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Tamil Nadu Police Commission

Chapter 14

Police Commissionerate System

Origin
14.01 The system of policing in metropolitan areas has historically been
different from that in the mofussil. Chennai, one of the three erstwhile
Presidency Towns, has had a Commissioner of Police as the head of the Police for
long and Chennai City Police celebrated its 150th anniversary recently. Sir
Percival Griffiths8 has narrated the evolution of the Commissionerate in Chennai
City in his book The History of the Indian Police:
When Fort St.George was established [in the 17th century], the company simply
took over the existing organization. This was administered by a hereditary Indian
official known as the Pedda Naik, whose functions perhaps corresponded to those
elsewhere performed by a Kotwal, in that he was responsible for law and order,
and particularly for the prevention of theft and robbery. In accordance with the
general Indian tradition, he was liable to compensate victims of theft or robbery for
the losses and in return, he received certain customs duties. He was assisted by the
force of twenty talliars or watchmen [After the Vellore Mutiny of 1806] a
committee was set up to consider the establishment of an effective Police force in
Madras City The office of the Pedda Naik was abolished, since as set forth in the
terms of reference of the committee the Polygar establishment may, therefore, so
far be considered to be obstructive of Public Justice. It was decided that Police
arrangements for the City should be placed under the charge of a European
Superintendent, and in 1806 Mr. Walter Grant, a senior Magistrate, was appointed
to that office. He was provided with a force of ten Europeans (known as
Constables), who were paid the princely salary of ten pagodas a month), a number
of darogas or inspectors, five hundred peons, thirty mounted peons and twenty
hircarrahs who can best be described either as messengers or subordinate
intelligence agents By the middle of the nineteenth century the population of
Madras City had overgrown the existing Police system and in 1853, Mr. Edward F.
Elliot, who had held the post of Chief Magistrate and Superintendent of Police for
many years was directed to prepare a Police Code. His recommendations that
the Superintendent of Police (now to be known as Commissioner) should be
assisted by two Deputy Commissioners, and that the Commissioner would
continue to be Chief Magistrate These proposals were then implemented by Act
XIII of 1856 passed by the Governor-General and Council, which applied to all the
8

Sir Percival Griffiths K.B.E., C.I.E. Indian Civil Service (Retired), Sometime Scholar of Peterhouse,
Cambridge.

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Presidency Towns The first Commissioner of Madras under the new Act was
Lieut.- Colonel G. C. Boulderson, and he had under him a force of 732, of whom
533, including 11 inspectors, formed the preventive branch, while there were 179,
including 11 darogas, in the detective branch.

14.02 The provisions regulating the Police of the City of Madras were revised
in Madras Act III of 1888. The Act now known as the Chennai City Police Act
vests certain additional powers and a larger measure of autonomy in the
Commissioner of Police as compared to District Superintendents of Police who
are governed by the Madras (now Tamil Nadu) District Police Act 1859. The
Commissioner of Police, for instance, can exercise powers of an executive
magistrate under Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C), subject to such orders as
the State Government may issue. The powers vested in the District Magistrate in
many Special and Local laws can also be exercised by the Commissioner. He can,
for example, exercise powers of preventive detention under Act XIV of 1982. The
Commissioner can license places of public resort. He also has the authority to
prohibit an assembly, meeting or procession, whereas a District Superintendent
of Police can only pass regulatory orders, and that too, if the District or Subdivisional magistrate arrives at a judgment that public assemblies or processions
are likely to cause a breach of the peace.

