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Delhi police to hire more women constables
Conviction advice from Shinde

Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh at the party’s foundation day event in New Delhi on Friday. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi, Dec. 28: Delhi police will recruit more women constables to make city roads safer for women, the Union home minister said today.

“I have directed Delhi police to launch a special drive for recruiting women,” Sushil Shinde told reporters.

“I have also suggested to senior police officials that each of the 166 police stations in Delhi have at least one woman officer. At present we do not have that many (women) officers but I told them whatever is possible should be deployed till we recruit more women cops.”

The decisions are part of a series of steps the government has been taking over the past one week following national outrage at the December 16 bus gang rape.

A senior officer said the home minister also asked the police to try and ensure a better conviction rate in rape cases — the current rate is 40 per cent in Delhi, according to National Crime Records Bureau figures.

Shinde, he said, asked the force to follow the standard operating procedure for rape investigation. Many of the prosecution’s cases fail to stand up in court because of shoddy investigations.

The standard operating procedure provides these guidelines:

A rape probe should be conducted by a woman officer. If a police station lacks a woman investigating officer, the deputy commissioner for the district should depute one from another police station.

The police should thoroughly inspect the crime scene and collect the maximum possible evidence, such as hair, blood, body fluids and ornaments.

The crime scene must be photographed from all angles.

The victim should be treated with the utmost sympathy and sensitivity. No embarrassing or indecent questions should be put to her.

The victim should not be called to the police station. The investigating officer should visit her home in plainclothes to ascertain facts in the presence of the victim’s family members.

National Crime Records Bureau figures show that Delhi records the highest number of public complaints against the police. Of the 61,765 complaints against the police recorded in the country in 2011, Delhi accounted for 12,805, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 11,971.

According to the bureau, the complaints against Delhi police mainly relate to extortion, torture, illegal detention and hurting women’s dignity.