Criminal activities may have come down during small hours in recent times but the issue of night patrolling has given birth to a unique ego clash among the men in uniform.
According to a new system introduced by Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Amrit Raj about a couple of months ago, a station house officer (SHO) has to monitor night patrolling in the urban areas. If any policeman on a patrol vehicle is found not to be doing his duty properly, the monitoring SHO can report the matter to a deputy superintendent of police (DSP).
However, the system has not gone down well with several SHOs who are in the rank of inspectors as on many occasions, monitoring SHOs of sub-inspector rank reporting against seniors.
Recently, a sub-inspector posted as Mehadiganj police station SHO in Patna City reported to the DSP (now additional superintendent of police) against a nearby police station, where an inspector rank officer is holding the charge as the SHO.
Irked at his junior’s action, the inspector-rank officer of Malsalami police station reported against the Mehadiganj police station SHO. “The police patrol car was not found at the checking point during night patrolling in the area falling under the jurisdiction of Mehadiganj police station,” the monitoring officer told Patna City DSP.
Several SHOs, who were not on good terms with one another, alleged that they were being made victims by their colleagues posted at neighbouring police stations. “The report of a monitoring SHO of night patrolling often smacks of personal vendetta,” said an SHO posted in Patna City sub-division.
Sources said Malsalami police station SHO Bhagwan Das complained against his Alamganj police station counterpart B.K. Singh after he did not find policemen on duty during night patrolling recently.
Of 30 police stations in the Patna urban area, most are headed by inspector rank officers. However, sub-inspector rank officers have been posted as SHOs at Patrakar Nagar, Mehadiganj, Bypass, Bahadurpur, Ramkrishna Nagar, Rajeev Nagar, Beur and Rupaspur police stations.
These police stations were opened in 2007-08 after a rapid growth in the population in the past few years. They were subsequently notified by the government and posts of sub-inspectors to be posted as SHOs were sanctioned.
SSP Raj said he had decided to usher in certain changes in the existing system of night patrolling after it was brought to his notice that none of the SHOs used to go on duty. Instead, officers in the rank of sub-inspectors and assistant sub-inspectors were assigned to carry out night patrolling, he clarified.
“In order to keep the SHOs alert, an order was issued entrusting the task of night patrolling of a particular sub-division to SHOs on a regular basis. According to the order, one SHO would be appointed ‘monitoring SHO’ every night. In this way, an SHO would be on night duty every week. The duty chart was prepared by the sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) concerned,” Raj told The Telegraph.
He admitted that some anomalies in the new system of policing might have come up. “It is true that some junior police officers are monitoring the night patrolling system in the area of a particular police station where his senior (inspector rank officer) is posted as SHO. The incongruity in the system would be rectified soon,” he said.
“Earlier, a DSP alone used to monitor night patrolling right from Danapur to Patna City. It’s difficult for an officer to keep a close tab on such a vast area and that too during night,” he said.