Key role played by police during times of disaster and pandemic, new-age crimes like cyber terrorism and radicalisation of youth are some of the issues to be discussed at the annual DGPs and IGPs conference that began on Wednesday, officials said.
About 250 officers in the rank of DGP and IGP from all states, union territories and central government are taking part in the four-day virtual meet, organised by the Intelligence Bureau and being attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and NSA Ajit Doval among others.
"Union Home Minister @AmitShah addressed the inaugural session of All India DGP/IGP Conference-2020 via video conferencing today in New Delhi. HM has also awarded Police Medals for meritorious service to the valiant officers virtually," Shah's office tweeted.
This is for the first time ever, the annual conference of the country's top police brass is being held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The key role played by police during disaster and pandemic, new-age crimes like cyber terrorism, radicalisation of youth and Pakistan-sponsored militants in Jammu and Kashmir will be discussed during the deliberations, to be held in multiple sessions, a home ministry official said.
As the role of police during the ongoing pandemic has come under wholesome praise from all quarters, the meeting is expected to discuss how to enhance their knowledge and capabilities to handle natural disasters and such health crisis and even help in mass vaccination drive.
The state police chiefs will share their experiences in handling the pandemic and how the police have helped distressed people and migrant workers during the nationwide lockdown.
The prime minister is likely to make special mention about the exemplary work police personnel have done while fighting the coronavirus, the official said.
According to an estimate, nearly 80,000 police and paramilitary personnel were infected by COVID-19 in the country and about 650 of them succumbed to the virus.
Among the infected include about 35,000 paramilitary personnel and 25,000 policemen in Maharashtra, the worst hit state in India. Among the deaths include 100 paramilitary personnel and about 250 in Maharashtra Police, almost all of them while playing different roles during the pandemic.
There has been considerable change in the format, venue, topics covered, deliverables in the DGPs and IGPs conference since 2014.
The number of business sessions and topics have increased significantly with focus on improving policing in service of people, another official said.
Before 2014, deliberations largely focused on national security matters only.
Since 2014, these conferences have a twin focus of national security as well as core policing issues, including prevention and detection of crime, community policing, law and order, improving police-image etc, the official said.
Earlier, the conference was Delhi-centric, with officers coming together only for the conference. Residing in the same premises since 2014, over a period of 3-4 days, has served to build heightened sense of unity amongst officers of all cadres and organisations.
This year, the virtual conference has enabled an increase in participation of all levels of officers from each state, including cutting-edge SP-rank officers.
Direct interaction of top brass of police with the head of government has resulted in convergence of views on crucial challenges faced by the country and emergence of doable recommendations, the official said.
In the past few years, the topics are selected after detailed discussions with the highest echelons of the police service. Once selected, several iterations of presentations are made before committees of DGs in order to encourage participation and to incorporate ideas from the field and from younger officers.
As a result, all presentations are now broad-based, content-intensive and carry a set of cogent, actionable recommendations.
Since 2015, detailed follow-up of recommendations of past conferences is the norm and is the topic of the first business session, attended by the prime minister and the home minister.
Recommendations are tracked closely by the conference secretariat, led by the Intelligence Bureau, with the help of nodal officers of the states.
From 2017 onwards, guest speakers were invited to share their knowledge and experiences with delegates.
Speakers from various fields were invited, including management (Ashish Nanda), cyber security (Sanjay Katkar), advanced forensics (J M Vyas), radicalisation (Marc Sageman, USA) etc.
Decisions made in the past few conferences led to significant policy changes leading to improvement of policing in the country, including setting higher standards for effective policing in rural and urban areas, and improved methods of modern policing, based on SMART parameters.
The DGPs and IGPs conference is an annual affair where senior police officials of the states and the Centre meet and discuss issues of importance.
The Modi government has been organising it outside the national capital since it came to power in 2014.
The previous conferences were held in Guwahati, Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, Hyderabad, Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh, Kevadia in Gujarat and Pune.
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