‘Res­i­dents can write to me if a cop asks for bribe; sys­tem has be­come more trans­par­ent’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

As se­nior IPS of­fi­cer Prab­hat Ran­jan com­pletes 10 months as po­lice com­mis­sioner of Navi Mum­bai this week, he talks to HT about his ex­pe­ri­ences, achieve­ments and fu­ture plans as top cop of the satel­lite city.

As po­lice com­mis­sioner of Navi Mum­bai, what ar­eas did you mostly con­cen­trate on in the past 10 months?

Af­ter re­sum­ing of­fice, I an­a­lysed the city’s over­all law and or­der sit­u­a­tion and the crime sce­nario, which helped me zero in on four ar­eas that needed at­ten­tion. Th­ese are im­prov­ing the ser­vice de­liv­ery sys­tem, re­duc­ing street crimes, in­creas­ing con­vic­tion rates and cre­at­ing aware­ness about ter­ror-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties. We have put in max­i­mum ef­forts to achieve th­ese and have suc­ceeded.

What mea­sures have you taken to im­prove the ser­vice?

We roped in two ex­ter­nal agen­cies, which con­ducted a sur­vey in all the po­lice sta­tions un­der our com­mis­sion­er­ate. The agen­cies sent their own per­son­nel pos­ing as com­mon citizens to get a first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence of po­lice sta­tions. The sur­vey re­vealed that none of our of­fi­cials asked for bribe to reg­is­ter a com­plaint or an­swer their queries. The treat­ment they re­ceived from our of­fi­cials was not bad, but not ex­cel­lent ei­ther. Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, our of­fi­cials send peo­ple from one po­lice sta­tion to an­other for dif­fer­ent works. So, we are train­ing our of­fi­cials on how they should treat peo­ple who ap­proach the po­lice sta­tion. The of­fi­cials hold­ing charge of the sta­tion (thane amal­dars) play a cru­cial role in this re­gard. So, we are train­ing se­niors as well as the ju­nior of­fi­cers.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing the agen­cies’ re­ports, do you have some other im­prove­ment plans in mind?

We are plan­ning to in­tro­duce a feed­back mech­a­nism. The mech­a­nism will com­prise three stages. In the first stage, peo­ple will have to fill a feed­back form at the po­lice sta­tion. In the sec­ond stage, a cen­tralised team of se­nior of­fi­cers may con­tact the peo­ple or vice versa to know their re­ac­tions. In the third stage, we may hire an ex­ter­nal agency to strengthen the griev­ance re­dres­sal sys­tem.

Do you think you have achieved suc­cess in re­duc­ing street crimes and in­creas­ing the con­vic­tion

rates?

Yes, we did. We have been suc­cess­ful in both th­ese cases. We suc­ceeded in re­duc­ing chain snatch­ing cases by 33% last year. While 297 chain-snatch­ing cases were re­ported in 2014, only 196 cases were re­ported in 2015. In 2014, our con­vic­tion rate was just 54.05%. It in­creased to 60.90% in 2015. In the first three months this year, our con­vic­tion rate is 61.60%.

What fac­tors do you think have helped re­duce street crimes?

The closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion (CCTV) cam­eras in­stalled in the city have played a ma­jor role here. With the help of the in­tel­li­gence in­puts, we busted a few gangs that helped solve max­i­mum cases. With the ar­rest of one gang, we de­tected 40-odd chain snatch­ing cases. We are also shar­ing in­puts from Thane and Mum­bai po­lice and are try­ing to keep of­fend­ers in jail for long. In one such ef­fort, we ap­plied MCOCA charges on a gang of chain snatch­ers.

Cre­at­ing aware­ness about ter­ror­ism was one of your pri­or­i­ties.

When it comes to ter­ror­ism, Mum­bai is vul­ner­a­ble. As a city ad­ja­cent to Mum­bai, we need to stay alert to pre­vent be­com­ing a tar­get. We have spread aware­ness among women and se­nior citizens, who are at home most of the time. We sen­si­tised in­hab­i­tants of coastal vil­lages by or­gan­is­ing pro­grammes.

You said that safety of women and cre­at­ing a sense of se­cu­rity are es­sen­tial for ef­fec­tive polic­ing. Any step in that di­rec­tion?

Navi Mum­bai of­fers peo­ple of all ages a peace­ful city to live in. Women roam around the streets late in the evenings, which is a rare sight in many other cities across the country. Apart from in­creas­ing po­lice pres­ence on roads, we took some mea­sures to en­sure that women can in­ter­act with us with­out hes­i­ta­tion. Some of our mea­sures in­clude: be­ing avail­able on net­work­ing sites, launch­ing our own web­site, twit­ter ac­count, mo­bile app and What­sApp helpline num­ber. I re­ceive a num­ber of mails from res­i­dents ev­ery day and for­ward them to the de­part­ment con­cerned to at­tend to the is­sues. Peo­ple can write to me if any po­lice­man asks for bribe. The en­tire sys­tem has be­come more trans­par­ent.

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