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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: The appointment of senior IPS Sudhanshu Sarangi as new Twin city Commissioner could be a coincidence. Only a fortnight ago, the Silver city was rocked by serial killings and cops attributed it to whodunit of a 'psychopath', which had an uncanny semblance with the  'Stoneman' killings of Berhampur in 1999-2000. In fact, the man who joined the dots to get hold of the accused in the Silk city then was Sudhanshu Sarangi.

The 1990 batch IPS, who has a doctorate in investigative psychology to his credit, has been a tech-savvy cop. When the arrested accused (stoneman) gave a slip to the Silk city cops while being transported from Andhra Pradesh in 2000, the then Berhampur SP Sudanshu Sarangi used technology to the hilt to track down and nab the accused.

As then PCO and landlines were in vogue, Berhampur police led by SP Sarangi put an electronic gadget in a nearby video parlour, which flashed the number of the caller, the moment he made a call. Tracking the number, cops pinned the location of the accused and nabbed him.

As SP in Berhampur, Sarangi had tightened the screws on factors like liquor that seed crimes. He notified an order then that prohibited, with a penal provision, liquor consumption in mass festivals like Durga Puja immersion processions. And the accountability had been fixed on the Puja Committee presidents.

Sarangi seems to have a clear-headed concept on liquor and its nuisance. Quite active in social media, Sarangi has spoken against liquor consumption by baaratis during marriage functions.

The puja time in the Twin city is round the corner, starting from September 2 (Ganesh Chaturthi), and given the trend observed over years in Bhubaneswar, the immersion ceremonies here have dozens of 'high' revellers, who never give two hoots to law and traffic order.

An important reminder here is post taking the charge as DGP, Bijay Sharma has outlined his major priorities - utilising technology to track crime & criminals and also to ensure a safe and secure Puja season. And the reshuffle at top level tells the tale.

However, for the new twin city commissioner, there are challenges galore as crime today is not all in black and white.

The street crimes (robbery, snatchings), murders and dacoities are acquiring a monstrous proportion in the twin city, which pose a threat to the law and order problem in the Commissionerate jurisdiction.

What looks embarrassing for the Commissionerate police is,  despite the Capital city not being a border town, criminals quite easily give a slip to the cops post the crime.

Police records reveal how the Commissionerate police was found wanting, when criminals released on bail  re-grouped to perpetrate sinister crimes. What is wanting in the state here is 24x7 surveillance of released criminals or history-sheeters, like metros. Worse, the Commissionerate Police reportedly have no full-proof database of criminals in the twin city police area.

Moreover, the Beat Police System here is intended at patrolling. But in metros like Mumbai, the beat officers are tasked to identify top criminals of their beats.

Above all, the rising crimes (rapes to trafficking) against minor girl child is a raging problem in the twin city. Since this is a crime linked with psychology, it will put Sarangi's expertise to test. Also, the rising cybercrimes in the twin city will take a skill test of this tech-savvy cop.

However, as the Poilce Commissionerate is acutely hit by manpower, the resource management of new Commissioner will be put on to test. Only 2,400 police personnel are there to maintain law and order. The police-population ratio stood at mere 171 cops per lakh population.

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