From drawing criticism for its probe into the JNU violence case to handling the February riots, Delhi Police had another challenge, which was to ensure enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines and lockdown in the national capital while protecting its own personnel from the infection.

The year 2020 kept the force on its toes - starting from January, when violence broke out at Jawaharlal Nehru University as masked miscreants armed with sticks attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus.

No arrest has been made so far by the Crime Branch team of Delhi Police which is probing the JNU violence case.

The riots in northeastern parts of Delhi claimed 53 lives and left over 400 people injured. The force also lost one of its own men - Head Constable Ratan Lal (42), after he sustained an injury during stone pelting at Gokalpuri.

And soon after the city faced riots, Delhi Police force got its new chief -- S N Shrivastava who soon after taking charge said his priority was to restore peace and ensure communal harmony in the national capital.

Now setting his vision for 2021, Shrivastava told PTI that the focus would be to expand Delhi Police's social media presence to not only address public grievances but also to display a positive image of the force and to tackle the negative narratives that are being put out.

He said the top priority will be to ensure faster response to public grievances and look after the welfare of his personnel.

"Improving response to the public complaint will be my priority area. Doing it well and doing it in a shorter time. All these, I will not be able to achieve without the active help and cooperation of our team - Delhi Police, so I need to look after their welfare also. And be with them in the thick of things," he said.

And now as its personnel are deployed at the Delhi border points, where thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping amid cold wave conditions against the new farm laws, the police commissioner said that although large number of protesters are there but apart from blocking the way, there is nothing on the law and order front. So, things are manageable.

"We are ensuring that the other routes are clear for the essential supplies and movement of people. This is it and we hope that we reach a happy note on this also," he said.

Encapsulating the northeast Delhi riots, Shrivastava said that once the riots were over and things were contained, they encouraged people to come forward and register their complaints.

"That's why 755 FIRs were registered... They were investigated and special investigation teams were formed," he said.

He pointed out that of the 755 cases registered in connection with northeast Delhi riots, charge sheets have been filed in 395 cases till date. Around 1,696 people have been arrested.

The police, however, have been criticised for their handling of the investigation in various quarters.

Talking about the entire investigation, the police chief asserted that the investigation has been done well and that the teams have been able to unearth the conspiracy angle.

"Criticism comes when we do our job well because those who were affected by our investigation, naturally we never expected them to appreciate it. They will definitely question our investigation.

"It is for the court to decide how the cases were investigated and whether the investigation is on the right line or not is for the court to say," he reiterated.

Amid the pandemic, Delhi Police personnel were out on the streets during lockdown -- ensuring people stayed indoors. They facilitated movement of essential supplies, reached out to scores of migrant labourers and needy with food, masks and sanitisers.

From creating awareness -- to safeguarding the citizens from the spread of COVID-19, issuing movement passes, setting up helpline numbers, reaching out to senior citizens, to reaching out to those in need of ration. In fact, the PCR vans acted as ambulance - for expecting women who were rushed to the hospitals.

This way, the Delhi Police personnel turned out to be "corona warriors", building its image as "Dil ki Police", even as the force lost its own personnel to the pandemic amid the line of their duty while serving the society.

According to police, 32 of its personnel have died so far due to COVID-19. Out of the total 7,500 personnel infected with the virus, 7,250 have recovered while 250 others are still under treatment.

During the pandemic, a major terror strike was also averted with the arrest of an alleged ISIS operative Mohammad Mustakim Khan from Uttar Pradesh in August after a brief exchange of fire on the section of the Ridge Road between Dhaula Kuan and Karol Bagh.

As the unlocking began in a phased manner, the Delhi Police since June 15 has issued over 5,12,060 challans for mask violation, more than 3,409 challans for spitting, over 38,147 challans for violating social distancing.

Lauding the efforts of his force, Shrivastava said, "Delhi Police remained firm but at the same time we were sympathetic which is what was required. Lockdown had to be implemented so for that firmness was required but we knew that this lockdown was because of an epidemic, so people had to be kept indoors to contain the spread of corona." With COVID-19, video conferencing for meetings, investigations, interrogation, donning PPE kits during raids, mandatory COVID tests on accused, exercising caution while picking fingerprints, regular sanitization of hands, became the new normal for police personnel as they stepped out for investigation.

From sending warrants and summons through WhatsApp, technology played a vital role in effective communication for the force.

Emphasising on technology, Shrivastava said, "Video conferencing and online dairies were necessitated due to COVID but e-beat book, Integrated Complaint Management System, use of CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems) for online submission of case dairies and charge sheets were due to professional considerations."