EOI EXCLUSIVE: DGP spells out initiatives for effective policing in isles

Committed to bridge the gap between police and society: Rajesh Malik
Report by: 
TABASSUM
Port Blair
2 Feb 2017

Director General of Police (DGP), Andaman and Nicobar Police, Rajesh Malik, who assumed charge on the 17th of August 2015, is among one of the most competent IPS officers in the country. Regarded as a no-nonsense officer, Malik’s non-controversial career and his stint as the chief of the Andaman and Nicobar police force is peppered with several highs. Besides initiating a series of steps for proper enforcement of law and order and improve police-public relations, the Andaman and Nicobar Police led by DGP Rajesh Malik also works in tandem with the local administration to make certain benefits of key schemes launched by the Narendra Modi government percolate down to the targeted beneficiaries. Born on 10th November, 1959, Malik is a Master of Science in Botany and joined Indian Police Service in the year 1986 in the AGMUT Cadre. He has held various important assignments of ACP Shahdara Delhi from 1988 to 1990, SP Chandigarh from 1990 to 1992, DCP 5thBn, DAP, Delhi Police from 1992 to 1995, DCP (PM) Security Delhi from 1995 to 1997, SP & DIG Arunachal Pradesh from 2000 to 2002 & Additional Commissioner of Police (Anti-corruption and Special Branch) from 2002-2006. He also served on Central Deputation in SPG as DIG and IGP from 2006 to 2014. Prior to joining Andaman & Nicobar Islands, he served as Special Commissioner of Police (Provisioning & Logistics), Delhi Police. Rajesh Malik is recipient of the prestigious President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Service in the year 2003 and President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 2011.
In an exclusive interview, the Director General of Police fields a volley of questions from Tabassum and outlines achievements, future plans for effective policing.
EOI: As you about to complete 18 months as the DGP of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, how would you like to recount your experience serving this remote territory, dealing with challenges and achievements so far?
DGP: It was a tremendous experience leading the Andaman and Nicobar Police force. The strategic location of these islands makes it vulnerable to various types of threats like poaching, illegal immigration, coastal security etc. Dealing with existing and emerging forms of threat in this geographically distributed territory and maintaining proper law and order has always been priority in my scheme of things.
EOI: From the beginning, you have been focussed on community policing. How much can you claim to have achieved in this direction?
DGP: Bridging the gap between the Police and the society is a continuous process and that can’t be changed overnight. There’s a general perception that the police are not helpful. It has been my constant endeavour to change that. We’re working tireless to integrate technology, police and community to build a force that’s more efficient, proactive and eliminate the existing trust deficit. A series of measures have been taken to make the Police force here more accessible to the people.  Officers are being trained how to reach out to the people and redress their grievances in a more efficient manner. The credibility of the Police force has to be maintained at any cost. The society, on its part, should also approach the Police with any fear or hesitation. 
EOI: What has been the response to some citizen friendly initiatives launched by the Andaman and Nicobar Police like apps for safety of women and children, Lost and Found portal etc?
DGP: The Lost and Found portal has reaped huge response since launch. More than 3000 people mostly tourists have availed benefit from the initiative till date. From the portal, people can obtain a digitally signed copy of the missing report in no time and then apply to the concerned agencies to obtain a duplicate copy. The response to android applications, however, has not been much encouraging mainly owing to connectivity issues prevailing in these islands. We’re hopeful of better results once the internet connectivity here gets a boost. The Help Desk of the Director General of Police has also proved to be useful for the masses. The complaints registered in the Help Desk are monitored closely by senior police officers and they are disposed of in a time-bound manner.
EOI: What are the other major initiatives to better police-public relations?
DGP: The Andaman and Nicobar Police has recently introduced Student Police Cadets in which students of Class VIII to XI will be groomed to become future leaders by inculcating in the them the respect for law, discipline, civic sense, empathy for vulnerable sections of the society and resistance to social evils/anti-social elements. This will also help motivate youth to work with the Police and other enforcement agencies like the Forest and Transport Department. 44 students including 22 girls from Govt. Sr. Sec School, Port Mout in South Andaman, 51 including 30 girls from Govt. Model Sr. Sec School, Mayabunder in the North and Middle Andaman region and 37 including 15 girls from GSSS Malacca, Car Nicobar has been selected to become Student Police Cadets in the first phase. They will be provided proper police uniforms and physical training after school hours. Field visits to places of historical importance, cultural, technological and national importance besides classes on police related subjects, legal matters etc will also be provided to the cadets. The Andaman and Nicobar Police is also working in close synchronization with the Andaman and Nicobar Administration under the leadership of the Lt. Governor, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, to generate awareness on important government schemes launched by the Narendra Modi government besides sensitizing people on the ill-effects of alcohol and tobacco involving NGOs and other social organizations.
EOI: What are your plans to ensure coastal security of this strategically located territory?
DGP: There are some notable achievements in the Coastal Security Scheme Phase-II. The Prime Minister’s Office has recently accorded in-principle approval for providing dedicated satellite connectivity for the Andaman and Nicobar Police. To ensure proper vigil over many inhabited and uninhabited islands of these islands, the Indian Space Research Organisation has also agreed to provide real time images to the Andaman and Nicobar Police once in a week and the frequency is likely to be increased soon. A proposal for procurement of Drones is also under active consideration by the Andaman and Nicobar Administration. The Ministry of Home Affairs has also sanctioned 10 large C-143 vessels and 23 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats for the Police Marine Force and are under construction at Goa Shipyard. Procurement of 10 Automatic Identification System and 20 Gemini systems are also under process. Tender process for construction of MPOCs at Interview Island, Hut Bay and Haddo was underway. The Police is working in close coordination with Coast Guard and Indian Navy to curb incidents of poaching and to motivate the fishing community to be part of the coastal security exercise. The Andaman and Nicobar Police is also committed to protect the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups of these islands.
EOI: The Police Radio, a crucial arm of the Andaman and Nicobar Police, has been long suffering from ageing infrastructure particularly equipments. What’s has been done to address to address those concerns?
DGP: The Police Radio Unit is undisputedly the central communication wing of the Andaman and Nicobar Police. Currently dependent mainly on VHF communication, we’re in the process of updating the communication network by incorporating modern day technology. The Administration has also sanctioned purchase of 52 Satellite Phones and procurement procedures are underway. However, the purchase of Satellite Phones is bound to take some time as only a single authorised supplier is available. Old equipments in the Police Radio Stations in different parts of these islands will be replaced in a phased manner as complete switch over without trials is not practical.
EOI: How effective have been your plans to deal with the challenge posed by burgeoning vehicular population particularly in the city?
DGP: Indeed dealing with the growing numbers of vehicles and maintaining proper traffic in the city is a huge challenge. With limited available resources, the Traffic Police is working industriously to ensure proper traffic system in the city. Unauthorised roadside parking are being dealt with seriously. Services of Home Guards and IRBn personnel are also utilised for the purpose. Awareness camps are conducted a regular intervals to sensitize road users on the importance of traffic regulations. The Police have also gone strict on drunken and rash driving. The Police is also working with the administration to enforce certain recommendations of the Central Road Research Institute which suggested engineering changes in the road network here. Moreover, seven more places have been identified for installation of Traffic Signal Lights in the next three months.