Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs) of the Punjab Police will soon be seen swooping down on perpetrators of sexual crimes against women as part of the new-look force, whose restructuring was approved on Wednesday by the state cabinet led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.The restructuring changes are aimed at giving more teeth to the department and equip it to better tackle the modern-day challenges of terrorism, policing and law & order management in the border state.The restructured force, with 716 new critical posts against 820 existing non-essential or vacant ones, will focus more on the core areas of Women Safety, Counter Terrorism, Crowd Control & Anti-Riot, among others. The restructuring process, to be conducted across verticals and functions in a revenue-neutral manner, will add robust to the manpower to enable it to more effectively handle policing, investigation, prosecution etc.The restructured force, which will witness the recruitment of 5000 new constables, will also provide for recruitment of civilian experts in fields like IT and Law, besides strengthening of the Directorates of Prosecution & Litigation, Forensic Science Laboratory, Chemical Examiner and Legal Rememberancer.With women safety identified as a core thrust area for the department, the Punjab Cabinet, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, has given the go-ahead to the establishment of SARTs in all the districts from within the sanctioned strengths in a revenue-neutral manner, without any additional financial implications, by re-designating the post of Sub Inspector.
Similarly, it has also been decided to set up Family Counselling Units in all the districts, to handle crime cases against children and vulnerable groups. While the smaller districts would have one team/unit each, the bigger ones would have more, DGP Dinkar Gupta disclosed after the cabinet meeting, adding that these teams/units would be created by re-designating and re-training police officials for specialized functions.In exercise of this decision, 34 SIs will be redesignated as In-charge SART and 34 as Counselling Coordinator, while 34 Constables would be redesignated as Counseling Officer SART, and another 34 as Crime Scene Officer SART. In addition, there shall be re-designated posts of 382 Assistant Child Protection Officers, 121 Cyber Crime Investigation Officers and 302 as Counselling Officers.Further, it has been decided to re-deploy/transfer/attach 819 posts of Constables (to be filled up through fresh direct recruitment of women) from the Armed Cadre to the District Cadre due to their greater cutting-edge utility in districts.To improve conviction rate and for better delivery of criminal justice, especially in cases of heinous crimes, the Prosecution Department will be strengthened with the creation of 168 posts, while the Forensic Science Laboratory would get additional 84 posts and Chemical Examiner wing would be augmented by 12 posts. The Legal Rememberancer would be provided 16 more posts under the restructuring process.Given the increasing traffic volumes, especially in large cities, the Cabinet has also approved creation of 15 posts for hiring Road Safety Associates as consultants by the DGP at competitive market rates, after suitable price discovery has been completed. The DGP has also been authorized to engage 50 additional consultants from among civilian experts in departments such as IT and Legal, in view of the growing challenges of tackling specialized crimes.In line with the global policing trends of deploying uniformed personnel for core policing duties, while inducting civilian staff for other related work, the Cabinet has given the go-ahead to the creation of 413 posts of Ministerial Staff for performing office work in the districts and at Police Headquarters.