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Along with upgraded policing, 'justice system should be improved'
Indian government has decided to invest Rs. 1,260-crore in a bid to provide high-tech security cover to the national capital by upgrading Delhi police which comes under its purview. Government's ministry of home affairs will take the charge of bringing the desired change in the Delhi police through its Safe City Project.

From video analytics to facial scanning, the latest plan by the government covers everything. The police will be able to run a background check on any suspicious person or vehicle anywhere in the city after the implementation of the project. Apart from this, the planned system will also help in detecting explosives, alerting about perimeter intrusion, reading biometrics, detecting speed violations at night, and even analyzing prisoner movement and digital crime mapping, reported The Times of India.

The report says that the first steps towards implementation of the project, to which the World Bank is also expected to contribute a sum of Rs. 40 crore, have already been taken. The Safe City project has two important parts i.e. Integrated Intelligent Surveillance Systems (IISS) and the Automated Traffic Management Systems (ATMS), followed by capacity building and initiatives for upgrading.

The big question which surfaces here is whether this Rs. 1000-cr plus project is enough towards building confidence among the residents of Delhi that the national capital is safe? What else should be done to boost the confidence of the people, who are very scared especially regarding women security after the horrific rape and murder of a 23-year old girl last year? The one answer could be reforms in legal system to ensure speedy justice in cases, free legal help to poor, more number of courts and judges in the city, hearing of sensitive cases on priority basis etc.

General Secretary of All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) Sudha Sundararaman while appreciating the government's steps towards upgrading the police system in the capital emphasized on the need of brining improvements in judicial process.

“I am glad that this step has been taken to upgrade the police system. But this is just one thing. There is also a need to improve the justice delivery system. There are thousands of cases pending in various courts. Justice delayed is justice denied. So the government should increase the number of judges and the courts to ensure a speedy justice,” Sudha Sundararaman told this citizen journalist .

Many criminal cases go in the favor of accused because of lack of witnesses, who either turn hostile due to complex police and judicial system or they fear that the accused could harm them. So there is a need to develop a legal system where a witness feels safe and secured.

Sundararaman said that witness protection scheme should be part of the legal reforms. “It was one of our recommendations that immediate measures should be taken to ensure protection of witnesses. There are cases where either witnesses could not speak what they want to or they turn hostile from their statements because they fear for their life. When this happens the case against the accused becomes weak. The witnesses should be ensured that they are safe, so that they do not turn hostile due to any threat,” added Sundararaman.

The government's Safe City Project will enable a police officer on the road to easily configure whether the vehicle he or she has intercepted for checks is stolen or the driver has crime record using an hand-held personal digital assistant (PDA), powered by IISS. Automated Traffic Management Systems (ATMS) will provide solution to many traffic issues like from tracking e-challans to checking speeding at night with night-vision speed detectors. Peak loads and junction management will also be analyzed through this system.

The project aims to install 6,625 CCTV cameras at 479 locations in addition to already planned 5,333 cameras. Under the project the traffic police will also install another 5,000 CCTVs bringing the total number of installed cameras around 16,928. This will mean that Delhi's every nook and corner will be under constant watch, which is no doubt a big boost to the security.

The safe city project will also upgrade PCR, cyber security, training of field officers, data integration with private entities like hotels at the local level and disaster fighting authorities like fire brigade and National Disaster Management Authority.

Parshwati Saha, a PR practitioner said: "I think this is just hogwash. The money is only pocketed by some in the name of ensuring safety and security to women. Announcements are one thing and there actual implementation is another thing. A mere announcement is only a poll gimmick. If there are no rapes and no violation of woman's rights permanently then only we can applaud such a scheme.”

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