It will be a major blow to the Police Department as the Home Department has decided to temporarily stall the move to elevate the City Police in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram to Metropolitan status.
According to sources in Police Headquarters, the plan for implementing the Metropolitan police system has been put on hold as a strong lobby was working against it, be it Thiruvananthapuram or in Kochi. Sources in the police headquarters said the plan has been stalled for the time being due to the opposition from IAS officers and due to the political pressure against giving more powers to the police. “A group of IAS officers are against the implementation of metropolitan police system. They have openly expressed their disapproval to the Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary. Their main concern is regarding the Magisterial power that will be conferred on the Police Commissioner which is now vested with the District Collector. The move has been temporally stalled,” a police official said.
Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said that discussions would be held with IAS officers. “It is true that the plan for elevating Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram City Police to Metropolitan status has been put on hold. We will discuss the matter with those opposing it. Once it is sorted out the system is likely to come into force within a year,” he said.
Meanwhile, some political leaders are also against the system that will bestow additional powers to the police in the city. Allegations are rife that the police are turning out to be mere puppets of political leaders. But with the coming of Metropolitan system, the political leaders’ control over the police would be curbed.
In February this year, the government notified the introduction of the Metropolitan police system in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi cities, similar to the ones in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. As part of this, Sections 15(2), 15(3), and 15 (4) of the Kerala Police Act 2011 was evoked. The Metropolitan Police would be headed by an IPS officer not below the rank of Deputy Inspector-General.
He or she will have powers of executive magistrate, like issuing gun and explosive licenses. He or she can also introduce new traffic regulations and issue prohibitory orders in case of major law and order problems sans the permission of the District Collector. The Police Commissioner would be deemed to be an executive magistrate and district magistrate under section 20(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.