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New provisions for police officers

9th July, 2024 POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

New provisions for police officers

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement is not intended.

Context:

  • SOPs have been issued by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) to guide police officers in implementing the new provisions of new criminal laws.

New Standard Operating Procedures

  • Rules for Registering FIRs:
    • The officer in charge of a police station must register an FIR, regardless of jurisdictional issues (known as a zero FIR) and transfer it to the relevant station.
    • Non-registration of FIRs can lead to penal action under the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS).
    • FIRs can now be filed electronically, alongside traditional oral or written methods.
  • Videography Requirements:
    • Mandatory videography during searches (Section 185), at crime scenes (Section 176), and during property seizures (Section 105) is required.
    • Negligence in conducting videography can benefit the accused, emphasizing the need for proper training and equipment for investigating officers.
  • eSakshya App:
    • The eSakhsya app is a mobile-phone application to help police record crime scenes, conduct searches, and seizures in criminal cases.
    • It enables police to upload recorded evidence to a cloud-based platform. This data is accessible to various agencies like judiciary, prosecution, and cyber forensic experts.
  • Provisions of Arrest:
    • Information about arrested individuals must be prominently displayed at police stations by an Assistant Sub-Inspector or higher.
    • Special restrictions are imposed on arresting elderly or infirm persons, requiring permission from a DySP for certain offenses.
  • Timelines for Medical Reports and Investigations:
    • Medical reports in rape cases must be forwarded to the Investigating officer within seven days for submission to the magistrate.
    • Investigations of POCSO cases must be completed within two months of the offense being reported, a stricter timeline compared to previous norms.
  • Handling Electronic Evidence:
    • Section 193(3)(h) mandates maintaining custody records for electronic devices due to their susceptibility to tampering.
    • Police officers are required to upgrade their skills to ensure the integrity of electronic records.
  • Definition of 'Terrorist Act':
    • Section 113 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita defines what constitutes a terrorist act.
    • The decision to register cases under this section or under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) rests with SPs, considering factors like the seriousness of the offense and investigative requirements.

The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D)

●BPRD was established in 1970 as an agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India to further the objectives of the Government of India regarding the modernisation of police forces.

●At present it has 4 divisions – Research, Development, Training and Correctional Administration.(On the recommendations of the Gore-Committee the bureau created a Training Division in 1973.

Functions:

●Research and Development: Conducts studies and research on emerging issues in policing, crime prevention, forensic science, and technology integration.

●Policy Formulation: Advises the central and state governments on policy matters related to police reforms, crime prevention strategies, and legal amendments.

●Training: Organizes training programs and workshops for police officers at different levels to enhance their skills, knowledge, and professionalism.

●Technology Adoption: Promotes the use of modern technologies in policing, including crime mapping, forensic tools, digital evidence management, and surveillance systems.

●International Cooperation: Collaborates with international agencies and organizations to exchange best practices and experiences in law enforcement.

●Publications: BPRD publishes reports, guidelines, and manuals on various aspects of policing and law enforcement, which serve as reference materials for police departments and stakeholders.

Initiatives:

●Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS): BPRD oversees the implementation and integration of CCTNS, a comprehensive national database for crime and criminal records management. Note that The CCTNS project is implemented by National Crime Records Bureau.

Conclusion:

  • These provisions reflect a significant update in how police handle legal procedures and evidence, emphasising transparency, accountability, and technological integration in law enforcement practices. The changes aim to enhance procedural fairness and efficiency while safeguarding the rights of individuals involved in legal matters.

For detailed study on new criminal laws and issues and way ahead, refer to the article:

https://www.iasgyan.in/sansad-tv-air-summaries/special-three-criminal-laws-to-be-effective-from-july-1

Source:

https://epaper.thehindu.com/ccidist-ws/th/th_international/issues/90105/OPS/GB8D1GURA.1.png?cropFromPage=true

PRACTICE QUESTION

Q. With reference to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) to guide police officers in implementing new provisions of criminal laws, consider the following statements:

  1. SOPs mandate that police officers must obtain written permission from a magistrate before conducting any search operation.
  2. The eSakshya app allows police officers to conduct live streaming of crime scenes to public platforms for immediate public scrutiny.
  3. Special provisions under the SOPs allow police officers to use lethal force during arrests of suspects involved in non-violent crimes.

Which of the statements given above are incorrect?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: d

Explanation:

●Statement 1 is incorrect:  SOPs do not mandate that police officers must obtain written permission from a magistrate before conducting any search operation. However, they do require videography during searches (Section 185), at crime scenes (Section 176), and during property seizures (Section 105) to ensure transparency.

●Statement 2 is incorrect: The eSakshya app does not allow police officers to conduct live streaming of crime scenes to public platforms. Its primary purpose is to record crime scenes, conduct searches, and upload evidence to a cloud-based platform accessible to authorized agencies like judiciary, prosecution, and cyber forensic experts.

●Statement 3 is incorrect. The SOPs include special provisions regarding the use of force by police officers, emphasising the necessity for proportionate and justified force during arrests. However, there are no provisions allowing for lethal force during arrests of suspects involved in non-violent crimes.