Re-train police officers on handling sexual offences, take action if they obstruct probe: Centre tells states

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New Delhi | Published: April 19, 2018 3:51:51 PM

The Centre asked states that all police officers, especially those involved in collection and preservation of evidence, should be re-trained on various aspects. It also underlined a series of steps in dealing with sexual offences.

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi asked state governments to re-trained police officers. (Image: IE)

With cases relating to sexual offences mounting across the country, the Centre on Thursday told states that all police officers, especially those involved in collection and preservation of evidence, should be re-trained on various aspects. In a letter to the Chief Ministers of states and Union Territories, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi underlined a series of steps in dealing with sexual offences.

In the letter, the minister asked the Chief Ministers to direct police officers that top priority should be given to complete the investigation of cases of sexual offences against children strictly as per the timelines of law. The minister also asked the state governments to take action against the police officers if they are found obstructing the investigation or colluding with the perpetrators of such cases.

In the letter, Gandhi also mentioned forming a special team to deal with sexual offences or especially for sexual offences on children. She also offered assistance to state governments in establishing Forensic Laboratories which can be useful for forensic analysis of evidence in the investigation of sexual offences.

Gandhi also requested the states to raise awareness among the children in using the e-box set up under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences, POCSO Act with child-help line number 1098. 

The letter also highlighted that Section 21 of the POCSO Act may be invoked in all cases wherever failure to report or record is noted. As per the Section 21, any officer who fails to report or record the commission of an offence under section 19 and 20 of the Act is liable for punishment. 

The letter also stated that till date 175 One-stop centres for women affected by violence have been set up by Women and Child Development ministry. One Stop Centres are to help those women who have no access to either police or medical facilities or are not able to visit a police station in times of distress.

The WCD Minister also called for suggestions from the state governments in dealing with the crimes against women and children.

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