HYDERABAD, Jan 28: DPO Ghulam Nabi Memon disputed a resolution tabled in the district council on Wednesday about rising street crimes in the city, stressing that crime rate was ‘not alarming’ and neither Hyderabad was a crime-free city.

He said in response to Javed Kardar’s rather weak-worded resolution, which presupposed police’s performance was satisfactory and just needed improvement, that police were resource-strapped.

He said the perception that crime rate was alarming was “being built by the police officers, who have been removed by me on charges of corruption, like ‘monthlies’, ‘weeklies’ and maladministration”.

Ideally, worldwide ratio of police force was one policeman for 400 people but in Hyderabad one policeman was guarding 915 people. In this era of science and technology, police did not even have fingerprint technology, making the task of tracing criminals and proving charges against them highly difficult, he said.

The DPO’s address was a grim reminder of the fact that the force lagged far behind in terms of resources and equipment and that despite being understaffed it had to provide escorts to VVIPs and judges.

He said that police force in the district numbered 1,800 to 1,900. “On an average, we provided 5,700 escorts last year, bringing number of VVIPs’ visits to 16 per day while we have only 16 police mobiles,” he said.

Despite the fact that three police stations did not have any vehicle and many mobiles had to be withdrawn from police stations to cater to VVIPs’ protocol duty, he said.

“At times when a judge is not provided escort, the SHOs are disgraced. Even I had to personally bear insult on this count because the judges took it seriously,” he said.

Mr Memon said that police badly needed a surveillance system and he had submitted its feasibility with estimated cost of Rs15 million to the district nazim. “When London police could spend 3.2 million pounds for recovery of one school girl, at least we can spend Rs15 million for installing cameras in the city for proper surveillance,” he said.

He said that he had accumulated data on criminals who belonged to Nawabshah, Dadu, Sanghar and even Karachi and chose Hyderabad to commit crimes.

Police did not have resources to hunt them down kidnappers in the katcha area. “We don’t have special techniques to track down kidnappers and criminals when the complainant doesn’t cooperate. It becomes more difficult to chase them if the victim party itself is not on your side,” he said.

Mr Kardar’s resolution was very weak-worded. It called for a strategy ‘to further improve’ performance of police and other law enforcing agencies, implying that police’s performance was already satisfactory and it just needed to be improved.

He proposed that a public awareness campaign be launched to train people in self protection techniques to make the city a citadel of peace.

What surprised even colleagues of Kardar was the haste with which he withdrew his resolution after DPO’s address despite the fact that the police official had himself admitted that Hyderabad was not a crime free city. Towards the end of the session convenor Zafar Ali Rajput observed that provincial and district governments should support police and everyone criticised Kardar for unnecessarily withdrawing the resolution.

A number of members had spoken on the resolution but they stopped short of adopting it because they wanted the DPO or SP city to hear their viewpoint before they adopted it.