MPCO seeks to function with full authority
By Purushottam Khatri
Kathmandu, Nov. 18:Our office does not have any legal powers. I cannot send anybody to even evict an illegal owner from a house. Without the order from the Chief District Officer, we cannot take any action.
This is the grievances made by a senior police officer after the experience of the 10-year long compulsion and the limited power exercise given to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Office (MPCO).
The concept of metro police was first launched in the Valley in 2007.
The power to evict one illegal house owner should have been with the Chief Commissioner of Metropolitan who heads all the Valley police units, said senior police officers.
“One has to go to the District Administrative Office to seek safety and security rather than first seek security from the police administration,” Additional Inspector General (AIG) Bigyan Raj Sharma told The Rising Nepal.
On Wednesday, the MPCO marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment day of the Metropolitan Police concept in the Valley.
AIG Sharma said that police takes action only after an order from the DAO. If this kind of authority is with the Commissioner’s Office, the process will be much easier and simpler. This needs to be implemented at the earliest, he argued.
These are the powers being sought by the MPCO for a decade but till the date it had not got anything of the sort.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has yet to table a separate bill at the parliament for the autonomy and independent exercise of powers by the police to keep the valley safe and systematic.
“It has yet to get the powers to function with full authority. Its chiefs come and go, without any powers as such in the organisation. The authority is still with the District Administration Offices of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur,” said AIG Sharma.
The existence of MPCO from security point of view for a valley like Kathmandu which has a population of 5.5 million remain so crucial at the point, the DAOs of every district cannot alone ensure safety and security all the time, said AIG Pratap Singh Thapa, Chief Police Commissioner.
The concept of Metropolitan Police will materialise only after the concerned authorities, including District Administrative Offices and the Home Ministry give timely attention to our constraints, said Thapa.
“We are not asking for all the authorities. What we want is limited authority related to maintaining law and order and delivering services. Metropolitan Police needs authority to take decisions on a fast track basis,” said Thapa.
Despite repeated efforts to acquire magisterial powers and to act as a quasi-judicial body, the Metropolitan Police has remained like a ‘toothless’ entity, said Thapa.
“We were supposed to have quasi-judicial and magisterial powers but stakeholders in the government and the bureaucracy are not in any position to give us the ‘teeth’ to maintain law and order in the Valley,” claimed Thapa.
Several reports have been prepared with the government agencies and experts to realise the metro police concept but the recommendations have not been followed, he said.
The police leadership has been demanding powers to permit political gatherings and protests, impose curfews when necessary, exercise preventive detention powers, and issue license to hotels, lodges, massage parlours and entertainment businesses, among others.
The police leadership expressed frustration and claimed that without powers they were left with slim hope.
They claimed that with quasi-judicial powers they would be able to ensure swift and effective justice delivery, lessen the regular workload of the local administration and maintain uniformity in the chain of command.