Delhi Police looking to phase out face-to-face interaction with complainants

New Delhi: With a fast-changing world post-COVID-19, the Delhi Police is now considering completely scrapping face-to-face interaction of police officials with complainants to minimise the risk of disease transmission. While this order is set to change policing in the Capital in unprecedented ways; cops here have already been asked to avoid arrests unless absolutely necessary in a bid to do the same and protect their personnel.

The Delhi Police has asked its officers to prepare a separate room in each district where complainants can interact with the concerned Deputy Commissioner of Police through video conferencing instead of being in the same physical space.

Sources aware of developments said that the Delhi Police Commissioner has called the initiative V-Complaint. During a meeting between Special CPs and Joint CPs of the force, the Delhi Police Commissioner is learnt to have said, "In the light of COVID-19 and restrictions on physical interaction with the complainants, there

should be a separate room in each district where a complainant may put forward his grievances before the district

DCP through video conferencing on NIC link."

He further said, "The same system should also be started at police station level where SHO and enquiry officer may also attend to the complainant through video conference." Currently, there are 209 police stations and 15 DCP offices across the Capital.

During the meeting, the police chief further asked officers to adopt Integrated Complaint Monitoring System. "In order to account for each and every complaint being received at various platforms and various offices, an Integrated Complaint Monitoring System will be adopted for monitoring and disposal of all the complaints. Vigilance unit will be the nodal agency," the top cop said. More than 1 lakh cases are pending with the Delhi Police, according to its own data.

According to the latest policing guidelines issued by the Delhi Police in light of the Coronavirus crisis, arrests or removal of an individual should also not be resorted to in a routine manner, but only in deserving cases.

"In non-bailable offences, the accused be produced before the court at the earliest. He should not be kept unnecessarily in lockups and if lodged inside lockup, social distancing must be ensured," the guidelines had prescribed. The guidelines, which came from the office of the Delhi Police Commissioner, said, "If the offence is bailable, bail may be granted at the spot so far as possible. Extensive use of 41 A CrPc be resorted to wherever applicable. Staff should avoid physical contact with the accused, victim to the extent possible."

Preventive arrests by the Delhi Police also saw a sharp decline since the outbreak of Coronavirus in the Capital. The latest data from the city police revealed that while more than 2,900 such arrests were made in the first two-and-a-half months of this year, only 647 preventive arrests were made in the time between March 16 to May 27, pointing towards a decline of over 76 per cent in preventive arrests after the COVID-19 outbreak.

In one of the recent cases, three persons who were arrested in a robbery case had tested positive after which the policemen involved in the operation were sent for home quarantine. More than half a dozen investigators who were probing Tablighi Markaz case and North East Delhi riots have now also contracted the disease.

While discussing on the topic related to public related services, CP Delhi said, "It was decided that public related services, processing and granting permissions within the district, the competent authority will be DCP district concerned and whenever jurisdiction of two districts or more is involved DCP (Headquarters) will be the processing and issuing authority."

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