After a wait of more than five years, the Kochi City Police would finally be elevated to the Magisterial Commissionerate level, a decision which police personnel believe will assist them in strengthening the department.
According to police officials, the Commissionerate System is envisaged in Section 8 of CrPC 1973. The major advantage of upgrading Kochi Police to Magisterial Commissionerate rank is that more power will be vested with the police.
The Police Commissioner with magisterial power can frame rules independently to ensure smooth traffic and maintain law and order. “A major issue that will haunt the city in the coming years would be tackling road traffic. Now, the police can only man the traffic. But, with the upgradation, the ADGP or an IG-level officer, who will be the head of the force, can frame rules with regard to traffic and parking.
“With the upgradation, during construction of commercial buildings, police nod has to be sought.
Then, the police can check whether there is enough parking space. The Commissioner with magisterial power can take strict action under Goonda Act too,” police said.
Another major advantage of upgrading Kochi Police to Commissionerate level is that more central and state funds will be allotted. “Now, the police will have to depend on private companies to set up traffic signals. There are as many as 20 projects, including the construction of commissioner office, that could not be realised owing to the lack of funds. These projects can be implemented once the Kochi Police are elevated to Commissionerate rank,” police said.
With the coming up of Commissionerate, the territory of the Kochi police will be stretched from Vypeen to Chottanikara.
However, many feel that such a move will create a rift in the department. They say that since there is already an Inspector-General for Kochi range now, another IG-ranked officer coming as a commissioner will create a rift. “The Kochi range IG does not have a magistrate's power even though he has control over four districts. On the other hand, the IG who will have the power over the city will be given magisterial powers. Though Kochi Police have a DIG-ranked commissioner now, the activities of the police here are supervised by Kochi range IG,” they say.