Where Cops Battle Rats, Snakes to Save Proof

Office of bureau that lifts fingerprints from crime scenes from 101 police stations is infested by creatures, msoquitoes; women staff forced to use bathroom outside the bldg

Published: 03rd May 2016 04:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd May 2016 04:56 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI:  As one manages to walk past the dried leaves that thickly cover the floor and enter into the building, two wooden dusty tables stand next to each other.

One is for a police officer of the rank of Additional Deputy Superintendent of Police and another for Deputy Superintendent of Police, the boards would read. Just past is a big room with rusted cupboards, piles of paper bundles, and nearly four computers out of which only one is in proper working condition.

There is huge window, but the compound was close to the window and was covered with dried leaves making it difficult to spot even if a snake slithers through it.

Welcome to the office of the Single Digit Finger Print Bureau, which is responsible for collecting and maintaining the fingerprints lifted from crime scenes from about 101 police stations in the city, which constitute nearly half of the city.

Located in the congested Chintadripet area, the personnel working here say they fight against mosquitoes and rats to preserve the imprints that hold the key for solving a range of crimes the Chennai city police investigate.

“In daytime, mosquitoes and in night hours, rats take ownership of the place. Once even a snake had entered the room,” says a source with the department.

When Express visited the building, the only good thing was the neatly painted entrance wall.

But a closer look at the building has shown dried leaves, a rusty gate and a pungent smell with a bright blue board of Single Digit Fingerprint Bureau that welcomes the policemen who approach the department to collect imprints collected from crime scenes.

The sources in the bureau said an office was allocated for them in the new building of the city police at Vepery, which was inaugurated in 2013. Even the board in the office, which reads ‘Single Digit Finger Print Bureau’ is located on the first floor of the swanky nine-storey building.

But much to the disappointment of the staff working in the bureau, the shifting never happened and they are forced to work in this 70-year-old building.

“We are expected to stay in this office round the clock so that whenever a crime is reported, we can immediately rush to the spot. But the personnel on night duty have to sleep on the floor bearing all the mosquito bites. Recently, one of our members was afflicted with dengue,” said a source in the bureau on condition of anonymity.

The building has two bathrooms. But still women staff are forced to use the facility situated outside the building towards a right corner with an asbestos sheet.

Fact file

  • Chennai is one of the few cities to introduce the Single Digit Finger Print System in 1956
  • Functioning under the State Crime Records Bureau, the bureau collects finger prints from the crime spots and maintains them to aid investigations
  • It was previously housed in a building at the Chintadripet police station campus and was shifted to the present in 2012

“We are forced to stay with such poor facilities and there is no proper drinking water facility. To find a person to clean the room and rest rooms, we have to shell out money from our own pockets every day. Sometimes, it is a task for us to find a person to clean the room. By the end of the day, we develop allergies due to the dust,” said the source. Even the computer systems allocated for the bureau are not properly functional.

“After the floods, the systems were not in proper working condition. Even the internet facility has not been restored yet,” says the source.

[[The personnel on night duty have to sleep on the floor bearing all the mosquito bites. Recently, one of our members was afflicted with dengue                 — source, Singke Digit Finger Print Bureau

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