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Friday, May 29, 2020

In times of Covid, new policing rules

The 11-page circular issued Wednesday has details on general precautions at police stations, micro-grouping, beat patrolling, crowd control, protest sites, crime and hospital spot visits, handling bodies, arresting protocol, and role of SHOs and ACPs.

Written by Somya Lakhani | New Delhi | Published: May 20, 2020 11:25:47 pm
Delhi Police, Delhi Police rules, Delhi Police coronavirus, Delhi Police COVID-19, Delhi news, city news, Indian Express Police on duty in East Delhi. (Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

From maintaining six feet distance from the victim at a crime spot, taking precautions while handling dead bodies, sanitising weapons, granting bail for a bailable offence at the spot as far as possible – Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava issued fresh guidelines to the force to preventing the spread of Covid-19.

The 11-page circular issued Wednesday has details on general precautions at police stations, micro-grouping, beat patrolling, crowd control, protest sites, crime and hospital spot visits, handling bodies, arresting protocol, and role of SHOs and ACPs.

As per the circular, at police stations, all personnel should wear masks and gloves, and disinfect weapons, anti-riot gear, blinkers, dragon light, computers and printers.

“Buildings, furniture, toilets, kitchens, messes as well as vehicles must be cleaned thoroughly using sanitisers twice a day… Steam/electric press should be used to disinfect uniforms and various documents,” says the circular.

Point two of the circular is on “micro-grouping of police station staff, and how there should be least contact between different duty groups to prevent infection. The circular says that “each group should be appropriately rotated in a manner that 15-20% staff is always on quarantine for a fixed period and fresh and available for duties any time as per requirement”.

The circular says that since the sentry is the first contact point at all police stations, he should be equipped with face mask, face shield, full arm gloves, sanitiser and extra masks. A thermal meter temperature handler, equipped with protective gear, is to be posted with the sentry at police stations.

As per the circular, the duty officer, who is the daily health monitoring officer at each police station, should ensure Covid-19 protocol is followed. “Adequate number of sanitiser bottles should be readily available with duty officer… one should use his/her own pen and, as a precautionary measure, (it) should not be shared with anybody else,” says the circular.

There are detailed guidelines for personnel in record rooms and malkhanas as well. It also has instructions for PCR van staff and traffic police.

As per the circular, only one person should be allowed to interact with the investigating officer/SHO and rest should wait outside. Picket staff should have “least possible close public contact” and “barricades being brought in to use should be sanitised along with reflectors”.

Beat staff is expected to know of any Covid-19 cases in the area and must be equipped with protective gear. The circular says that during motorcycle patrolling, only one policeman should be on one bike, and the bike should be sanitised.

The circular also mentions an SOP in scenarios such as protests, unexpected mobs, and processions. It says protesters should be warned in advance about the threat of spread of the virus, and “use of sufficient barricades and ropes to avoid physical contact with the protesters”.

As per the circular, the ACPs should visit one police station daily and inspect it to see if PHQ guidelines being followed. “He should submit daily report by 5 pm on WhatsApp, along with photos, to DCP and Additional DCPs about shortcomings and remedial measures,” says the circular.

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