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RPF to get more powers

Force to be empowered to register, inquire, prosecute cases

Close on the heels of receiving the right to exercise powers under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, the Centre is planning to grant the Railway Protection Force (RPF) more powers to ensure the security of passengers and trains.

“The process to amend the Railway Act has commenced and this will pave the way for empowerment of the RPF to register, enquire and prosecute cases of passenger luggage theft, crime against women, and against e-touts,” RPF Director General Arun Kumar told a press conference here on Wednesday after reviewing the security arrangements.

Currently, even if a crime is detected by the RPF, the case has to be handed over to the Government Railway Police for further enquiry. The amendment will ensure RPF the powers and reduce the workload of the GRP. Since the jurisdiction of an RPF post cuts across the jurisdiction of many police stations, it has an advantage of identifying place of occurrence of the crime, quick registration of the case and detection.

146 persons held

According to official data, the RPF has arrested 146 persons for alleged crime against women and handed them over to the GRP. A total of 1,39,422 male passengers were prosecuted for travelling in ladies coaches in 2018. The RPF was also instrumental in the rescue of 13,091 children in need of care and protection.

The RPF is all set to launch a mobile application to ensure the safety and security of passengers, especially women. There will be an alarm facility for the use of passengers, in addition to the Helpline 182. CCTV cameras will be installed at railway stations.

More to join

The Director General said 10,000 more RPF personnel, including 4,500 women, would join the force to guard trains and railway premises. With this, the shortage of the women RPF personnel in the State would also be addressed.

Expressing concern over the 107 unnatural deaths in the Thiruvananthapuram railway division in 2017, the RPF DG said the campaign ‘Life is Precious’ by the RPF was found to be effective and needed to be emulated in other places. In Mumbai, which was worst affected, the issue had been addressed by a series of steps, including raising the perimeter wall of the stations.

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