Police stations in the country will soon have special kits to collect blood and semen samples, besides other evidence, to carry out immediate investigation into sexual assault cases, officials said Sunday.
The Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits (SAECK) or 'rape investigation kits' are designed to carry out immediate medico-legal investigation and aid in furnishing evidence in sexual assault and rape cases.
The Home Ministry, as part of a pilot project, will initially procure 3,960 SAECK and to begin with, and 100 such kits will be given to each state and union territory, a ministry official said.
The likely cost budgeted for the procurement of the 3,960 kits is Rs 79.20 lakh, while another Rs 4.91 crore will be spent in providing training to police personnel and medical staff of local hospitals.
Police and medical officers will be given training on how to use the kits in the event of any sexual assault and rape case happening in their area of jurisdiction.
Each of these kits comprises essential items that will aid in furnishing evidence such as blood and semen samples in sexual assault and rape cases, the official said.
The kit has a set of test tubes and bottles, which mention about contents and specifications.
These kits also contain instructions on collection of evidence from the crime scene. The SAECKs would be sent to the closest laboratory and within two months the results would be out.
"We are planning to keep at least three 'rape kits' in each of the police stations in the country, and when the full project is implemented the number will go up gradually," another official said.
There are around 15,640 police stations in 29 states and seven union territories in the country.
The 'rape investigation kits' will be procured by the respective states with financial support under the central government's 'Nirbhaya Fund', which was named after the 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim.
The cost of the project would be shared between the central government (from the Nirbhaya Fund) and respective states in the ratio of 60:40.
The kits are expected to help the law enforcement agencies to ensure effective investigation in a timely manner for better prosecution and convictions in sexual assault cases.
The first lot of such kits was procured by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) and it has already started imparting forensic training to some police officers, the official said.
Incidents of crime against women rose from 3,29,243 in 2015 to 3,38,954 in 2016.
In 2015, as many as 34,651 cases of rape were registered in the country. The figure increased to 38,947 in 2016, according to the data of the National Crime Records Bureau.
The data for 2017 is yet to be published.
The Directorate of Forensic Sciences (DFSS), a wing of the Home Ministry, has issued two guidelines -- one for investigators and prosecutors for collection, storage and transportation of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases; and the second for medical officers dealing with sexual assault cases.
The Delhi-based Lok Narayan Jai Prakash National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences (LNJP NIC&FS) would be undertaking training of medical officers from states and union territories on medico-legal procedures, including evidence collection and handling of forensic material in sexual assault cases.
This is likely to cost Rs1.38 crore and is also being funded from the 'Nirbhaya Fund'.
The Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D) is undertaking training of officers during the financial years of 2018-19 and 2019-20 on collection, storage and transportation of forensic evidence in cases of sexual assault, which includes training on standardised SAECK.
The BPR&D would also undertake training of trainers, and training of investigators and prosecutors from states and union territories.