The Hush Post, Chandigarh
The Punjab Cabinet on Friday approved the creation of a separate police wing for investigation of cases to strengthen policing in the state and ensure proper probe of heinous cases of crime. The move, in line with the directives of various courts in this regard, will lead to the separation of law & order machinery from the investigation wing, with the state government creating specialized crime units in every district. These units will be headed by an officer, not below the rank of Inspector, with an appropriate strength of officers and staff, for investigating such categories of specialized crime, as may be deemed appropriate.
The investigation staff shall ordinarily not be diverted for any other duties, except under exceptional circumstances, with the permission of the Inspector General of Police of the Range concerned, as per the amendments to Sections 36 of the Punjab Police Act 2007 approved by the Cabinet today. The decision constitutes a part of the series of reforms initiated by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to infuse new energy in the police force and improve the law and order situation in the state, according to an official spokesperson.
It may be recalled that Captain Amarinder Singh had earlier this month directed immediate steps to complete the formalities and process, by November 30, 2017, for the separation of Investigation and Law & Order duties, along with the creation of separate cadres. Under the new system, separate Investigation Units (IUs) and Pairvi Units (PUs) have been envisaged up to the level of Police Stations. While the IUs would be solely dedicated to serious and heinous crimes to ensure that the investigation of such cases is completed in a time-bound manner, the Pairvi Units will ensure proper presentation and contesting of criminal cases before the trial courts.
The move is prompted by the need to keep the function of Investigation separate from Law & Order duties so that investigation of heinous crimes, in particular, does not get hindered due any urgency in law and order duties. The move will also enable smooth collection of credible evidence by providing the IO with professional and high-level expertise in the same. It has been decided that the IUs will be properly monitored to ascertain if the investigation in a particular case is being carried out in a proper manner or not. The separation of the two functions will also help in ensuring high conviction rate by infusing professionalism in investigation, and will also create a better police-public interface, said the spokesperson. In addition, the Cabinet has given in-principle approval for restructuring of police ranges and zones, with details on staffing of the investigation wing and other modalities to be worked out by an Officers Committee, to be headed by the Chief Secretary.
Cabinet also approved the creation of a Special Operation Group (SOG) to check militant threats, with non-fiscal incentives for those personnel who join the new force. The SOG will contain, counter and neutralize militant threats like fidayeen attack, hostage situations and armed infiltration to save precious lives and properties, according to a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office. It will also minimize collateral damage in the form of loss of civilian lives and damage to the strategic assets of the country, working in close coordination with other state players like District Police, Civil Authorities, Army, NSG, IB, Intelligence Wing etc.
Triggered by the Gurdaspur and Pathankot fidayeen attacks, the need to create the SOG was felt by the state government on account of the inadequate training and lack of sophisticated units in the existing police units to contain, counter and neutralized militant threats like fidayeen attacks, hostage situations and armed infiltration to save precious lives and properties. The SOG would have world-class training and the highest degree of commitment to tackle such threats and would function as the state’s premier and specialized response team to counter such attacks. With intelligence reports suggesting plans by fidayeen groups to target the security and vital installations/establishment in the state, the SOG will operate as an effective tool to protect Punjab and its people