A lock-up, PCR vans and a display board do not make a police station. Officers at Kashmere Gate police station can attest to this.
Instead, an SHO who mostly spends nights there, constables who diligently fill out daily reports, and staff with a polite attitude are what have helped make this police station the best in the city, as per the annual police station rankings issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The station, in fact, also made it to the list of top 10 among the 80 surveyed across the country.
Established in 1961, it is the oldest in the city after Sadar Bazar police station. And while it’s not the cleanest or most modern, the MHA does believe it’s the most efficient.
Surrounded by commercial establishments, Kashmere Gate police station faces Old Delhi railway station. Inside are three separate rooms for investigating officers painted in faded, cracking pink.
Visitors lined up outside the duty officer’s cabin can check out the latest anti-motor vehicle theft instruments along with their prices. There are three barracks on two floors, and a bathroom on every floor. The woman’s lock-up is boarded up with case material inside, while the men’s lock-up has two blankets in a corner and no inmate.
The MHA inspection team, however, was concerned only with day-to-day policing. The police station addresses complaints by a largely floating population — with over a lakh people landing in the area every day to make their way to the ISBT area. Theft is the most common complaint.
When the inspection team comprising Intelligence Bureau officers visited the police station, they spent three days going through copies of FIRs as well as other complaints. The teams also randomly called up some complainants from the FIRs and took their feedback.
The Station House Officer, inspector Devender Kumar Singh, is known to be a taskmaster. On most days, he doesn’t go home and instead sleeps inside his office, which has a restroom attached. “My wife is a teacher and she stays in Noida with my family. If I go home every day, it becomes difficult. My staff and I are a family. I am here every day except Sundays,” Singh said.
He has made a duty chart of the eight beats in his area. Every beat officer is asked about the number of tenant verifications conducted, complaints addressed, arrests made, etc.
This has helped three of his staffers earn the Police Commissioner’s reward for the ‘best beat officer’.
“I talk to the beat officers personally and sometimes congratulate them on the WhatsApp group we made. When a policeman is recognised, he performs,” said DCP (north) Nupur Prasad.
The police station also places emphasis on children addicted to drugs. They have rehabilitated 50 children in the past year after counselling at the police station.
Police also take the help of a theatre group to stage plays on drug abuse in the locality. “Our next aim is to somehow restrict deaths of the homeless. Last year, 286 homeless persons died in this area. We cannot let that happen,” Singh said.