 cases till September 15.

Jnanabharathi police station probably has the widest jurisdiction in the City, said the officials. It is also one of the few police stations that oversee a dense forest patch, which is part of the Bangalore University campus. The police claimed they had been rendered helpless with such a huge jurisdictional area. The thick forest patch provided criminals cover and the problem of too few personnel have made effective policing harder, said the cops.

The police station was created in 1975 when Bangalore University started the Jnanabharathi campus. Since it was located on the outskirts of the City then, the local cops had been catering for the security of a minuscule population in the area. But with the City growing, the station’s jurisdiction extended to an eight-kilometre radius. It starts from Nagarabhavi and extends up to the Ramanagaram district border on the one side and from the coconut gardens to Vishweshwaraya Layout on the other. The Jnanabharathi Bangalore University campus, a wooded area, the NICE Road and the Outer Ring Road come under this jurisdiction.

Highway patrol

The major roads bring in a huge floating population to the area. But the area doesn’t have an independent traffic police station. The police are forced to put out night patrols on the Ring Road and the highway where robberies are common. This is usually done leaving the residential areas unguarded.

“In 1975, the area was almost a forest cover and thinly populated. But now, it is fast developing with many residential areas coming up along with gated communities. The demographics of the area have drastically changed. But what hasn’t changed is the policing,” said a senior officer. “The staff strength is the same as it was in 1975. How do they expect us to effectively police the area?” he asked.

Ironically, the university campus itself is a haven for criminals and anti-socials who use its forest cover to evade the law. The campus has witnessed many crimes in recent years.

A proposal to close some gates to the campus at night met with strong protests from both the people and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. The campus has one police outpost at its Mysore Road entrance, which the police say is insufficient for such a large area.

“One of the main problems is the dense forest cover the criminals take advantage of.

Moreover, all the roads on the university campus have no streetlights. We can’t block these roads,” explained a mid-ranking official at the station.

This is not a new problem. The largeness of the Jnanabharathi police station’s jurisdiction was first noticed in 1994 because of the influx of population. The City police had then proposed that the station be bifurcated and a new Annapoorneshwari Nagar police station be created with some areas of Jnanabharathi and also Tavarekere under its purview. Another proposal included assigning some responsibility to a new police station at Sunkadakatte to ease pressure on the area police. But the proposals are gathering dust in the Home department.

The police, however, said they would do whatever they could to keep the crime rate down. But they are still waiting for the two new stations and more personnel to be deployed in the area.

“We have proposed two new police stations - Annapoorneshwari Nagar and Sunkadakatte - to ease pressure on Jnanabharathi. But that hasn’t materialised,” said S N Siddaramappa, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West).

“We have been trying our best to control the crime rate in the area with the available resources. Actually, last year the station recorded a dip in the number of crimes compared with the previous year,” he said.

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