|The governor at National High School for Boys. (Arnab Mondal)
|Unfortunately as far as Bengal is concerned, the number of policemen on the street are very few, the number of policemen are very few
Governor M.K. Narayanan linked crime to inadequate police presence on the road while answering a student’s query at a school programme on Tuesday.
Narayanan, a retired IPS officer, said mere police presence could do wonders in terms of curbing crime.
“Unfortunately as far as Bengal is concerned, the number of policemen on the street are very few, the number of policemen are very few,” the governor said at an interactive session at National High School for Girls.
It seems from the statement that the former national security adviser feels that not just the police presence on the street, the police strength in Bengal, too, is inadequate. Bengal police’s strength is a little over 60,000, while that of Calcutta police is around 27,000.
“I know from my own example even these dreaded terrorist(s) are always worried about even the fat policeman. So when we interrogate them they say that I was planning to do such and such thing and when we suddenly saw the head constable in uniform going by then, I stopped doing that,” added Narayanan, who was also the Intelligence Bureau chief.
“The presence of the policemen is a very important factor. People may say that the police are corrupt… police are bad. I am not denying that there are bad policemen, there are bad other people but we need more policemen on the street, not merely going along in their cars, in their vans, etc.... I think for several years we have neglected increasing the size of the police force. I think some effort is to be made.”
The governor was responding to a question by Class XI student Harsimran Kaur. “As a student we are more concerned about our safety than our study because of the increasing crime. Can we get a concern from you?” she had asked.
That police presence on the road makes a difference was clear from the success of the recent crackdown on rogue bikers at night.
Senior officers said the way cops were deployed mattered more than the number. “By deploying barely 200 extra personnel at strategic positions, the city police managed to curb speed biking at night,” said a senior officer, endorsing Narayanan’s take on importance of police visibility.
Metro on Tuesday highlighted (Little petrol for patrol, free run for criminals) how inadequate police presence has allowed criminals a free run in the areas brought under Calcutta police two years ago.
The governor lamented the insecurity among citizens.
“It is very unfortunate that we are not able to provide that kind of protection that children… why only children, even grown-ups like me (need)… I think that is the biggest challenge, it is one of the biggest challenges facing governments ever,” he said addressing the students.
Finally he laid emphasis on the role of the common man as well. “We always see that whenever something is happening, most people like to go away thinking that we will get caught up with the law, will caught up with the police. I think that mentality has to change and I think that is what citizens groups will probably need to do,” the governor said.