NEW DELHI: In a debatable move, the government merged the
National Crimes Records Bureau
) - which, over the years, has been the principal source of reference by policy makers, police, criminologists, researchers and media - both in India and abroad, with the
Bureau of Police Research and Development
ministry of home affairs
issued an order on Friday evening placing NCRB's functions under the Director General of BPR&D, who will now oversee all the data collection related to Crime in India, Accidental Deaths and Suicides, Prison Statistics and Fingerprints.
Sources say that BPR&D has been given charge of NCRB so that there is more research based and methodological data collection in future as data collection by NCRB as of now was that of taken from states and sometimes inaccurate.
It was felt that if the researchers of BPR&D, which conducts its own researches and commissions many to private institutes/bodies to study the crime patterns, policing and other related aspects, and statisticians of NCRB work together, there will be more accurate and research based data collection, said the sources.
The merger means that the Director NCRB and all its staff will now report to Meera C Borwankar, DG of BPR&D but administrative matters of both the bodies will be handled directly by home ministry itself.
Sources say that NCRB officers are not happy with the decision as both bureaus have different functions. Subsequently, an officer said that NCRB was not kept in the loop before government decided to merge it with the BPR&D.
"NCRB's core function is to collect data on crimes related to IPC and other sections, courts, convictions etc which are taken from states and union territories and then analysed. On the other hand, BPRD's research is not related to crime. It focusses more on research and data collection on how police, central paramilitary forces work, manpower problems, pattern of registration of crime, or influences of police on society etc. There is no clarity how both these organisations will work together," said a senior officer in NCRB.
Subsequently, NCRB officials say that they were not kept in loop about the decision.
The NCRB was established in 1986 with a mandate to empower Indian police with information technology solutions and criminal intelligence to enable them to enforce the law effectively.
It also compiles data on crimes, prosecutions, traffic related prosecutions, and prisons, suicides etc and its annual report were extensively globally to present India's crime figures. The primary crime collection bureau also has the database of all the fingerprints in India and also plays a role in capacity building for government's ambitious project - Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS).
NCRB's data on crimes against women, particularly rapes, has shaped government's policies on safety of women in last few years, especially after December 16, 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case.
Officials say that BPR&D, which was constituted in 1966 to directly participate in police functions and suggest reforms, and NCRB will now jointly foster partnership with universities, researchers, NGOs and public to have robust data on crime, police, courts and prisons.