‘Not even 1 computer per police station in Bihar’

PATNA: At a time when cyber policing is the buzzword and cyber crime cases are on the rise across the country, forget connectivity, scores of police stations across the state do not even have a functioning computer.
According to a survey titled ‘The Status of Policing in India Report 2019’ released recently, on an average there are six computers per police station in the country, but Bihar has an average of less than one computer per police station.

No wonder that the state is ranked third from bottom when it comes to implementation of the Centre’s ambitious project — Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS).
While Punjab topped the list with 17.36% of its police stations entering their FIRs on the CCTNS software, Madhya Pradesh stood second (16.93%) and Haryana (15.65%) third, respectively. Bihar ranked third from the bottom (8.57%) after West Bengal (8.24%) and Assam (2.68%).
The report also quoted data released by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) in January this year, which showed that about 14,724 police stations out of 15,705 police stations in the country were entering FIRs on the CCTNS software.
Going by the MHA data, about 94% of the country’s police stations lodged FIRs with the help of the CCTNS, which helped the police in scientific investigation of the criminal cases. Though the initiative was launched in 2009 following the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai, Bihar didn’t show much interest on this front.
However, a senior state police officer said that around 500 police stations out of 894 across the state would be connected with the CCTNS system by October this year. “The work is going on war footing and we hope to achieve the target by the first week of October,” said Dr Kamal Kishore Singh, IG of State Crime Record Bureau.
Singh, who is monitoring the CCTNS work, revealed that in the first phase, 500 police stations would be connected and the remaining would be linked in the next phase. “The state had earlier fixed a September deadline but it will be delayed a bit,” he said on Friday.
In September last year, the state police had signed an agreement with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to execute a Rs 250 crore CCTNS project.
Authoritative sources said the Bihar police accelerated the process only after the Centre warned that it would withdraw the fund for the CCTNS project. The TCS has been assigned to connect 894 police stations and officers of 380 higher officers through internet.
An ADGP rank police officer, who was earlier associated with the CCNTS project, said in 2012 an agreement was signed with the Indian Telephone Industries (ITI), a PSU but the contract was scrapped in 2014 due to slow pace of work.
Once the project is completed, lodging of an FIR, fingerprint database of arrested criminals, maintenance of goonda register, gang register and chargesheet filing would be done digitally and data sharing among police stations will become easy, the police officer said, adding that it would also bring transparency at their workplace.
Shobhanand Suman, a resident of Kashipor locality in Samastipur town, would not have to run from pillar to post to convince the police officials that his Bullet motorbike, which was stolen on August 10, belonged to him, had the CCTNS been implemented earlier.

Suman’s motorbike was stolen by a gang of vehicle lifters from the district headquarters town. On August 24, Suman came to known from his own sources that his vehicle had been recovered by the Mufassil police station. “When I visited Mufassil police station, the officer on duty asked for the copy of the FIR to get back the vehicle. When I told him that the vehicle belonged to me, he simply refused and didn’t hand over my motorbike,” Suman lamented.
Suman’s petition for lodging of an FIR was earlier turned down by the officer posted at the Samastipur town police station. “I am the victim of the system, which lacks basic infrastructure,” he rued.