Commissionerates in Tamil Nadu


14.03 The Commissionerate system was extended to Madurai and Coimbatore
in 1990 and later to Trichy, Salem and Tirunelveli in 1997. Today, the State has
six Commissionerates where the system of policing is different from that in the
rest of the State. Even among these, Chennai City Police is on a different plane in
terms of manpower and workload as may be seen from the table below (figures
rounded off for easy comparison):
Table 14-1 Comparison of Chennai and other Commissionerates in Tamil Nadu
City

Strength
Sd

Number Registered in 2006


FIR

Chennai
Madurai
Coimbatore
Trichy
Salem
Tirunelveli

17,000
3,100
2,600
1,900
1,400
1,100

170,000
28,000
26,000
12,000
18,000
9,700

Petty
case
31,000
10,000
3,600
3,800
3,500
2,000

MVP
case
720,000
160,000
260,000
64,000
43,000
17,000

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FIRs
pending

Petitions

Warrants

Summons

43,000
7,800
8,000
7,800
3,000
3,600

8,000
1,500
600
530
640
160

46,000
18,000
21,000
10,000
12,000
15,000

31,300
5,860
4,390
2,380
2,300
1,730

Tamil Nadu Police Commission


14.04 Based on the resources and workload, the Commissionerates may be
divided into three groups: i) Chennai, ii. Coimbatore and Madurai, iii. Trichy,
Salem and Tirunelveli.
14.05 As already noted, the Commissionerate system involves devolution of
more powers on the head of the Police force for the city, including the powers of
a District Magistrate and Executive Magistrate. The Police is organized on more
professional lines, which relieve the District Collector of the burden on law and
order and crime matters, enabling him to concentrate more on development and
coordination. The larger Police Stations and the presence of more senior officers
contribute to better policing in urban areas with large concentration of
population and distinct urban-oriented problems.
Recommendations
14.06 In view of the changing nature of policing requirements of urban areas, it
may be appropriate to open more Commissionerates depending upon the requirements.
Maharashtra has as many as nine Commissionerates. Places like Tiruppur are
emerging as urban centres with problems common to big cities and the oldfashioned rural system of policing will not serve the needs of the public. The
Government of India is also seized of this issue as is evident from the fact that it
is embarked on a scheme of special financing for mega-city policing,
underscoring the point that the nature of policing in urban areas is qualitatively
different. The Commission suggests that the Government may consider more
Commissionerates after an evaluation of the requirements.

Rank of Commissioner
14.07 The Commissioners of Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy, Salem and
Tirunelveli are generally of the rank of DIG. Occasionally, IGPs and ADGPs have
headed some of these Commissionerates. This difference in the rank affects the
chain of command. When the Commissioner is of the rank of DIG, he reports to
and works under the control of the zonal IGP. When an officer of the rank of IGP
is posted as Commissioner, he reports directly to the ADGP Law and Order. On
those occasions when an ADGP is posted as Commissioner, neither the ADGP
Law and Order nor the zonal IGP has control over the concerned city. Further
these cities have few Police Stations (numbering from 7 to 16) and limited
resources in terms of manpower and equipment. In the event of a problem, a
zonal IGP would be able to mobilise resources in his zone and make them
available to the Commissioner in an emergency. When the Commissioner is of a

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higher rank, the IG is not kept in the picture and is not therefore able to act. This
situation also could lead to lack of coordination between neighbouring units.
14.08 Originally the Commissioner of Police, Chennai was in the rank of a DIG.
In course of time, this has been elevated to the rank of ADGP. Considering the
size of Chennai City and its problems, it is appropriate that a senior officer of this
rank is in charge as the Commissioner. This is also the case in the other
metropolises in the country. On one occasion, an officer of the rank of DGP was
posted as Commissioner. Again, this posed administrative and co-ordination
problems.
Recommendations
14.09 The Commission recommends that there should be only one officer of the rank of
DGP within the force and hence the Commissioner of Chennai should not be above the
rank of ADGP.
14.10 The Commissioners of Police for Coimbatore, Madurai, Salem, Trichy and
Tirunelveli should be of the rank of a DIG working under the control of the zonal IGP to
ensure better coordination.

