Kotwali thana is among the 14 capital police stations that will seek bike keys before lodging FIRs
Prevention is better than probe, say Ranchi police.
Burdened with a couple of hundred bike-lifting cases — most of them facilitated by careless owners — the capital’s men in khaki have decided to register an FIR only if the complainant produces the key to the stolen two-wheeler.
Bizarre and unprecedented, but absolutely legitimate, the fiat came into effect from Monday.
City superintendent of police R.K. Prasad, who had issued the unusual directive to officers in charge (OCs) of all the 14 police stations in town last week, said the drive would make bike owners more responsible.
“If 50 thefts are reported, it is definite that at least 20 cases have been facilitated by carelessness. So, I have strictly directed my men not to register an FIR if anyone approaches them without the bike key. In fact, we expect owners to go an extra mile and use a second lock (besides the one provided by the company) to secure their vehicles in busy marketplaces and roads,” Prasad said.
On whether it was lawful to deny an FIR, he reiterated: “It is a preventive measure. People should be held responsible for things they own. Why should security of vehicles solely depend on the police. We cannot keep vigil in every nook and corner. Men in uniform are here to help. And they will help genuine victims, not careless ones.”
Police ire over heedless citizens is not unwarranted. Out of 760 cases of theft registered in Ranchi between January and April this year, 240 involve bikes. And going by Prasad’s formula it won’t be off the mark to say that half of these stolen two-wheelers had irresponsible owners.
Jagannathpur OC Yogendra Shukla said he had received the directive and would follow it to the letter. “People who have vehicle insurance are all the more careless. They do not take precautions when they park their bikes. And then they turn up at police stations for an FIR copy to claim the insurance money,” Shukla pointed out.
“I have categorically asked my men to seek the key of a stolen bike before lodging a complaint. Besides, they will also do a background check on the complainant,” he said, adding that they had not received a single complaint on Day One of the drive.
Daily Market OC Anup Prasad has a smarter plan up his sleeves. He has directed his men to seize any unlocked bike and bring it straight to the police station.
“It may not always be morally easy to refuse an FIR. So, we have decided to bring carelessly parked two-wheelers to the police station. The owner will have to come with documents for verification before they can regain possession of their vehicles. And as a punishment, they will also have to bring a chain and lock. It will be like a guarantee of not compromising on the security of their bikes in the future,” the OC said.
In Jamshedpur, more than 100 bike theft cases have been registered at 17 police stations between January and June this year.
On whether the steel city would take a cue from the capital, SSP Akhilesh Kumar Jha said they already had a system in place to curb bike-lifting.
“Officers in charge have been categorically asked to depute constables in public parking areas. We seize any two-wheeler that is not locked as penalty,” he said, echoing Daily Market police.
Do you favour this police drive against bike-lifting?