Thiruvananthapuram: In view of the ever-increasing child abuse cases, Kerala Police is planning to strengthen investigation into POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) cases. This follows an earlier Supreme Court directive to ensure that the investigation is completed in a time-bound manner in such cases.
State police chief Anil Kant has submitted a recommendation to the government for setting up special teams in all police districts for probing cases where children are targeted. A total of 380 officers will be needed across 20 police districts as part of the plan.
There are a total of 20 police districts, including city and rural, in the state. In each of the police districts, a 19-member team led by an officer in the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) rank will be formed.
Short of staff
In 2020, the then Director General of Police (DGP) had recommended to create 1,363 posts in various ranks to form POSCO teams. But as this would cause a huge financial burden, the government directed to reduce the number. Subsequently, in last November, a recommendation was given for 478 posts. Based on this, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan convened a high-level meeting. During the meet, the DGP made it clear that the probe into POCSO cases could not be completed on time as there are not enough investigation officers.
The Chief Minister then directed to form a high-level committee led by the Home Secretary and to submit a report. The committee also includes secretaries of finance, law and social justice, and the DGP. The committee asked the DGP to submit a recommendation by reducing the number of new posts as much as possible.
Thus, it has now been decided to form a 19-member team with one DySP, 3 Inspectors, 2 Sub-Inspectors, 2 Assistat Sub-Inspectors and 11 cops in each police district. Thus 380 personnel will be needed across 20 police districts.
In all 20 DySPs are required. Four new DySP posts will also be created.
The current post of 16 narcotics district DySPs would be changed to narcotics-gender justice and would be tasked with investigating POCSO cases. Sixty inspectors, who are station house officers at stations with fewer cases, would be included in the POCSO teams.
Also, 300 new posts, including SIs, should be created. The government would incur a liability of Rs 16.80 crore per year for this.
953 POCSO cases
Currently, there are 953 POCSO cases under investigation in the state. The highest number of cases are in Palakkad: 107.
The numbers in other police districts are: Thiruvananthapuram City 75, Rural 86; Kollam City 19, Rural 68; Pathanamthitta 53, Alappuzha 50, Kottayam 27, Idukki 43; Ernakulam City 28, Rural 43; Thrissur City 20, Rural 42; Malappuram 83; Kozhikode City 92, Rural 34; Wayanad 18; Kannur City 4, Rural 9; Kasaragod 40.
The Crime Branch is separately probing 12 POCSO cases in addition to the above ones.