Chennai Commissionerate Jurisdiction


14.11 Till about three years back, Chennai had about 80 Police Stations. After
the merger of the erstwhile Chengalpattu East Police district, Chennai now has
121 Police Stations, 35 All-Women Police Stations, 87 Traffic Stations, 68 Traffic
Investigation wings and a host of Special units. As many as 111 of the Police
Stations also have crime wings. Central Crime Branch itself consists of 25 teams.
In short, there are well over 400 units working under the Commissioner.
Further, the jurisdiction extends from Manali New Town in the North to
Peerkankaranai in the South. The area has a heterogenous character with many
villages and panchayats inherited from the Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur
districts, while these areas no doubt benefit from city pattern of policing, the city
Police has an unenviable task. While districts have been split for administrative
convenience, the reverse has happened with Chennai City Police.
14.12 A comparison with other metropolitan areas is furnished below:
Table 14-2 Area, population in Police Stations of major metros
City
Delhi
Chennai
Bangalore
Mumbai
Kolkata

Area (sq km)


1483
894
648
603
185

Population (lakh)
138
72
52
132
45

169

Police Stations
129
124
95
86
49

Police Strength
54,000
17,000
13,000
42,000
25,000

Tamil Nadu Police Commission


Source: Additional Commissioner of Police, Chennai

14.13 Delhi is like a State and is on a different footing. Among the other
metropolitan cities, Chennai has the largest area and the largest number of
Stations.
14.14 Mumbai has three Commissionerates, viz., Mumbai, Thane and Navi
Mumbai. A similar division will be advantageous for Chennai too, as smaller,
compact units will be more manageable.
Recommendations
14.15 Chennai City Police may be bifurcated to facilitate effective administration and
management by forming one more Commissionerate. The Chennai Commissionerate
could include the core area of Chennai City including the airport while the suburban and
peripheral areas could be under a separate Commissioner.
14.16 As pointed out elsewhere, each Police Station locks up certain manpower
on routine maintenance chores, like Sentry, Writer, etc. Since the
Commissionerate Police Stations work in shifts, more manpower is wasted in
such non-productive duties. Overheads on buildings, furniture, etc. are also
involved for each Police Station. Resources can be more effectively used when
there are fewer Police Stations. The Commission recommends a detailed review of
the location of the Police Stations in Chennai to find out whether some Stations could be
wound up by merging their jurisdiction and manpower with some others. This will
result in savings as well as availability of more resources for the remaining
Stations.

Chennai Commissionerate Functional Jurisdiction


14.17 In 1929, Charles B. Cunningham, the then Commissioner of Police,
remodelled the territorial jurisdiction of the City by introducing functional
division of the force under three broad heads: Law and Order, Crime, and
Traffic. This system was partially reversed four years back by merger of Law
and Order and Crime.
Posts of Deputy Commissioners and Assistant
Commissioners, Crime were abolished and the territorial DCs and ACs were
made responsible for Law and Order as well as Crime, to bring them on a par
with Superintendents of Police in the districts. This move was probably adopted
because crime staff had limited resources and lower motivation. The purpose
seems to be to enable DCs to use their combined resources for both crime and
law and order work when they are made responsible for both aspects. Below
ACs, however, there is still functional division with separate set of staff for crime
and law and order. The problem now seems to be that crime staff are diverted

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for law and order work which always takes precedence. Another problem is that
there is no single functionary in the City Police hierarchy other than the
Commissioner who has an overall picture of the crime situation in the city. Each
DC or JC will only have a territorial perspective and there is none to look at the
broad picture of crime patterns and evolve strategies and monitor their
implementation across the city. Even in the matter of law and order, again it is
the Commissioner who has the over-all responsibility. When there is a big
procession or movement of VVIP or a major law and order problem stretching
across the jurisdictions of many DCs and JCs, the coordination becomes the
personal responsibility of the Commissioner. Considering the size of the city and
the force, this is a difficult job.
14.18 A second-tier of command with functional responsibility will strengthen
the hands of the Commissioner and also improve the functioning. The
Commissioner must be responsible for policy and over-all functioning but under
him, there must be a set of officers accountable for important aspects of work
which have a bearing on the entire force.
14.19 Although Deputy Commissioners are equivalent to Superintendents of
Police, they do not have command over the same kind of resources. They have
to operate with staff and vehicles allotted to Stations under their control and
have to depend on DC, AR or DC, MT for any additional resources required by
them. In this context, the break-up of the strength of City Police is worth noting:
Chart 14-1 : Chennai City Police Manpower

