With men and women from the Delhi Police on the frontlines amid the Covid pandemic, Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava on the challenges his force is facing, and how they are evolving with the times.
In the last two days, two assistant sub-inspectors of the Delhi Police have died of Covid-19 complications. What steps are being taken to safeguard the force?
I held a video conference with constables, head constables, ASIs, sub-inspectors and SHOs of 204 police stations on Sunday to reach out to the last man in the force. From each police station, the SHO, one SI or ASI, one head constable and two constables joined the video conference. I told them that we need to tide over this crisis thoughtfully. I said, “Shaakhein agar rahi toh patte bhi aayenge, yeh din bure hain toh acche bhi aayenge (As long as branches remain, leaves will come; these might be bad days but good days will come).”
I held a similar meeting online last Saturday to boost their morale, repeat instructions and briefings on social distancing, the importance of wearing masks, washing hands, and building immunity. I said that if we continue doing this, we will tide over this crisis.
You know, all my men on the ground are doing their best to avoid coronavirus. The system is robust. All senior officers have different responsibilities, and we are ensuring that no personnel feels that he/she is not being taken care of by the force. I hold a daily review meeting — sometimes with the Special CPs and a few Joint CPs, and sometimes with the DCPs too.
How are the families of the deceased ASIs, Vikram and Shesh Mani Pandey, holding up?
I have spoken to their families and all possible support will be given to them, as per the rules. The Joint CPs and DCPs of the areas too are in contact with them. Till today morning, I was personally monitoring ASI Vikram’s health. He had been quite sick the last three-four days and on Sunday morning, the doctor told me about some ventilator-related decision. Unfortunately, the ASI didn’t survive. I will be in touch with their families in the coming days as well.
Apart from our police personnel, we also offer support to their families, as well as retired police personnel. They are all a part of the Delhi Police family.
What is the magnitude of the Covid challenge facing the Delhi Police at the moment?
The number is increasing, it’s over 500 as of now. Recovery, however, is also good. So far, 40% have recovered. Even those who haven’t yet are mostly doing fine. There are a few who are sick as they also have co-morbidities, like ASI Shesh Mani Pandey, who we lost Saturday evening.
Amid the pandemic, what kind of changes is policing undergoing?
A few things from the past cannot be taken forward in the future. For instance, sending paper summons by mail means that it will take a few days to reach. We have to embrace technology and find a quicker way. Earlier, people wrote letters which took 10 days to reach the address; now a message takes under 10 seconds. Similarly, when sometimes we catch a criminal who is from another state, and then we send information request by mail, it takes a few days. We are now in the process of building a database through which criminal history can be accessed easily. At a time like this, it is impossible to address the force in person or invite all of them to my office, as we must maintain social distancing. This is why I encourage video-conferences.
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