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Stating that the government of Kerala has this week introduced a new system that will go a long way in improving the crime investigation in the state, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) appreciates that the police modernisation efforts in Kerala makes a model for Asia.

The government has issued an order, that from now on, interviewing suspects in all police stations is prohibited, and that such interviews must be conducted only at what is called as `e-rooms' setup by the government near every district police headquarters.

The first such e-room has been set up in Kottayam district in the state and it is expected that all districts will have at least one such facility by 31 March, 2017.

The e-rooms rooms will have facilities to record video and audio of the interviews, and the interviewing police officer will be able to communicate remotely with her/his supervising officer while the interview is in session. It is expected that this reform will prevent to a large degree the practice of custodial torture in crime investigation.

Further, the video records of interview will be available for inspection by the courts, should there be any concerns of custodial torture. The state police also have, since November 2016, implemented the 'e-filing' of all case records, particularly the First Information Statements, which could be freely accessed by the general public as long as they have an internet connectivity.

The project is implemented as part of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) scheme conceived under the National e-Governance Plan by the government of India. The e-filing will reduce manual and redundant record keeping at police stations, and the scheme requires police stations to stop writing down the general diary and FIRs in papers and use a digital format instead.

Police officers, citizens, victims, lawyers, media and anyone interested in the details of a crime can now access these records. In case a particular police station cannot comply with e-filing, the concerned officer will now have to obtain permission from the Deputy Superintendent of Police stationed at the District Crime Records Bureau to record the proceeds of investigation on paper.

In case of complaints received from public for registering cases, such complaints have to be scanned and uploaded. The officers also have to make available details through the e-filing system, proceeds of each complaint, details of arrest if any, recovery of evidence, court orders in each crime, appeals if any, and also explanations about what actions are taken by the complaint receiving officer when a complaint is recorded.

Three initiatives were launched by the Kerala state government in February, 2017. In one such initiative titled 'Samhita', the state government has also allowed a mobile telephone connection each to all police officers in the state, under one network, with free calling facilities. This will address to a large degree concerns of communication challenges within the police force and coordination of activities within the force, whether it is related to crime investigation or simple law and order issues.

The other two welcome initiatives are titled 'Khaki Hats' which are a unit of ethical hackers that are meant to tackle the scourge of cybercrime and 'Clone-Free Hitech Smart Cards' which will provide police personnel easy access to financial and administrative services.

AHRC said that the two important reforms, of e-filing and setting up e-rooms in every district in the state are watershed events in police modernisation in the state. Such reforms, undertaken under the leadership of the state government and visionary leaders within the police department are model for rest of India to follow, and for the rest of Asian region, that even today have some of the most primitive forms of policing.

The AHRC congratulates the government of Kerala, the state police force led by visionaries like Loknath Behara, State Police Chief, and above all, the people of the state, for having started the process of modernising the state police, which is fundamental to realising constitutional guarantees of democracy and the rule of law in India.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Narendra Ch

Quelle/Source: Merinews, 18.03.2017

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