AWPS Security
Sp units 4%
3%
5%
Crime
10%

L&O
33%

Traffic
17%

AR

28%

14.20 Twenty eight percent of the total strength is in AR over which DCs and
JCs have no direct control or command. In the absence of an exclusive
coordinating functionary for law and order work, this causes many practical
problems in day- to-day functioning.
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Tamil Nadu Police Commission


Recommendations
14.21 The division of responsibility in the Commissionerate hierarchy for Chennai may
be as follows:
Commissioner of Police should be responsible for policy, planning,
coordination and over-all functioning of the force.
The three main areas of Police functioning are Law and Order, Crime and
Traffic. Each of these needs to have an over-all coordinating functionary. The
Commission recommends that Chennai City Police may have three Additional
Commissioners designated as Additional Commissioner (Law and Order), Additional
Commissioner (Crime) and Additional Commissioner (Traffic). They will be
responsible for strategy within their area of functioning and coordination of
the units under their control. Apart from the Police Stations, Control Room,
AR, MT, Secretariat Security District, Mounted Branch and Dog Squad may
be under the control of Additional Commissioner (Law and Order). The
Crime wings of Police Stations will also be under his control. CCB, Cyber
Crime Cell, SDFPB, MFSL, CRB and any other specialised Investigation wings
(including Homicide Squad and Motor Vehicle theft squad) may be under the
control of Additional Commissioner (Crime).
Traffic and Traffic
Investigation Wing will be supervised by Additional Commissioner (Traffic).
JCs and DCs will be responsible for tactics and effective functioning of the
Police Stations and other units under their control.
JC, Headquarters in charge of administrative and financial matters and DC, IS
may be under the direct charge of the Commissioner.

Chennai City Armed Reserve


14.22 As already pointed out, about 28% of the sanctioned strength of the City
Police is in the Armed Reserve. The deployment of the A.R on one day is as
follows:
Table 14-3 Chennai City Deployment
Deployment
Guards
OD
Security
Administration
Courts
Miscellaneous
OD as drivers
Escort
Casualties
Striking forces
Available

172

Total
1156
678
453
265
209
185
156
28
509
157
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Chapter 14
Police Commissionerate System
14.23 The City AR provides as many as 222 guards:
Type of Guards
Banks and other paid guards
Protected persons
Judges
Ministers
Government offices (Central and
State)
Consulate and High
Commissions
Others

Number
of Guards
30
28
46
34
54
17
13

14.24 It may be noted that about 35% of the strength is deployed on Guards,
Security and Courts, basically performing watch and ward duties. Another
problem is that a sizeable portion of the strength is on OD (other duties) in other
offices.
14.25 About 150 persons from AR are utilized as drivers because posts of
drivers have not been sanctioned for a large number of vehicles.
14.26 Diversion of AR personnel as drivers and for other purposes for lack of
sanction for these jobs results in lack of availability of AR for law and order
duties.
Recommendations
14.27 Lack of sanction of posts of drivers results in diversion of Armed Reserve
strength as well as local Police. The Commission recommends that posts of drivers
must be sanctioned for all vehicles, not only for Chennai City but also for all districts and
other units.
14.28 There is a tendency to utilize two drivers for each vehicle on the ground that
the vehicle may be required at any time; this is waste of resources. To overcome
this, the following suggestions are made:
The Control Room may have at its disposal a complement of vehicles that
may be used by any officer in an emergency.
Officers may be authorized to drive the vehicles when drivers are not
available, provided they have valid driving licences. In fact, for certain units
like City Crime Branch (CCB) (and even some special units in the State
Police), allowing officers to drive the vehicles will reduce the diversion of
manpower for driving.

