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DGPs, IGPs Meet: Police's Role in Covid-19 Pandemic, Internal Security Situation Discussed

Representative Image

Representative Image

The state police chiefs will share their experiences in handling the pandemic and how the police have helped distressed people and migrant workers during the nationwide lockdown.

Key role played by police during times of disaster and pandemic and left wing extremism were some of the issues discussed on the first day of the annual DGPs and IGPs conference that began on Wednesday. About 250 officers in the rank of DGP and IGP from all states, union territories and central government are taking part in the four-day virtual meet, organised by the Intelligence Bureau and being attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and NSA Ajit Doval among others.

Addressing the conference on Wednesday, Shah highlighted policy issues on national security and applauded the role of police as frontline warriors in crisis and disaster management. He emphasised that there should be zero tolerance against terrorism.

While stressing upon the need to ensure safety and dignity of the citizens, the home minister further underlined the important of capacity building of police to deal with emergency situations and disasters. He directed that security agencies should have a coordinated approach in national security scenario and achieve the target of making India a developed and safe Nation.

The Prime Minister later joined the conference virtually and reviewed the action points of the previous conference.

A review of the internal security situation was presented to the prime minister and the home minister and discussions were held to improve the overall security scenario with more people-friendly initiatives.

A session was also held on various initiatives of security forces on left wing extremism (LWE) and discussions were held to improve security situation in affected areas.

The conference further discussed the role of police during the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of safety protocol by the police in future. There were suggestions of follow-up actions to develop an SOP to manage various types of emergency situations.

According to an estimate, nearly 80,000 police and paramilitary personnel were infected by COVID-19 in the country and about 650 of them succumbed to the virus. Among the infected include about 35,000 paramilitary personnel and 25,000 policemen in Maharashtra, the worst hit state in India. Among the deaths include 100 paramilitary personnel and about 250 in Maharashtra Police, almost all of them while playing different roles during the pandemic.

There has been considerable change in the format, venue, topics covered, deliverables in the DGPs and IGPs conference since 2014. The number of business sessions and topics have increased significantly with focus on improving policing in service of people, another official said.

Before 2014, deliberations largely focused on national security matters only. Since 2014, these conferences have a twin focus of national security as well as core policing issues, including prevention and detection of crime, community policing, law and order, improving police-image etc, the official said. Earlier, the conference was Delhi-centric, with officers coming together only for the conference. Residing in the same premises since 2014, over a period of 3-4 days, has served to build heightened sense of unity amongst officers of all cadres and organisations.

This year, the virtual conference has enabled an increase in participation of all levels of officers from each state, including cutting-edge SP-rank officers. Direct interaction of top brass of police with the head of government has resulted in convergence of views on crucial challenges faced by the country and emergence of doable recommendations, the official said.

In the past few years, the topics are selected after detailed discussions with the highest echelons of the police service. Once selected, several iterations of presentations are made before committees of DGs in order to encourage participation and to incorporate ideas from the field and from younger officers. As a result, all presentations are now broad-based, content-intensive and carry a set of cogent, actionable recommendations.

Since 2015, detailed follow-up of recommendations of past conferences is the norm and is the topic of the first business session, attended by the prime minister and the home minister. Recommendations are tracked closely by the conference secretariat, led by the Intelligence Bureau, with the help of nodal officers of the states.

From 2017 onwards, guest speakers were invited to share their knowledge and experiences with delegates. Speakers from various fields were invited, including management (Ashish Nanda), cyber security (Sanjay Katkar), advanced forensics (J M Vyas), radicalisation (Marc Sageman, USA) etc.

Decisions made in the past few conferences led to significant policy changes leading to improvement of policing in the country, including setting higher standards for effective policing in rural and urban areas, and improved methods of modern policing, based on SMART parameters. The DGPs and IGPs conference is an annual affair where senior police officials of the states and the Centre meet and discuss issues of importance.

The Modi government has been organising it outside the national capital since it came to power in 2014. The previous conferences were held in Guwahati, Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, Hyderabad, Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh, Kevadia in Gujarat and Pune.

With inputs from PTI

first published:December 02, 2020, 21:17 IST