Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta in conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now
GN Bureau | July 12, 2022
Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta has said that though the city with more than 1,000 square km in area is bigger than Mumbai, it currently has a police force of around 8000 policemen compared to 48,000 policemen in Mumbai.
In conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the webcast of the Visionary Talk series organized by the public policy and governance analysis platform, Gupta said as compared to Mumbai, Pune does not have many VIPs and therefore VIP duties for policemen are less.
“Pune Police manages larger area with less force than Mumbai. Criminal and street crimes are in control. As compared to police stations, police chowkies in Pune are very popular. Pune has a vibrant night life but our basic problem is traffic and noise pollution,” he said.
While speaking on cybercrime, Gupta said, “There were 90,000 applications in cyber police stations regarding cybercrime. It shows the magnitude of problems to be dealt with in the time to come. Most complaints will not be converted to FIR as they are related to OTP and other such issues.”
He added that all police stations have a cyber cell with helplines.
On financial crimes in Pune he said, like cybercrime, EOW too has been structured with SOPs. A manual has been put in place for setting in a system along with required trainings. He added that trainings were also given in advanced technology.
As an example, the Pune top cop also mentioned about a multi-crore crypto currency bitcoin case that took place in the city and said while it was difficult to trace, Pune police was able to link the source, and trace the movement of bitcoin among various people involved in the crime.
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While responding to a question on how Pune police is creating secure IT infrastructure to deal with such crimes, he said Pune is an IT hub and it has many IT experts. “But the crux of the matter is that we are focusing on using simple technology that will be easily understood by the police force as well as the people.”
On using social media platforms for better policing, Gupta said normally they do not register complaint through social media but if a complaint on social media comes to their notice … the Pune police has a complaint registration number, 112. He added that the Pune police uses social media to interact with people, address their problems and educate them.
While speaking on the challenges faced by Pune Police during Covid-19, Gupta said that the pandemic hit police very badly as many died and almost 1,000 policemen got infected. He said many criminals were in jails, but as jails had to be decongested to control the spread of infection, many criminals were let off on furlough or parole.
Next, he said that as jobs were lost and due to unemployment, there was spurt in crime in the city. “A database was created and crime and criminals were controlled in a systematic manner. There are 86 cases under the MCOC Act where 900 people belonging to different gangs have been arrested. In the last one and half year 75 persons have been arrested under MPDA, 1981,” he said.
Asked how Pune police strikes a chord of trust with the people, Gupta emphasized on open communication for increasing trust between the police and people through formal and informal social events and engagements like rallies and various committees including mohalla committees.
Speaking on the adoption of best practices between the police and law enforcement agencies, he said best practices need to be shared with each other and if suitable, should be adopted. He cited the example of practices like women marshals, different squads etc in the police force and said if found suitable and meeting their needs such best practices are adopted taken forward and even upgraded.
On police modernisation and if the PPP model can be applied in implementing the same, he said the police has already initiated modernisation and also using technology which now is available very cheap and also require fewer policemen.
“Normally the police hierarchy is very reluctant to go for the PPP model and can be brought in as per situation like the home guards and traffic wardens. Policemen are normally touchy about fixed assets like land etc, and as such do not like the PPP model,” he said.
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