Wednesday, June 7, 2023

State police pledge to fight drug menace


Zero tolerance against cops under influence of intoxicants, says Patton

With the State police taking anti-narcotics pledge to not engage in the production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transportation and consumption of psychotropic substances, deputy chief minister and minister in-charge of Home & Border Affairs, Y Patton has directed the director general of police (DGP) to take stern action against police personnel found under the influence of intoxicants.
Patton said this during his first meeting with DGP Rupin Sharma and senior police officers after taking charge of the department for the third time, at Police headquarters here on Friday.
He reminded that people had high expectations as police personnel were the eyes and ears of the citizens and responsible for their safety and security. However, he lamented that some personnel were found to be under the influence of liquor or indulged in drug abuse, which tarnished the image of the department. DGP mentioned that Nagaland Police would perhaps be the first police force in the country to administer anti-narcotics pledge to all its personnel.
Review of TPC: Patton also asked the Threat Perception Committee (TPC) to review deployment of police personnel as bodyguards to former MLAs, retired bureaucrats and leaders of political parties within two months and withdraw policemen wherever not required.
He disclosed that there were about 3,000 personnel of Nagaland Police attached either as bodyguards or for non-police duties and stressed that there was an urgent need to minimise such deployments and attachments so that more manpower could be made available for policing and law and order work.
Law and order: Patton lauded the efforts of the police in ensuring peaceful conduct of the recently-held Assembly election, pointing out that there were some stray incidents of violence, the overall situation in the State remained by and large peaceful.
Applauding their sincerity in maintaining vigil and effectively tackling post-poll complaints, he asked them to prepare for the proposed urban local bodies (ULB) elections and upcoming G-20 events.
He remarked that with factional violence on the wane, AFSPA was expected to be withdrawn from more police station areas, which would place additional burden on the police.
Patton further observed that Nagaland Police’s strength had grown from 1,000 personnel in 1980s to about 26,000 in 2023 and stressed on improving overall efficiency, which could be achieved by reorganisation and restructuring of the force for better and optimal utilisation of manpower and resources.
He claimed that steps have been initiated to improve infrastructure, logistics, FSL, etc, and CCTVs installed at police stations and operationalised. He admitted that though new equipment were being purchased, the overall availability of equipment was not adequate to meet the current requirements.
Because of the hilly terrain and poor road conditions, he said police vehicles required regular repairs and replacements and admitted that the police faced constraints in terms of mobility, which affected their response time to situations.
While acknowledging the police and IRB personnel for discharging their duties with sincerity, he however observed that they were over overworked and fatigued and therefore called for urgently devising a mechanism to reduce work-related stress and exhaustion. He asked the DGP and PHQ to devise a policy on the matter.
Patton said additional funds might be required for improving the quality of investigation, training facilities, manpower deployment and also those in specialised training institutes throughout the country.
He said additional budgetary provision for purchase of logistics and equipment for investigation work was required, along with a separate budget for investigation and FSL. He instructed the DGP and PHQ to come up with feasible and workable proposals for availing funds.
He emphasised that new-age crimes like cybercrime, cyber frauds, economic offences and breaches of cyber security also required additional and separate budgets because such crimes often had inter-State and international ramifications.
He pointed out that the available budgetary allocations for investigations were inadequate and opined that proper proposals with appropriate justification could be made in this regard.
Paton said combating drug trafficking also required investment in investigation, investigation techniques and FSL facilities.
With spurt in registration of cases pertaining to drug trafficking, Patton said none of the FSLs in the Northeast were willing to accept Nagaland’s samples for examination, leading to delays, while additional fund was incurred as the samples sent to Gujarat for testing costs Rs 5,000 each, besides travelling costs of officers.
Under these circumstances, he proposed considering expansion of the State’s own FSL. He also called for setting up a cyber forensic laboratory because almost all crimes in near future would have an IT or cyber interface.
He pointed out that 30% of Nagaland Police’s vehicles would go off road following implementation of the Centre’s vehicle scrapping policy under which all vehicles more than 15 years old would have to be scrapped and taken off the road. He feared that this would deal a body blow to the working and efficiency of the State’s police force. He said additional budgetary allocation on a recurring basis would be required.
Patton urged the DGP to have a look at all the issues and devise a way forward so that the Central and State governments could be approached to help upgrade Nagaland Police professionally to deal with existing and upcoming challenges.
Meanwhile, congratulating Patton on assuming charge as deputy CM and in-charge of the Home for the third term, DGP Rupin Sharma in his welcome address said the police had prioritized the war on drugs.
Sharma also lauded all police officers and men and women for their efforts at ensuring peaceful Assembly election, noting that each police personnel had to shoulder additional responsibility during the election period and put in extra effort, including extra hours and spend sleepless nights.
He said that PHQ had constantly monitored, supervision and guided the operations and appreciated the police personnel for living up to the expectations and assured that PHQ would continue to endeavour to ensure that all police personnel conduct themselves professionally.
DGP asked the policemen and women to prepare for the forthcoming G-20 events, ULB elections, possible ENPO arrangement and a peace accord, removal of AFSPA from additional police station areas, drug menace, extortion, inter-factional clashes that affected law and order in the State.
Being at the forefront in most law and order-related situation and facing the brunt, Sharma asked the force to proactively identify and narrow down upon potential flashpoints like inter-tribal or factional or village disputes or even agitations at the behest of various NGOs or CSOs or ad hoc bodies and seek solution or advise the government to break the deadlock or take pre-emptive measures. He said this should be the priority.
He observed that Naga society has some peculiar features where the village and tribal level units were important along with CSOs and NGOs. Therefore, he advised setting up formal linkages so that policing could be synergised and an effective police-public partnership could be developed.
Sharma said PHQ would initiate training programmes for the public in law enforcement and police at various levels, starting from schools to villages as there was a need to establish linkages between the traditional, customary methods and the modern policing.
He disclosed that a mechanism would be devised to document any crime that fell within the ambit and jurisdiction of villages and their competence and linked with policing for effectively securing lives of people.
He stressed improving police investigation skills and components qualitatively and logistically and a mentioned that a plan was being worked out to project the requirements.
“Policing, in modern times is neither brawn but brains and law. We need to shift from danda to kanoon,” he remarked, admitting that there were hurdles that police faced like budgetary constraints and forensics.
He mentioned that registration of crimes and cases was important to revive public trust in policing and encouraged registration of crimes as proof of public faith in the police and the government.
Noting that Supreme Court of India and Gauhati High Court had been pushing for separation of investigation and law and order functions, the DGP said PHQ was in the process of devising a mechanism that would require realignments.
The programme was chaired by IGP (Range) Limasunep and vote of thanks was proposed by ADGP (Admn) Renchamo Kikon. The inaugural programme was followed by business-end of the in-house discussion.


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