Punjab police augmenting presence on social media: DGP Arora

Taking cognisance of the growing threat of radicalisation taking place on social media, the Punjab Police is continuously augmenting its presence on such platforms.

It also intends to have its own Face-book, Twitter and YouTube accounts to interact directly with the citizens, give timely responses to queries and provide a complaint redressal mechanism.

These accounts will be launched this month, Punjab DGP, Suresh Arora told a news conference here this evening.

Arora said police is continuously augmenting its social media presence, as it was felt that there was a lot of misinformation being spread on this platform by inimical elements.

A mobile application having dossiers of over 80,000 active criminals and equipped with artificial intelligence and face detection system had been operationalised, he said, adding that court permissions had been obtained for conducting 159 trials through video-conferencing in organised crime cases.

Asked about gangster-turned activist Lakhbir Singh alias Lakha Sidhana making claims of having live-streamed from jail earlier, and alleged that "everything" is available in jails, which he described as "a den" of drugs and addiction, the DGP replied such allegations were always taken very seriously.

The Additional DG is seized of the matter and he is taking action, he said.

Arora said upgradation of counter-terrorism capacity is also high on Punjab police plans for 2018. The state police is set to operationalise a crack force Special Operation Group (SOG), which would be trained and equipped to be at par with the best in the world.

Also on the anvil during 2018 is the implementation of the National Emergency Response System (NERS) Project, with the adoption of Centralised Call Taking and Distributed Dispatch, with a single Emergency Response No 112.

The entire call taking would be at a Public Safety Answering Point (P-SAP) in Mohali with 60 work-stations, and 12 Police Control Rooms with 900 emergency vehicles, expected to be operational in April 2018, he said.

The Punjab Police has also made significant gains in implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking System (CCTNS) by completing 24 Core Application Software Modules, integrating 8 Citizen Services, providing hardware to all Police Stations, starting online registration of FIR and general diary, and digitisation of last 10 years FIRs of all Police Stations in the state.

About police's achievements last year, Arora said among the major highlights of the year was the busting of the terrorist module in Moga on November 8 and the arrest of five persons, which led to solving all the eight cases of targeted killing of activists/leaders of the organisations associated with the minority community, which had been pending over the past two years.

Asked about allegations of "torture" by Punjab Police of UK national Jagtar Singh Johal, arrested in connection with targeted killings in Punjab, he said Johal's custody is with NIA now.

"Whether there is any violation from our side or so called allegations being made, the NIA will look into that, you will get the truth," he said.

"I am concerned about safety and security of Punjab, if anyone will harbour evil eye, that will be sorted out. No national or international conspiracy will be allowed to bring disharmony and disturb its hard earned peace," he added responding to Johal's arrest in targeted killings case.

He said the state government had sought companies of paramilitary from the Centre for deployment at places where key gangsters are lodged to block possibilities of any communication from inside jail, like through Facebook or social media.

Asked about international karate player Kuldeep Kaur committing suicide in Batala recently alleging police inaction in a property dispute, DGP said that he had spoken to the IG border Range regarding this.

"The basic allegation is inaction on part of the local police. The IG Border Range has shifted investigation of the case out of Batala and a SIT has been set up headed by a lady officer," he said.

On the clamour against the Punjab Control of Organised Crime Act (PCOCA), Arora defended the stringent law stating that there are enough checks and balances to prevent misuse.

Revealing the comparative figures relating to heinous crimes in 2016 and 2017, the DGP said murders came down to 656 from 771, attempt to murder to 795 from 862, kidnapping or abduction to 1462 from 1591, robbery to 116 from 147, and dacoity to 26 from 43.

Given the state's sensitivity resulting from being located along the international border with Pakistan, a lot of effort was made during the year to strengthen the second line of defence to thwart cross-border terrorism by providing equipment and vehicles to the border districts, including BP morchas, thermal imagers, BP Tractors, body protectors, micro UAVs etc.

Anti-riot capacity has also been strengthened, while acquisition of water cannons and armored carriers is under progress, he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)