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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: The role of PCR vans meant to provide safety to people in several major cities of the State have now come under intense scrutiny of public especially after the recent brutal attack on a Sikh man in the capital city.

While the services had earlier received accolades for remarkable success in controlling crimes in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, questions have now been raised on its efficacy.

The recent attack on Parvinder Pal Singh in the capital city has created a big question mark on the capabilities of discharging duty of the PCR van personnel.

Raising questions on the capabilities of the PCR van personnel, Anuradha Das, a resident of Bhubaneswar said, “Security guards of commando rank should be employed in PCR vans. Because, if the police are not able to take responsibilities of their own safety, how could they provide safety to us.”

The attack on the Sikh man is a tip of the iceberg, because there is an unending list of allegations against PCR vans. On many occasions, it has been alleged that PCR vans reach the site when criminals have already decamped from spot and the personnel do not have adequate weapons to face the criminals.

Experts say that while criminals run one step ahead, PCR vehicles run in old model vehicles and the staffs are not well trained in dealing with all types of crimes head-on. Besides, there is need of modern control room for PCR to immediately reach the site after receiving any complaint.

Madhumadhav Jena, president of Senior Citizens’ Federation, meanwhile calls for need of privatisation of the PCR vans.  “Keeping in view such incident, we seek the PCR van service should be stopped and a revamped service should be started by employing some professional persons because those services which are privatised function well,” he said.

Former DGP Bipin Bihari Mishra said, “Those employed in PCR vans should realise that people have great faith on them. If they become mute spectator like during the capital city incident, people will lose faith on them. At least one of the personnel should be given weapons”

Asked about the public suggestions, Twin City Police Commissioner Sudhanshu Sarangi however said, “If the PCR van personnel are given guns, people may snatch the weapon from them. I don’t think such thing is necessary now. Efforts are on to strengthen the self-confidence of the personnel.”

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