Cops gear up to prevent terror attacks, give effective policing

Delhi Police will need to be on their toes for Assembly polls, Barack Obama's visit

Delhi has been spared any terrorist attact in the last few years. Instead, Delhi Police have scored a few successes – like busting some modules of Indian Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Students Islamic Movement of India.

But officials say they cannot let their guard down in 2015. The year is starting with the visit of the US President Barack Obama to the capital – a just days ahead of that the interception of a suspicious Pakistani boat in the Arabian Sea has triggered an alarm.

Soon after the Obama visit, Delhi Police will also need to be on their toes for the Assembly elections. Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi says the force has been maintaining a close liaison with intelligence agencies and police forces of other states for intelligence gathering, developing comprehensive database on terrorists and organised criminals.

“At no point of time can we lower guard against various terrorist groups having bases both within and outside the country. We continuously take various preventive and detective measures in close coordination and cooperation with other intelligence agencies of the Centre and state for ensuring safety and security in the city,” said Bassi at the Delhi Police annual press conference.

Bassi says as Delhi is the capital, policing it is a complex, challenging and ever expanding responsibility. “I believe use of new methodologies and technologies can enhance our service delivery capacity. Consequently, my endeavour last year was to utilise the potential of emerging technologies,” he adds.

At present the force has three web and mobile applications, and another senior police officer says they will continue to adopt new technologies and use e-platforms in 2015.

“We will continue to bring in more apps to simplify the process and procedures for the convenience of the common people, and also for improving the public service delivery system of Delhi Police,” says Special Commissioner (Crime Branch) Taj Hassan.

Police also have several plans for modernisation, including a Distress Caller Location project, providing mobile phones to police control room van staff, and video cameras for PCR vans. Soon, the PCR vans will be fully digitalised and information on missing children, persons and suspicious persons will be available in the vehicles.

In the Distress Caller Location project, police expect to get the location of the person calling on PCR phone number 100. The location would be visible on the screen of the digitalised PCR vans so that the response is more focused. This is the first such project in the country, and if successful, it will take emergency response to new levels.

Currently, all communication with callers in distress are being made by the PCR van staff through their personal mobile phones and at their own cost.

Police also reckon that community participation is necessary for effective policing. So, a number of community policing schemes are being revived or launched by the force. Senior police officers feel this will help bridge the gap between the public and the police, and in winning people's cooperation for maintening law and order.

Recently, police also started an unique community policing scheme involving young adults between the age group of 18-35 called ‘Yuva Prahari’. The scheme is in partnership with the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

“Under the scheme, young adults, after attending a specially designed orientation programme by Delhi Police, will be part of the patrolling teams in the PCR vans operating in their area. They will assist the police team in handling the calls,” says Kishan Kumar, Special Commissioner of Police (Training).

Police expect the young volunteers to help in further improving the interface between the patrolling staff and the community. It will also positively channelise the energies of non-student young adults.

The volunteers will get week-long training, which will include basic first-aid, self-defence and an understanding of the functioning of the PCR.

The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, in which police and local residents partner to emhance security, has also been revived.. At present, the scheme is functional in 2,252 residential colonies and housing complexes, and it is now being extended.

Police plan to install 9,196 more CCTV cameras at 133 sites in the capital, in sync with the Surat-based Safe City Project.

The Union Home Ministry had sanctioned 5,500 CCTV cameras after the 2008 serial bomb blasts, but only 3,707 of them have been installed so far at 83 locations.

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