Preventive arrests witness more than 76% decline amid lockdown

new delhi: Preventive arrests by the Delhi Police have seen a unique and sharp decline since the outbreak of Coronavirus in the Capital. 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 over 76 per cent decline in preventive arrests.

Sources said one of the districts had made the highest number of preventive arrests which was 427 whereas another district has made 110 arrests. There were also districts which were limited such preventive arrests to single-digit figures. "One of the districts had made 113 arrests till March 15 but since May 16 only six arrests were made. Same was the story of another district which had made over 200 arrests and after COVID-19, only 16 arrests were made," the data showed.

According to the latest policing guidelines issued by the Delhi Police in light of the Coronavirus crisis, arrests or removal (under section 65 DP Act) of an individual should 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 if he or she is no longer required for investigation purpose. He should not be kept unnecessarily in lockups and if lodged inside lockup, social distancing must be ensured," guidelines had prescribed.

The guidelines 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. The investigating officer should maintain six feet distance while interacting with the complainant. He should spend only the minimum required time at the spot."

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus has been given on decongesting prisons and preventing the spread of COVID-19 there. Till May 5, 3,573 undertrial prisoners (UTPs) and convicts have been released on interim bail or parole or remission of sentence. So far, 16 inmates were tested positive for the virus while four prison officials were also affected by COVID-19. Three officials and six inmates have recovered.

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