New Delhi, April 19: Sighting the nationwide outrage over violence and offence compounded on children, the Centre has decided to retrain the police force on various sexual offence aspects and essentially those wherein they have to collect and preserve the evidence.
In a letter to the Chief Ministers of States and Union Territories, the Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi has expressed her concern to step out ways to protect the children and stop violence against them.
Highlighting necessary details, Maneka Gandhi said instructions may be issued to all police officers that utmost priority is to be given to complete the investigation of cases of sexual offences against children strictly as per the timelines of Law.
Gandhi further said that the State Governments must take strict action against those police officers who are found to be blocking the investigation or plotting with the culprits of such cases. She said a quick and timely professional investigation is the only method in which a potential offender can be deterred but this can be done only by the states as the police department is the state subject.
The minister further said that organizing a special cell would help sexual offences or especially for sexual offences on children, would be a significant step in this regard. She also has offered help to State Governments in establishing Forensic Laboratories in states which can be used for forensic analysis of evidence in the investigation of sexual offences.
The Minister has requested the states to generate 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 stressed that Section 21 of the POCSO Act may be invoked in all cases wherever failure to report or record is noted. Section 21 states that 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.
She also emphasized on the fact that till date 175 One-stop centres for women affected by violence have been set up by her 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.