Very recently, Patil came under severe criticism from various quarters in the wake of the state home department seizing the powers of the state police for promotions and postings of officers of the rank of Assistant Police Inspector (API) and Police Inspector (PI). The state police administration decided on the promotions and postings of APIs and PIs in Maharashtra till 31 July 2012, but with effect from 1 August 2012, the home department will decide on the promotions and postings of APIs and PIs.
The contention of former and serving senior police officers is that the home department seizing the power of the DGP and Commissioners of Police in the state will have an adverse effect on the performance of the police in the state. Political patronage and undue interference in police functioning will lead to indiscipline and anarchy in the force. Even today police officers manage to pull the right strings to get the choicest of postings and circumvent disciplinary action by bringing in political influence at the senior administrative level.
The police officers claimed that today the levels of discipline have dropped because erring officers use political influence to eliminate the scope of senior police officials initiating departmental action against these officials. In most cases, communal flare ups that have been sparked off due to a minor altercation between individuals over petty issues are in areas where the police officer in-charge has been posted invariably on political recommendation or enjoys political patronage in the higher echelons of power. Therefore, controlling the crime rate and maintaining law and order becomes difficult since the erring police officer, who is a political appointee, is either in-experienced or inefficient in handling the situation. Also, initiating departmental action thereafter or hauling up the political appointee becomes difficult since the police administration comes under political pressure to defer action against the erring officer. Hence, the home department deciding on the promotion and postings of APIs and PIs will adversely affecting policing in the state.
Patil’s much-hyped Rs 1000-crore hi-tech closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and sensors project which were a part of the homeland security plan envisaged by the government to protect the city against terror attacks as well as tackling serious organised crimes in the city, has failed to stir enthusiasm among the local police in Mumbai.
Further, Patil’s much-hyped Rs 1000-crore hi-tech closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and sensors project which were a part of the homeland security plan envisaged by the government to protect the city against terror attacks as well as tackling serious organised crimes in the city, has failed to stir enthusiasm among the local police in Mumbai.
The Maharashtra government had last month finally awarded the Rs 1000-crore tender to install the closed circuit cameras and sensors in the city. The Reliance Industries Limited-backed consortium led by Mumbai-based Allied Digital Services (ADSL), (MTNL was a part of the consortium). However, due to some undisclosed differences arising in the consortium, the project implementation has been delayed.
A score of middle-level police officers operating at the local level charge the government of hoodwinking the public into believing that CCTV cameras and sensors installed in locations vulnerable to terror strikes is a fool-proof shield against terror attacks.
Firstly, the hi-tech CCTV cameras and sensors will be placed in 5000 locations identified by the local police in the commissionerate, based on the perception of the local police officers that a particular spot in their beat is vulnerable to a terror strike or serious crimes like chain snatching, car lifting, gangland killing and dacoity. Local police had submitted a list to the police commissioner through the regional Additional Commissioner of Police who had struck off some of the locations in the lists as he could not exceed the quota allotted to the region, before submitting the list to the police chief.
The recent Pune blasts amply proved that terrorists had conducted a recce of the targets and struck in locations where CCTV cameras were not fitted. Hence, the identities of the suspects who executed the blasts could not be established. Even the CCTV cameras in the other areas were of no help in capturing the images of the terror suspects fleeing from the scene of the attack, as they were not centrally linked to the main control room of the Pune police. Therefore, investigators in Pune are searching for a needle in the haystack by trying to link the footage captured on CCTV cameras placed all over the city. In Mumbai too, the police will face a similar fate if the CCTV camera network is not centrally linked to the police control rooms in the city.
Next comes the question of who will maintain the CCTV cameras in the local jurisdictions. Whether it will be the state government or police headquarters or the local police attend to the breakdowns in the local areas, is not clear. A Senior Inspector of Police (SI ) disclosed that every police station in the commissionerate is cash-strapped and hence the police administration expecting the local police to raise financial resources for maintenance of the CCTV cameras and sensors in their jurisdiction is unreasonable.
Stationing police personnel in every location where the CCTV cameras are mounted in the area to prevent miscreants and criminals from vandalising this equipment is absolutely impossible. Criminals are known for damaging CCTV cameras before they strike in the area. There are a number of issues which the police administration has not looked into before deciding on opting for this system.