GUWAHATI, Aug 2 - With low conviction rate in the State becoming a major cause of concern, the Assam Police can take a cue from Punjab Police, which recently completely separated the investigation wing from maintenance of law and order to ensure that all the cases registered with the police stations are investigated properly. Moreover, shortage of manpower is said to be another major reason for the delay in investigation of the cases by the Assam Police. During his recent visit to the State, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also stressed the need for �people-centric policing� in the North East.
According to records available with the National Crime Records Bureau, the conviction rate of the cases registered with the Assam Police is much lower than the national average, while in some cases it is among the lowest in the country. Moreover, because of the failure of the police to file the chargesheets of the cases on time, the accused, including militants often get bail. There are instances where they indulged in crime just days after getting bail. Only recently, during the Ambubasi mela, police arrested a hardcore ULFA(I) member and recovered an improvised explosive device (IED) from him. The militant was arrested earlier in February and was involved in a crime immediately after getting bail.
Police sources admitted before The Assam Tribune that low rate of conviction has become a matter of concern and efforts are on to deal with the problem. Sources said that shortage of officers in the rank of Inspectors and Sub Inspectors is one of the major problems faced by the police. Majority of the cases registered in the police stations are investigated by officers of the rank of Sub Inspectors, but these officers are over burdened. There are instances where each SI has to handle a huge number of cases, making it impossible for them to concentrate on any particular case. Moreover, they have to carry out other duties like maintenance of law and order, security duties etc leaving them with very little time to concentrate on investigation of cases. This issue was discussed at various levels in recent times, but so far, no concrete solution has emerged.
Sources also said that the investigating officers of organizations like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the investigating officers are given only a handful of cases at a time and as they do not have other duties, they can concentrate on investigation. But this is not the case with the Assam Police and the investigation is very often affected. Police sources also stressed the need for better coordination between all the concerned agencies including police, forensic department and medical department for proper investigation.
Meanwhile, to deal with the problem of low rate of conviction and delay in investigation of cases, Punjab Police completely separated the investigation wing right up to the police station level and merged the same with the Criminal Investigation Department.
Highly placed sources in Punjab Police told The Assam Tribune that slow progress of investigation of cases was a problem in the State and in April this year, the investigation wing was completely separated so that the officers can concentrate on investigations. The Investigation wing of the Punjab Police is now headed by an officer in the rank of Additional Director General of Police, while, an additional SP is heading the wings in the district level. Right up to the police station level, at least 20 per cent of the total police personnel are deployed in the investigation wing and they will not be engaged in any other duty unless it is absolutely necessary.
Sources admitted that implementing the scheme on the ground was taking some time, but expressed the hope that it would expedite the process of investigation of the cases registered in the police stations.