Are our police equipped to secure our lives?

ASHWINI A. writes from Bangalore: Two stories about the Bangalore Police in this morning’s newspapers caught my attention—stories which left me wondering about their professional capabilities and investigative abilities, the police that is, not the media’s.

The first story was about an hour-long media conference called by Bangalore police commissioner Neelam Achutha Rao and joint commissioner Gopal B. Hosur to give details about the recovery of stolen goods worth Rs 20 lakh.

From the news reports, it appears that during the entire duration of the media meet, the two top police officers didn’t have a single word to say about what they and their colleagues and compatriots were doing to crack the mysteries of the high-profile case.

The two officers refused to comment on the investigations at the Bangalore end of the foiled Glasgow attack. No questions on the progress of the case were taken, none answered. Instead, they vent their anger on the media for asking “unnecessary questions” about Kafeel Ahmed and Sabeel Ahmed.

Should the police chief of Bangalore call for a press conference to announce the recovery of goods worth a paltry Rs 20 lakh when there is such a massive case with huge international ramifications simmering in his backyard?

People of the city and across the world are waiting and eager to know what progress the police are making to solve a major crime and we have the top cop speaking about a petty crime! It gives the impression that the City police have their priorities all botched up.

This actually throws up several more uneasy, subsidiary questions:

Are our police silent because they are working on something big or because they are trying to give the indication that they are working on something big? Do our police actually have the professionalism to investigate and solve such crimes? How are they equipped and trained to handle a similar attack and its aftermath in Bangalore?

If the IT City with the country’s first cyber police branch doesn’t have the wherewithal to open and decipher a “high capacity hard disk”, are we in safe hands?

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The second media story that caught my attention was a report in Bangalore Mirror about a young man and his fiancee who went to a picnic spot near T.G. Halli over the weekend, and how the girl was robbed and tied to a tree while the young man was killed in an attack by a group of unknown people.

Guess what the police had to say on this incident?

Inspector Ravi Shanker: “This incident must serve as an eye-opener for couples visiting secluded places.”

There was no compassion for the life lost. There was no promise or assurance of what the police would do to solve the crime. And there was not a word about the measures the police would initiate to avert such incidents in the future.

The bottomline is, can we trust our police to safeguard our lives properly?

A man is killed, his fiancee is robbed, assaulted and tied to a tree and all we have the police inspector saying is that this incident should serve as warning to people going to secluded places as though it is illegal to do so if not a crime.

Tomorrow, such cops may well counsel us, instead of policing us, and ask us to stay indoors if we want to remain safe. What does it take to get their cops to do the job they are paid salaries for? Can we ever trust the men in khaki to ensure that we can live in safely and securely?

Keeping in line with rapid outsourcing that Bangalore now has become famous for, IT as well as terror, should we start talking about outsourcing the police investigations? Or, better still, should the terror probe case be taken over by the CBI?