BHUPENDRA PANDEY and MANISH SAHU speak to Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police O P SINGH about combating crime, reinvigorating the police force, harnessing technology to make the force more accountable and transparent, and the force’s preparations for the Lok Sabha polls.
You have been at the helm of the Uttar Pradesh Police for more than a year now. What do you think have been the major achievements since you assumed charge?
Some of the major achievements of the UP Police have been to establish rule of law, a sense of safety and security for our citizens and unprecedented legal action against criminals. Reinvigorating the police force by leading from the front, direct dialogue with our men, focusing on their welfare and a generous policy of rewards have been other fields of achievements. Another important milestone has been to harness the power of technology in improving our delivery services and in making the force more accountable & transparent. We entered into knowledge partnership with IIT Kanpur, BITS Pilani, BPR&D, ADRIN (ISRO) for data analytics and predictive policing. Institutionalisation of social media cells and creating an army of nearly five lakh digital volunteers have been another significant achievement. And, on top of it, the success of Kumbh Mela 2019 will be counted as one of the biggest achievements of any police force in the world and UP Police is immensely proud for flawlessly executing it.
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Over 3,500 police encounters have taken place in the past two years, more than 70 people were killed. What has the UP Police achieved?
The strategy of the UP Police to combat crime has been decisively imparted a preventive focus. Beat-in-focus policing, identification of active criminals and effective surveillance on them, police engagements with such criminals, high visibility of police in localities, intensive checking with an element of surprise and concerted drive against illegal weapons have been consistently emphasised upon. In all our engagements against criminals, 423 policemen have been injured and five lost their lives. We arrested more than three lakh criminals while nearly one lakh have surrendered. 73 hardened criminals have also been killed because they opened fire on police teams…
Questions have been raised on the pattern and nature of encounters. Especially on similarities in the encounter FIRs filed. How do you respond to that?
All encounters are scrutinised at multiple levels, district level investigation, magisterial enquiry, NHRC, media etc.
As far as the allegation in similarity of FIRs is concerned, it is baseless as one can find such similarities in FIRs of cyber crimes. Does anyone say that all cyber crimes are fake ?
If criminals engage with us in a pattern, we too have our drills of responding which differs from case to case….
Have you sought a report on these encounters?
As I told you, we mandatorily send a a report to NHRC in every case and get it inquired by a magistrate. My directions to the district chiefs are unequivocal that they must never transgress the law and uphold human rights in the highest esteem at the same time they should not cower down before any criminal who dares to attack the police.
How is UP Police preparing for the Lok Sabha polls?
Election Commission guidelines for conduct of elections have been followed in letter and spirit. Meticulous planning and detailed implementation has been emphasised upon. ‘
A level-playing field has been created for all by ensuring sufficient legal and preventive action against probable troublemakers. This time qualitative preventive actions have been taken, such as all convicted criminals on bail and undertrials on bail have been asked to furnish security bond.
UP shares its boundary with 41 districts of nine states and Nepal. 411 inter-state barriers and 90 international barriers have been set up to prevent movement of criminal elements, illegal arms and black money…. Dedicated social media complaint cell headed by SP rank officer in ATS has been created to monitor objectionable content and activity on social media…. Any civilian can flag objectionable material, such as text messages, screenshots, multimedia files related to election violation. Suitable legal action will be taken…