THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the state police came under the scanner after the CAG report made scathing remarks on the procurement of various equipment by the police department as part of the modernisation of the force, the state police have spent a total of Rs 151 crore for modernising efforts in the last four years especially after the LDF government came to power. In the last four fiscals, the highest amount of Rs 78.79 crore was spent during 2018-19.
Though the CAG report also mentioned that the department violated stores and purchase manuals and CVC guidelines in the procurement of equipment, a slew of measures were taken as part of modernisation of the police force aimed at enhancing striking capability, meeting the challenges of internal security and law and order situation in the state during these periods.
Here, TNIE takes a look at the projects launched by the state police after the LDF government came to power and the projects that courted controversy. The centrally-conceived Crime and Criminal Tracking Networking System (CCTNS) which is being implemented in the state, installation of DNA sequencer, advanced equipment for document examination, FTIR spectrometer, Refractometer, PCR machine at the forensic science labs are some of the major initiatives being undertaken by the department.
Despite the installation of various equipment at the forensic science labs, many of which are at various stages now, the CAG report alleged that there was delay in disposing of various cases. Further, among 53 equipment listed for procurement from 2013-14 to 2017-18, 30 items are yet to be procured, resulting in a cost escalation of 46.08 per cent as of March 2019.
The force also procured body-worn cameras, CCTV cameras, vehicle-mounted GPS system, unmanned aerial vehicle, traffic signal system and traffic enforcement equipment for effective investigation.
Procurement of robotic mobile explosive cutter vehicle to defuse explosives, satellite phones to combat Left-wing extremism /Maoists and enhancing coastal security, automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) which is being implemented in the state as part of digitalising the fingerprint bureau, centralised monitoring system to legally intercept calls and messages are some of the interventions by the police to increase the efficiency of the force.
However, the audit watchdog has found irregularities in procurement of vehicle-mounted GPS-based communication system, vehicle-mounted X-ray baggage inspection system, security equipment for Sabarimala, mobile digital investigation assistance platform for grave crime investigation, e-beat system, etc.
Though the Police department has taken steps to replace the analogue telecommunication devices with digital communication systems in Thrissur and Palakkad, the government failed to provide timely payment of spectrum charges and obtain licence from the Centre for procuring mobile radios.
Major initiatives of police under LDF rule
■ Crime and criminal tracking networking system (CCTNS) being implemented in the state
■ DNA Sequencer, advanced equipment for document examination, FTIR spectrometer, Refractometer, PCR machine being set up at the forensic science labs
■ Cyber police stations have been set up in Kochi, Thrissur and Kozhikode cities
■ Body-worn cameras, CCTV cameras, vehicle-mounted GPS system, Unmanned aerial vehicle, traffic signal system, traffic enforcement equipment have been purchased
■ Steps have been taken to integrate applications like Trace my trip, nearest/jurisdictional police station, SOS-Panic message, Chat bot for public service, offence reporting, citizen services, traffic guru for effective investigation
■ Procured robotic mobile explosive cutter vehicle to defuse explosives, satellite phones for combating left wing extremism/Maoists and strengthen coastal security
■ Cyber crime prevention against women and children project being implemented in the state.
■ Steps have been taken to replace the analogue telecommunication devices with digital communication systems in Thrissur and Palakkad
■ Automated Fingerprint identification System being implemented in the state.