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Mumbai police must digitise their records

It seems that the Mumbai police swings into action only after receiving severe criticism. On Tuesday, a team of cops managed to trace the missing documents pertaining to the Salman Khan hit-and-run case, after the department was subjected to heavy criticism from the media.

Despite being well aware of the magnitude of the case, the police have had a very casual approach towards preserving its vital records. Losing important files in such high-profile cases is nothing new for the Mumbai and state police.

Nothing new
A file with the Anti-Corruption Bureau investigating the purchase of sub-standard bullet-proof jackets by the Maharashtra police had also mysteriously gone missing. One of the jackets from the lot is said to have been worn by former ATS chief Hemant Karkare on the night of November 26, 2008, the day the terrorist attacks took place.

In November 2010, documents from ten files on the Adarsh society disappeared from the urban development department in Mantralaya. The missing papers included remarks of state government officials and the chief minister.

The CBI, however, learnt from its mistake and digitised all the records pertaining to the Adarsh scam. Mumbai police, too, should learn from such instances.

Whenever case papers go missing from the record room, change of staff is the most common excuse the police offer. Instead of relying on one person for preserving thousands of documents, the department should digitise their records and save time and manpower.

The police should realise that probes and suspensions of officers are not going to improve their record-keeping system. A systematic maintenance of records from the beginning will not only help the Mumbai police to save their image, but it will also reduce the number of cases piling up in court.

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