MHA asks States to appoint Child Welfare Police Officers Crimes against children on the rise
NEW DELHI, Nov 4
The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the States/Union Territories to appoint a Child Welfare Police Officer (CWPO) in every police station to exclusively deal with children, either as victims or perpetrators.
Acting on an advisory issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the Home Ministry referred to provisions under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which calls for designating at least one officer, not below the rank of an Assistant Sub-Inspector, CWPO in every police station.
In a note to all Directors-General of Police, the Home Ministry said the Commission had further requested that a Special Juvenile Police Unit in each district and city headed by an officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police be established.
The unit would comprise CWPOs and two social workers having experience of working in the field of child welfare, of whom one shall be a woman, to co-ordinate all functions of police in relation to children. The contact particulars of the CWPOs should be displayed in all police stations for the public to contact, sources in the Tamil Nadu police quoting the advisory said on Thursday.
Pointing to other provisions under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2016, which prescribed specific roles for CWPOs and the Special Juvenile Police Unit in cases of child rights violations, the Ministry called for reviewing the compliance and functioning of the set-up in the States/Union Territories and, where they didn’t exist, taking steps to operationalise the arrangement at the earliest.
Crimes against children
The advisory comes in the backdrop of increasing number of crimes against children, including murders and offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Going by the data published by the National Crime Records Bureau, the total number of crimes against children increased from 1,28,531 in 2020 to 1,49,404 in 2021.
While Madhya Pradesh topped the country with 19,173 cases, Uttar Pradesh stood second with 16,838 cases. A total of 1,402 children were murdered in 1,279 cases reported across the country. As many as 1,15,414 cases of kidnapping and abduction involving 1,18,549 children were reported in 2021. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh topped the list in these cases, the NCRB data revealed.