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Absence of patrolling vans makes Delhi unsafe by night

Senior officials inform that the PCR force is crippled by a severe staff shortage. There are several vans in the city which are operated by unarmed cops. 

“A proposal regarding this was sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs around a year ago. Delhi Police had asked for 5000 new recruits in the Police Control Room (PCR) division, but the proposal hasn’t been sanctioned yet,” said Sundari Nanda, Special Commissioner of Police (operations). 

After the December 2012 gang rape incident, 370 new PCR vans were inducted into the existing fleet of 630, so that 1,000 total PCR vans could ply on the roads to act as saviours 24 hours a day, especially considering the soaring rate of crime against women in the city. And all those vans nearing condemnation were also replaced within one year.

“But on present date, a little less than 600 PCR vans patrol the Delhi roads during the night hours. It is so because, we don’t have the necessary workforce to run the 24-hour service at optimum capacity,” said Braham Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (PCR) Though, around 740 to 800 PCR vans are available for service during the first two shifts (from early morning till late evening) of the day, he added. Braham Singh further explained, one PCR van needs three personnel at a time – a driver, an in-charge and a gun-person. Which means, 1,000 PCR vans would need 3,000 
personnel, and the service to be run in a three-shift (24-hour) basis would need 9,000 personnel plus a 20 per cent leave reserve, taking the requirement close to 11,000 personnel ‘only for PCR vans’.

And the current strength of the entire PCR force – which includes PCR vans, the central police control room, the office (administrative) wing, line and training wing, the motor transport wing (for repairs and maintenance), and also certain aspects of the prestigious C4i surveillance network – is around 8,000.

Presently, there are 223 PCR vans without any gun-person. “When there is no gun-person, there is no police official to chase the criminals through the narrow lanes where the vans cannot enter. 
And a large number of such cases have been reported from the north-east and outer districts,” said a senior police official. He further said, it is a matter of life risk if the van in-charge decides to chase criminals without being backed by a gun-person.

Also, a large number of PCR van drivers are constable (executives), instead of being constable (drivers). These executives can be put to service elsewhere, taking into consideration the present law and order situation in the national capital, said Rajan Bhagat, Delhi Police PRO.

Special Commissioner of Police, Sundari Nanda, also emphasised that the service of PCR vans should be at its best during the night hours in order to counter the high number of crime taking place after dark, especially crime against women. 

“Additional workforce is the need of the hour. We can even go for online recruitment tests to make the process more convenient for both the applicants and the concerned authority,” she added.(To Be Concluded)
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