Delhi Police will soon launch a cellphone-friendly online application that will help it fast-track the identification process of thousands of unidentified bodies of vagrants it recovers from the streets every year - otherwise a time consuming affair that would take anything between 15 to 60 days. Identification of a huge number of unidentified dead bodies in Delhi is a challenging task for the 80,000-strong force catering to Delhi 17 million residents.
According to police officers, the password protected application named UIDB or Unidentified Dead Bodies will reduce the time taken to inform family members of these bodies and will also help in unravelling the mystery of such cases, particularly if any foul play is involved.
Presently, if police is prima facie convinced that no foul play is involved any identified body has to be disposed off within 72 hours of its discovery by performing last rites as per its religion, if known. Otherwise, police usually cremates such bodies electrically.
In many cases, family members get to know about the deaths only after last rites are performed. But the newly developed system may help in reducing the time taken to inform them.
When the system is launched finally, an investigation officer upon the detection of a body will upload its picture and other descriptions, including presumed age, any visible identification mark, height, skin colour and details about its clothes dress on the application through his or her cellphone.
The photographs and its details will be visible to the concerned senior officers who will get an alert like push message on their cellphone.
The concerned Station House Officer (SHO), Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and Deputy Commission of Police would then "approve the verification document with their digital signs," an officer, who was part of the software development team, said.
"And, all this will be done in real time."
The approved verification document will be sent to the Public Relation Office (PRO) branch who will forward the details of the unidentified body for publication in newspapers within 12 hours, the officer said, adding that all this would otherwise take a week or two depending on the case complications.
"The system will also help police to know more quickly about any possible foul play."
The officer said presently lots of time would also be taken to get the verification documents physically signed by senior officers who more often than not would be busy with other official works or cases.
Another advantage of the application is that it would minimize the work load of an investigating officer who would run for weeks, sometimes even months, to get such documents verified.
The police found at least 908 unidentified bodies in Delhi from January to April 24 this year. Last year, the number of such bodies was 3,278 while as more than 3,300 bodies were recovered in 2014.
In 2013, the Delhi Police had recovered 2,896 unidentified bodies compared to 3,326 bodies in 2012.
The online verification system, the brain child of newly appointed Delhi Police chief Alok Kumar Verma, is in its final stage and will be inaugurated soon, the officer said.
"Delhi Police railway department would be the first among other wings of the force to adopt the new verification method," he said.