The Punjab government today ordered immediate steps to fill the backlog of vacancies in the state police and has decided to separate the investigation duties of personnel from their law and order function. The decisions are part of the series of reforms initiated by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to infuse new energy in the police force and improve the law and order situation in the state, according to an official spokesperson.
The chief minister has issued instructions to the home department to start the recruitment process on urgent basis and also to take up the matter of separation of duties by separating cadres on priority and complete the process by November 30. With no recruitment having taken place in the prisons department for a long time, Amarinder Singh, who is also the home minister, has now put filling of vacancies in jails on the top of the agenda for his department.
He has ordered recruitment of 1,200 jail staff members, the spokesperson said. The chief minister has also approved recruitment of 2,000 constables in the Punjab Police in the current year, followed by an equal number to be recruited every year, for the next four years.
He has also ordered appointment of constables and sub-inspectors in the intelligence wing to ensure that the department is fully geared to meet the new challenges posed by radicals and criminal gangs in the state, he said. The chief minister, chairing a law and order meeting with top police officials two days back, had stressed the need to keep the force always up to date in terms of manpower and equipment.
The absence of a proper policy to induct personnel in the police ranks on a regular basis had, over the years, adversely impacted the effectiveness of the police forces, he was told at the meeting, the spokesperson said. Under the new system, separate Investigation Units (IUs) and Pairvi Units (PUs) have been envisaged up to the level of police stations.
While the IUs would be solely dedicated to serious and heinous crimes to ensure that the investigation of such cases is completed in a time-bound manner, the ‘Pairvi Units’ will ensure proper presentation and contesting of criminal cases before the trial courts, he said. The move will also enable smooth collection of credible evidence by providing the IO with professional and high-level expertise in the same, the spokesperson said.
It has been decided that the IUs will be properly monitored to ascertain if the investigation in a particular case is being carried out in a proper manner or not, he said. The separation of the two functions will also help in ensuring high conviction rate by infusing professionalism in investigation, and will also create a better police-public interface, the spokesperson said.
At present, the conviction rate in heinous cases such as rape, kidnapping/abduction, robbery and dacoity is in the range of 15-30 per cent, while the overall conviction rate for all crimes, including those under the Excise Act as well as minor cases, stands at around 49.5 per cent. With the creation of a separate IU, this is expected to go up significantly, the spokesperson said.
The separation of duties is also in line with a Supreme Court directive and Punjab & Haryana High Court’s orders in this regard, the spokesman added.