TIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The decision of the government to shift the responsibility of probing road accidents from Traffic Department to local police has come at a time when the latter is reeling under manpower crunch and heavy workload. The decision was taken last week with an objective of making the Traffic Department focus only on traffic enforcement and regulation - a fair intention indeed- but in the city limits where the policemen are already burdened by heavy work, this new decision has raised quite a few eyebrows.
City police officers felt the decision might affect the normal law and order police activities as the city, on an average, witness about seven accident cases per day. In 2017, about 2,113 cases of accidents were reported in the city in which 170 people lost their lives and 2,500 received injuries. Police sources said though the probe can be carried out more efficiently by the police, carrying out law and order duties would become difficult. “The City Police already have their hands full. The number of cases that we are handling is huge. With the new rule coming into effect soon, we will have a tough time juggling with the law and order cases as well as traffic-related cases,” said a senior city police officer.
In 2017 alone, the city police that has 22 stations under its wings registered 33,343 cases of which 19,953 were criminal in nature. Once the new rule is implemented, each police station will have to designate a fixed number of officers for addressing traffic accident cases. “That will cripple our reach,” said another police officer of the rank of assistant commissioner. However, the rural police officers are not bothered as much as they have been handling accident cases due to an inadequate number of traffic units available in their jurisdiction.
“We won’t have much to complain as we have been handling such cases from the beginning. The city police would be the ones who would suffer once the decision is implemented,” said a DYSP.