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‘Police need to adopt scientific probe methods’

Former police officer V. Balachandran emphasises on doing away with outdated, colonial methods deployed in policing.

Mamta Chitnis Sen  Mumbai | 15th Mar 2014

ormer police officer V. Balachandran has criticised the Maharashtra police's methods to deal with crime and policing. He feels that the police are still following the methodology of colonial policing.

"It is a bad thing. It has to change. They need to adopt scientific methods of investigation," Balachandran, who is a former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, said.

Balachandran has penned a book titled National Security and Intelligence Management: A New Paradigm. It is a compilation of some of his published articles and lectures in India and abroad from 1998 onwards on India's security issues. It has sections on national security, intelligence, terrorism, police and foreign issues. Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Julio Ribeiro will launch the book on 18 March at the Y.B. Chavan Centre in Mumbai.

Balachandran served in Maharashtra for 17 years before moving on deputation to the Centre.

"The methodology of dealing with crime and policing has not changed ever since the Indian Police Act passed by the British came into effect in 1861," he said.

He agreed that there was growing dissent among policemen in Maharashtra of late but refused to relate it to the government's inefficiency.

"It is the lure of more power that is prompting policemen to join politics. Police officers shunning the police force to join politics in the name of social work are an insignificant lot. Politicians do not have legal authority unlike the police. If you do your job well, the police force even today continues to be one of the topmost areas of social work," Balachandran, a columnist with The Sunday Guardian said.

He said that his friend and former Union Home Secretary Dr Madhav Godbole suggested that he write the book as it could be a "sgood one place ready for reference" stop. Balachandran was also a member of a committee which investigated Mumbai police's role in handling the 26 November 2008 terrorist attack. Former Union Home Secretary Ram Pradhan was the committee's other member. Balachandran has praised the then Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief, the late Hemant Karkare's efforts on the night of the terror attacks in his latest book. "I have mentioned about Karkare's visit to Naya Nagar in Mira Road to attend an Iftar with 2,000 residents. They had promised him that they will work to resist terrorism." Naya Nagar has acquired an identity as terrorists' den after the ATS and the Mumbai police's crime branch picked up some alleged terrorists from that locality in the last couple of years. Balachandran said that India had yet to achieve a higher standard in terms of piecing together intelligence, compared to the United States or other countries. "We have to learn a lot from other countries about how to integrate available intelligence. In fact, that is the main theme of this book, based on my long experience in intelligence handling," he said.

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