IF THERE is one thing that helped the Chandigarh Police salvage some of its image in the Varnika Kundu incident, it was the quick response by the Police Control Room (PCR).
The first responder at PCR’s 100, Constable Ajay Kumar, was able to give Kundu the confidence that he was taking her call seriously, and from there on, the series of actions taken by others in PCR, led to timely apprehension of both accused Vikas Barala, son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, and his friend Ashish Kumar on that August 4 night.
Situated on the fifth floor in the building of Chandigarh Police headquarters, Sector 9, the PCR is considered to be one of the best. It is equipped with modern and powerful systems that help it keep track of events in the entire region.
The PCR is divided into four sections and it functions in two shifts: day and night.
One section is that of the duty officer, who oversees the entire operation; then there are telephone operators, who receive calls on the five lines for 100; a dispatcher ward that sends PCR vehicles to attend to complaints; and monitoring system to track the movements of PCR vehicles through Global Positioning System (GPS).
About 40 police personnel under the supervision of one duty officer (DO) and additional duty officer (ADO) work at the PCR in two shifts 24×7. The operators who receive calls on 100 also include policewomen. The control room is divided into three divisions: Central, East and South.
When Ajay Kumar received Varnika’s distress call, he forwarded it to the East Division through the dispatcher wing of PCR.
SSP (UT) Eish Singhal said, “The dispatcher ward of control room dispatches PCR vehicles according to the division of the spot. In Varnika’s case, the distress call was from East Division, so PCR Gypsies of East Division were instructed to reach the spot and trail the white Tata Safari.”
Singhal said on average, PCR received more than 300 calls every night and these calls were distress calls, road accident calls, and related to quarrelling, ruckus and thefts. “Our response time to every call is three to five minutes.” It also helps the police when the caller gives as many details as possible, as Varnika managed to do.
It was around 12.35 am when Ajay responded to Varnika’s call. “She also gave the registration number of the white Tata Safari, whose two occupants were harassing her. Initially, I advised the woman to stop her car on the road and I will send police Gypsies to her but when she replied that she did not want to stop, I told her to move further calmly. In the meantime, I flashed the registration number of Safari to the dispatcher ward of control room.
“Within six minutes, I received a response from a PCR vehicle that Tata Safari riders were nabbed and I conveyed this to the woman, who had reached her house by that time,” said Ajay.
The Chandigarh Police has a fleet of about 90 PCR cars and 42 motorcycles.
How 100 number works
Whenever you call 100, the emergency number of police, the call is attended to by operators who take down the complaint. Even as the complaint is being recorded, the operator quickly locates the nearest PCR vehicle according to your location. The message is conveyed to that PCR through radio communication. Every PCR is allotted a particular area of Chandigarh. Another responsibility of these cars is to patrol their defined area or be stationed at roundabouts, red lights, market areas or other strategic points. The 90 PCR cars are divided into all three divisions in equal numbers.