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Tamil Nadu Police Commission

Specialised investigation units


14.29 Chennai City has a specialised unit called City Crime Branch (CCB) which
looks into white-collar offences. At present, CCB in Chennai is headed by a
Deputy Commissioner and has a sanctioned strength of 1 DC, 2 ADCs, 9 ACs, 24
Inspectors, 57 Sub Inspectors and 204 other ranks.
14.30 The following are the cases handled by CCB during the year 2006.
Table 14-4 Cases handled by Chennai CCB
Head

Cheating
Forgery
Misappropriation
Criminal Breach of
Trust
Bank Fraud
Job Racket
Gambling Act

No. of
cases

458
51
12
8
106
74
6

Head

No. of
cases

Usury
NDPS Act
TMM Act
Counterfeit
Currency
Copyright Act
Passport Fraud
Cyber Crime

9
2
3
4
161
68
13

Head

No. of
cases

Unregistered Chits
Arms Act
Servant Theft
Obscene
Photographs
Kidnapping
Criminal Trespass
Lottery Regulation
Act

14.31 CCB consists of 25 teams with each team being assigned a specific subject
like Cheating, Impersonation, Document fraud, Forgery, Gangsters,
Job racket, etc.
14.32 It is a sad reflection of our priorities that Chennai City Police has an
exclusive unit with over 300 personnel to deal with white-collar offences but has
no such dedicated squad to handle murder cases. During 2005, there were 123
murders in Chennai City. These cases were all handled by the jurisdiction
officers. Considering that the city has more than 120 Police Stations commanded
by about a dozen Deputy Commissioners, it is quite likely that similarities in
murder cases may be lost sight of when they are handled by different sets of
officers. Sustained attention to an undetected murder case may not be there after
a few days, when the Inspector has to attend to some other work.
14.33 Similarly, motor vehicle thefts (thefts of vehicles or thefts from vehicles)
need co-ordinated action since these are likely to be committed by organized
gangs. An organized crime requires an organized response.
Recommendations
14.34 Murder cases fall into two categories: whodunits where the culprits are
not known and smoking gun cases which are open and shut cases where the

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9
3
2
1
3
1
1

Chapter 14
Police Commissionerate System
culprits are known. The first category requires sustained attention to solve the
case, by ascertaining the motive and identifying the culprits. Second category
involves mainly the arrest of the accused and systematic collection of evidence.
Many of the murder cases in the state fall in this category because murder is
mostly a case of aggravated assault committed in the heat of passion or as a
result of sudden provocation. Such cases can very well be investigated by
jurisdiction officers. The whodunits must, however, be entrusted to a
specialised unit. The Commission suggests the creation of a Homicide Squad to
take up investigation of all such cases. The Homicide Squad should take up
investigation of all murders in which accused are not known, right from the
beginning. All officers of the squad must visit the scene of every such murder so
that all of them are familiar with the modus operandi and other features of such
murders throughout the city. One officer could be nominated as a lead
investigator to pursue the case further.
14.35 The Commission also recommends the creation of two more squads:
Motor Vehicle Thefts Squads
Serious and Organized Crimes Squad.
14.36 The Motor Vehicle Thefts Squad may take up investigation of thefts of and
thefts from motor vehicles. The Organized Crimes Squad can take up cases of
abduction, ransom and important property cases. Again, cases in which culprits
are known can be handled by local Police, other cases which require detection
can be taken over by these squads. A special squad like this will be able to
analyse the data and focus on the gang behind such cases, which will help in
prevention of such occurrences.
14.37 Homicide Squad, Motor Vehicle Theft Squad and Organized Crimes
Squad can also come under one Deputy Commissioner viz. DC, Special
Investigation Team who can work under the control of overall control of
Additional Commissioner (Crime).
These steps will strengthen the crimedetection wing of the city Commissionerate, which is at present weak.

