R dutta choudhury
GUWAHATI, June 24 – Shortage of manpower has turned out to be a major problem for the police force is maintaining law and order and checking crimes in the ever growing Guwahati city and according to records available, more than 17,300 cases are pending in the police stations of the city.
Highly placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that cases are pending in the police stations for years because of shortage of manpower to investigate it and the situation has now come to such that the investigating officers (IOs) hardly have time even to write the case diaries. If the present situation continues, there is hardly any possibility of completion of the investigation of the cases on time and the citizens will have to wait for years for proper investigation of the cases filed by them.
Police sources revealed that normally officers of the rank of Sub inspectors are appointed as IOs of the cases registered in the police stations , but at present, every SI is burdened with around 200 cases on an average, which is humanely not possible for them to deal with. Sources said that in some cases, the Superintendent of Police can entrust Assistant sub inspectors as IOs of cases which are not of serious nature, but all cases cannot be handed over to the ASIs.
Sources pointed out that in the investigating agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation, no officer is asked to investigate into more than five cases at a time and that is why they can concentrate on the cases and show much better performance. But the situation is totally different in Assam police, which is the primary reason for the failure of the police to complete the investigation of the cases on time to file the chargesheets. However, in recent days, the city police managed to crack a few major cases including a kidnapping and a murder case as the senior officers jumped into the fray.
Moreover, investigation of cases is often relegated to the background for the city police as the investigating officers are often burdened with other jobs like law and order duty, route lining for VIP movements, anti-insurgency and anti-dacoity operations, dealing with day to day crimes etc. There is no duty hour for the police personnel of the city and sometimes they have to work for 12 to 18 hours a day, while, some states of the country have fixed eight hour duty schedule for the police to reduce their work load. In fact, a few states have started appointing two officers in charge for each police station to reduce their load.
Though the Government of Assam decided to set up a crime branch for the city, that is also not functioning properly as only one officer of the rank of additional superintendent of police has been posted in the branch and he has not been given adequate manpower to carry out his job properly. The situation will improve considerably if the head of the crime branch is given sufficient manpower and at least one officer is posted in each police station exclusively to investigate cases, sources admitted.