The Delhi police have been urged to resume monthly police-civil society meetings. Six civil society organizations have written to the Delhi Police leadership to urgently resume monthly meetings held between the police and women and child rights groups. Between the years 2013 to 2016, the meetings were held regularly. However, in the year 2017, only three meetings have been held. The letter is signed by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Action India, Jagori, and Centre for Social Research, Justice and Care, and Independent Thought. The letter reads as follows:
Date: December 04, 2017
Shri Amulya Patnaik, IPS
Commissioner of Police, Delhi
Delhi Police Headquarter, I.P Estate
ITO, New Delhi-110002
Subject: Resumption of regular monthly meetings with women groups and SPUWAC, Nanakpura
We, the undersigned organisations, write to urge you to restore regular monthly meetings hosted by the Delhi Police with non-governmental organisations, in particular women’s groups, on issues around women’s safety in Delhi.
You may recall that following the gang-rape in December 2012, the Delhi Police adopted several measures to improve women’s safety in Delhi. One of these measures was the initiation of a monthly meeting (last Friday of every month) hosted by the Special Unit for Women and Children to discuss with and consult women’s groups on issues related to women’s safety and the police response to crimes against women. The first meeting was held in January 2013 and until this year, they were held regularly every month with only minor lapses.
However, the frequency of the meetings has fallen since January 2017. As of November, only three meetings have been held this entire year. The first was held on 17th February (postponed from January), the second on 8th August, and the third recently on 9th November, 2017.
Such meetings provide an institutional forum for civil society and higher police leadership to interact on a consistent basis, which is otherwise almost entirely absent. They offer a space to identify gaps in police response, forward issues of procedural violations or other misconduct by police at the police station level on women’s complaints as well as hear or learn of initiatives and practices which are yielding good results. We note that in some cases, quick action was taken by the Delhi Police to address these complaints. Also, the Delhi Police has the benefit of getting effective and practical solutions from women’s and other groups directly working with women victims and communities.
Many of us regularly attended these meetings and seek their reinstatement. In fact, once the monthly meetings are revived, it is a good opportunity to initiate a larger discussion on how the format and content can be improved, particularly in terms of ensuring action is taken against complaints of misconduct or violations to strengthen accountability.
We ask you to urgently take steps to ensure that these meetings are resumed soon on a monthly basis. This is a good practice that goes not just towards improved police-civil society relations but also to find ways to safeguard women in Delhi.
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
Centre for Social Research
Justice and Care
CC: Mr. Sanjay Beniwal, IPS,
Special CP, Women Safety, Airport and Modernization
Delhi Police Headquarter, 6th floor, I.P Estate
ITO, New Delhi-110002
(Copy of letter sent to both for information and necessary action.)