Powers of Commissioners
14.38 On a proposal sent by the DGP that all powers vested in the
Commissioner of Police, Chennai may be conferred on the other Commissioners,
the Government has pointed out that powers have already been delegated to the
Commissioners of Madurai and Coimbatore and that the other three
Commissioners derive relevant powers from the statutes themselves under: i)
Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act 1911, ii) Explosives Act, iii) Arms Act and
Rules, iv) Petroleum Act and Rules, v) Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, vi)
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Tamil Nadu Police Commission


Mental Health Act and vii) Prevention of Corruption Act. Regarding certain
other Acts, the Government has rejected the suggestion for delegation of powers
to these Commissioners.
Recommendations
14.39 The Commission suggests that the orders of the Government in G.O Ms
No.1140 Home (Pol.VIII), Dept. dated 27 November 2006 may be reviewed in respect of
the following Acts:
i)
Police (Incitement to Disaffection) Act, 1922. Section 5 of this Act
empowers the District Magistrate or in the case of a Presidency Town
the Commissioner of Police to accord sanction for trial of offences. The
Government has stated that since the Act mentions Presidency Towns,
the powers cannot be delegated to the Commissioners of Trichy, Salem
and Tirunelveli as these cities are not declared as metropolitan cities.
It is seen that Andhra Pradesh has enacted a state amendment
substituting the phrase in the case of a Presidency Town of the
Commissioner of Police with the phrase in the case of cities of
Hyderabad and Secunderabad, of the Commissioner of Police.
Similarly, Maharashtra has substituted a Presidency Town with a
Presidency Town or any other area under the charge of a
Commissioner of Police. A similar enactment may be made and the
powers may be vested in the Commissioners of Police since this law
deals specifically with discipline of the Police force.
ii)
The reasoning mentioned above will also apply to Tamil Nadu
Restriction of Habitual Offenders Act, 1948.
iii)
Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1908. Section 17 A (ii) authorizes the
District Magistrate or the Commissioner of Police in a Presidency
Town to take possession of a notified place (with reference to unlawful
associations). Again the Government has turned down the proposal for
delegation on the ground that the Act specifically mentions
Presidency Towns. In Maharashtra, the Act has been suitably
amended to empower the Commissioner of any area for which a
Commissioner of Police is appointed. Tamil Nadu Government itself
has made many amendments under this law. Hence, the powers under
this Act could also be delegated to all Commissioners by necessary
amendments. Eventually, it is the Police who have to enforce action
against unlawful associations and it will be only appropriate to
delegate these powers to the Commissioners.

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iv)

v)

vi)

vii)

Cinematograph Act 1952. Section 9 of the Act designates the District


Magistrate as the authority with power to grant licences for exhibition
of films. Section 2(d) defines that the District Magistrate in relation to a
Presidency Town means the Commissioner of Police. The Government
has, however, stated that under this Act, the District Collector is the
competent authority. This may also be appropriately reviewed in the
light of section 2(d).
Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959.
Section 4(A) vests certain powers in the Commissioners of Police,
Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore. Similar powers may also be
extended to the other Commissioners.
Tamil Nadu Exhibition of Films on TV Screen through Video Cassette
Recorders and Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1984. The
powers vested in the Commissioner of Police in respect of the city of
Madras may be extended to other Commissioners in respect of their
cities.
Tamil Nadu Scrap Merchants and Dealers in Second-hand Property
and Owners of Automobile Workshops and Tinker Shops (Regulation,
Control and Licensing) Rules 1987: The Government has stated that the
question of vesting powers on the Commissioners of Police, Trichy,
Salem and Tirunelveli will be examined and orders issued separately.
Automobile workshops and similar establishments need to be properly
regulated so that they do not hinder traffic. This is a primary concern
of the Police and hence, the powers may be delegated to the
Commissioners.

