Meet Delhi’s new top Cop
By Tarun Nangia - NEW DELHI
Published: 01st Jul 2012 08:43:58 AM
On Saturday afternoon, Neeraj Kumar took charge as Delhi Police Commissioner from the outgoing commissioner B K Gupta. Kumar is a 1976 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories) cadre. His tenure will last for 13 months, before he superannuates.
Kumar joined the Delhi Police as a officer on probation in 1978, after completing his post-graduation from St Stephen College. In his 34 year-long career, he’s been the Director General of Prisons, Delhi in his previous appointment. Earlier, he was posted in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from 1993 to 2002. He has also has done a stint in the Delhi Police Special Cell. He was also in charge of security arrangements for the 2010 CWG.
Speaking on his new assignment, he said, “I want to ensure our interface with the public improves. I’m not saying it’s poor at the moment. But we want to improve it even more. Once a person lodges a complaint at a police station, they need know what the follow-up on it is. This will go a long way in building rapport between the police and the public.”
When asked about the challenges he faces, Kumar said the biggest one is on the terror front. Delhi, being the capital, is most susceptible to terrorist attacks. Hence, on this front, the police need to be on alert all the time. Once can never step back and say that the threat perception has receded because a Abu Hamza or another terrorist has been arrested. It’s an ongoing exercise. Having worked in the special cell that oversees counter-terror measures, he says he understands the department’s working well. “I’ll try to improve it’s efficiency,” he said.
“My challenge number two is prevention and detection of crime,” Kumar said. The capital has a population of 1.75 crore, and is the largest urban agglomeration in India, which explains its high crime rates when compared to other cities. Moreover, unlike many other Indian megacities, Delhi shares borders with Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Many criminals commit crimes like vehicle theft, chain snatching and house break-ins in Delhi, and cross over to neighbouring states. This complicates the job of the police.
The new CP said, “My third challenge is maintenance of law and order.” With the city housing people from all parts of India and speaking different languages, the police has to be always on an alert to prevent community clashes which disrupt law and order. Kumar stressed, that in addition to these three, police-community relations are equally important.
Commenting on his previous tenure, as Director General of Prisons, to The Sunday Standard, he said, “It was a satisfying tenure. We were able to make a huge dent in illiteracy figures, bringing it down from 40 to 10 per cent through a scheme called Padho Aur Padhao. We also had a tie up with the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) so that people who have studied under the scheme could continue their education after release.”
Kumar said the responsibility of the police did not end there. Once illiterate inmates are educated, some of them have even gone ahead and completed their post graduation. But they can’t be rehabilitated unless they get jobs once they are out of prison. “We introduced campus placement, where inmates were given jobs to integrate them with the mainstream. This gave former prisoners a road to start life afresh,” said the top cop.
Kumar’s other achievement was starting a smart card system for inmates to carry out financial transactions like buying groceries while in jail. There was chance of malpractice in the coupon-based system used earlier, but with the smart cards, there is no financial discrepancy anymore.