14.40 The advantage of having a Commissionerate is the availability of a


number of senior Police officers. From the point of view of administration, it
would be advantageous to delegate powers to these officers, especially in matters relating
to Police, traffic and assembly of people. The Commission recommends that powers may
be delegated to the Commissioners and that uniformity may be maintained among all
Commissionerates in this regard.
Jurisdiction of other Commissionerates

14.41 Trichy City now has only 12 Police Stations, excluding All Women Police
Stations. It has been suggested by the Commissioner of Police that four more
Stations from Trichy district viz. Tiruverambur, Ramji Nagar, Manikandam and
Toll gate may be annexed to Trichy district. A similar suggestion has been made
that the jurisdiction of Madurai City, which now has 16 Police Stations, may be

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expanded by including 13 more Police Stations in the adjoining areas. The
Airport and the Madurai High Court and the Madurai Kamaraj University are
some of the important institutions which fall outside the jurisdiction of the
Madurai Commissioner. Similarly, Tirunelveli City has only seven Police
Stations and the possibility of adding neighbouring Police Stations may be
examined.
Recommendations
14.42 The investment made in setting up Commissionerates and the resources
available for these Police units could be utilized optimally by expanding the
jurisdiction of the smaller Commissionerates (Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem, Trichy
and Tirunelveli). This will ensure better policing in the suburbs and satisfy the
needs of the public. It will also ensure better coordination of policing in the town
as well as the suburbs. Unlike in the case of Chennai, these Commissionerates
are small and will still be manageable even after expansion of the area.
Infrastructure for Commissionerates

14.43 Chennai City recently got 100 Hyundai vehicles mainly for patrolling.
This is over and above a large number of vehicles already available for the City.
In contrast, some of the other Commissionerates are poorly equipped. Modern
Control Rooms have been or are proposed to be set up in all the
Commissionerates. These will be effective only if the control room has adequate
patrol vehicles to respond to emergency calls.
Recommendations
14.44 The requirements for vehicles for the cities may be standardized and the number of
patrol vehicles for the smaller Commissionerates, especially Madurai, Trichy, Salem and
Tirunelveli needs to be augmented.

Modern Control Rooms


14.45 A modern Control Room with Computer-Aided Despatch and Automatic
Vehicle Location system was introduced in Chennai first and this has been or is
being replicated in other Commissionerates. The break-up of calls received in
Chennai Control Room in January 2007 is given below:
Table 14-5 No. of calls received in Chennai Control Room
Type of call
Calls requiring Police
response
Status enquiry
General enquiry calls
Disconnected calls
Total

Number
7,515
115
10,143
1,22,739
1,40,512

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14.46 About 87% of the calls are disconnected calls, in which the callers
disconnect after finding the Control Room at the other end. This problem seems
to be faced by London Metropolitan Police also, as they report: A great many
accidental calls come from mobile phones, often when phone keypads get
knocked or squashed while the phones are in people's pockets or bagsMost
mobile telephones have a keypad lock that will prevent accidental dialling to 999,
however keypad locks do not often guard against another type of accidental call.
The European emergency number is 112 and this number will override keypad
locks so care should still be taken to prevent the keypad being knocked or
pressed accidentally. The reason for so many disconnected calls in the city is not
known and must be studied and suitable action taken to reduce the number.
14.47 The Control Room in Chennai thus handles about 16 lakh calls in a year,
of which only about one lakh require some form of Police response. London
Police, covering roughly the same size of population, handles 25 lakh calls in a
year, and after excluding non-emergency calls, frivolous calls and accidental
calls, about five lakh calls are estimated to be ones requiring emergency
response. May be the number should be popularised and response improved.
14.48 All the telephone calls are now evenly distributed among the ten
Telephone Operators who take down details and generate chalans which are
transmitted online to the concerned Zonal Control Room (North, South, Central
or Traffic) which then takes command of the incident. At present these Zonal
Control Rooms are manned by one Police Telecommunication Branch operator
S.I and one Constable. The overall functioning of the Control Room is supervised
by an Assistant Commissioner of Police (AR).
14.49 The following vehicles are monitored by the Control Room in Chennai:
Table 14-6 Patrol vehicles in Chennai
Type of vehicle
Patrol Vehicles
Wings Patrol Vehicles (Hyundai cars)
Blue Brigade motor cycles
Yellow Brigade motor cycles
Beat Marshals motor cycles
Wreckers
Total

Number
114
90
77
78
172
19
550

14.50 The majority of the vehicles, however, are assigned to the Police Stations
and they mainly attend to the calls relating to their jurisdiction.

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Recommendations
14.51 The Control Room is the brain of the operation command for a
Commissionerate. Proper monitoring and supervision are essential to ensure
adequate, graded response. The Commission recommends that an Assistant
Commissioner (Category-I) may be posted in charge of the Control Room. In addition,
the Zonal Control Rooms may be supervised by Inspectors (Category-I) as they
will be in a better position to assess situations and also take control in serious
emergencies. What is more important is to train these personnel adequately so
that their response is quick and effective. What the Commission witnessed in the
central control room, Chennai was disappointing huge investment on
equipment had not been put to full use. It is essential that senior officers take
interest in the proper functioning of the control room, by periodic inspection and
supervision. The Control Room may work under the control of Additional
Commissioner Law and Order, who should be made responsible for the proper
functioning of the control room.

Quality of policing in Commissionerates


14.52 The system of policing in the Commissionerate should be qualitatively
different from that in rural areas. Merely increasing the manpower or fleet
strength will certainly not make an impact. The citizens should feel that Police
help is more easily and quickly accessible. In an emergency, a citizen should be
able to call the Control Room, without having to bother about the jurisdiction of
the Police Station, and get the Police at his door-steps within minutes.
14.53 Although this may happen now, there is little difference in the system of
policing in the Commissionerates as compared to rural areas in subsequent
action. The patrol teams of the Control Room deliver only first-aid, that too
mostly in law and order situations. If a person who has lived for long in a village
or a small town moves to the City, he will notice the malls and the sophisticated
hospitals and five-star hotels and many other things which may lead to
comfortable living. Will he experience the same improved quality and comfort in
Police service? Of course, he will notice that traffic is better regulated (though
movement is slow, thanks to various reasons). He may also observe more Police
presence and more prompt response to law and order problems. But as a victim
of a burglary or a robbery, he still has to go to a Police Station and wait, often
indefinitely, to get an audience from the SHO and get a case registered. The
faster pace of life in urban areas means that a resident will be averse to having to
go to a Police Station and wait there. A woman who withdrew jewellery from
her locker in a Bank found after getting down from the bus that her hand-bag

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Police Commissionerate System
had been cut open and the jewellery taken away by some criminals. When she
went to the Police Station immediately, she was told to come after a few hours as
the Crime Inspector was away. On going back to the Station at the appointed
time, she was asked to wait at home for the officers to visit her. The officers did
visit her home but she was asked to go to the Police Station the next morning to
get a case registered. After all this, a case was registered under the heading
Property Missing. This instance reveals the travails that an ordinary citizen has
to undergo even in a Commissionerate to get a case registered.
Recommendations
14.54 The public having to go to the Police must be the exception in
Commissionerates, perhaps only in emergencies. The framework of policing
should be such that the Police go to the public. When a patrol team reaches a
scene from where a call is made, a complaint should be taken from the concerned on the
spot and a case should be registered. The complainant and the available witnesses must
be examined there itself. Some legal changes may have to be made to put into
practice, but this is essential to improve delivery of service.
14.55 Most professional Police forces advise the public on when to seek help from the
Control Room or emergency services (for instance, when there is a danger to life or a
crime is in progress) and when to visit a Station. This distinction is essential so that
patrol teams are not overwhelmed by routine calls and are available to attend to
actual emergencies.
Such advice must be widely advertised in
Commissionerates. The public may also be allowed to lodge complaints
telephonically or electronically in certain situations.
14.56 The Commission recommends that the functioning of patrol teams in cities
and the procedure for registration of complaints are suitably redesigned with appropriate
legal changes, so that the necessity for public to go to a Police Station is minimized.

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