Criminal Investigation Department.
I—FUNCTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT.
- The Criminal Inve4igation Department which includes (1) the Intelligence Branch, (2) the Criminal Intelligence Bureau, (3) the Photographic Bureau and (4) the Finger Print Bureau, is under the control of a Deputy Inspector-General.
- (a) The functions of the Tntel1igence Branch are to collect and collate information of a political nature.
(b) The functions of the rest of the department include the following:—
(1) The classes of crime detailed below which are ordinarily the work of professional criminals: —
- highway, railway or mail robbery;
- counterfeiting coin or stamps, forging Government currency or promissory notes and uttering or being in possession of the same;
- drugging or poisoning;
- murder for gain;
- insurance frauds of serious nature;
(viii) cases of bank frauds.
|operations extend beyond the limits of a|
- Professional criminals and criminal tribes whose single district.
|require, enquiries or investigations into|
- (i) To control, assist or advise as circumstances
crime of the classes described in (I) above.
|in connection with cases under sections under sections 109 and 110 of the Code|
- To control or assist enquiries and investigations 400 and 401 of the Indian Penal Code, and proceedings of Criminal Procedure against members of specially formidable gangs or criminals.
- To control prosecutions arising out of the institution of false civil suits (vide Appendix XXX).
- To assist or advise the local police in, or to take control of, enquiries or investigations into other serious crime in which such control, advice or assistance is invoked by local authorities with the approval of the Inspector-General or as ordered by the Inspector-General or any higher authority.
- To make enquiries concerning crime described in (I) above and other crime with the approval or under orders of the Inspector- General or any higher authority.
NPTE.—Counterfeit coins presented at railway stations should be transmitted to the Mint for examination by the Deputy Inspector-General to whom the Railways shall transmit copies of their statement of counterfeit coins, and who should detain one speciment of similar coins when more than one is received by the Railways (Government Circular No. 24F., dated the 11th March 1912). Enquiries regarding obcene publications will be dealt with by the Criminal Investigation Department.
- “Investigation” in the above regulation has the meaning attached to it in the Code of Criminal Procedure. “Enquiry” means and the collection of information prior to an investigation. The power to investigate does not arise until either there is reason to suspect the commission of acoguizable offence, which an officer-in-charge of a police-station is empowered to investigate under section 156 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (see also section 157), or, if the offence be non-cognizable a Magistrate directs an investigation under section 155 of that Code.
- Information relating to serious crime, criminals and other matter of interest to the police is chiefly collected from—
- special reports, first information reports in swinding and express letters as laid down in Appendix XV;
- special reports received from other provinces;
- confessions of convicts;
- case histories kept on record in the Criminal Intelligence Bureau;
- finger print slips received in the bureau;
- notices received for insertion in the Criminal Intelligence Gazette;
- Police Gazeres of other provinces and of Calcutta;
(viii) reports on crime and criminals received from officers.
NOTE.-It is also the duty of the Assistant to the Deputy Inspector-General to peruse weekly the gazettes of other Provinces, and extract there from all matters of interest to the police in Bengal for publication in this province.
- The Criminal Intelligence Gazette is the principal mediums for distribution of information. Information is also communicated, if available, on receipt of references from the District Police to the Criminal Intelligence Burcan, Finger Print Bureau and other sections of the Criminal Investigation Department.
11.—CONTROL AND ASSISTANCE IN ENQUIRIES AND INVESRIGATIONS.
- The Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Inspection- Department, may either assume control of enquiries or investigations, subject to the provisions of regulation 612 or may advise or assist without assuming control assist.
- With the assumption of control the responsibility is transferred from the Deputy Inspector- General of the Range to the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department. The former shall refrain from passing any orders or comments on enquiries or investigations controlled by the latter.
Such control includes the determination of the broad lines of enquiry or investigations, as well as such supervision of the conduct of the same thereafter as will prevent serious errors or irregularities. Superintendents of districts, except in the special cases mentioned in regulation 621, are responsible under such control, for the details of enquiry or investigation within their districts, but they shall, in all cases controlled by the Criminal investigation Department, consult the Deputy Inspector-General of that department before ordering the submission of charge-sects or final reports. In enquiries or investigations in which the Criminal Investigation Department assists or advises the responsibility of control remains with the Deputy Inspector-General of the Range. The Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department, shall issue no orders in respect of enquiries or investigations of which he has not assumed control.
- (a) The Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department, may assume control of an enquiry or investigation at any stage. On assuming control he shall inform the Deputy Inspector-General of the Range forthwith, sending a copy of his intimation direct to the Superintendent or Superintendents concerned.
- In excise cases in which the investigation must extend to more than one district, or in which there are intricacies which cannot be dealt with without the aid of a specially skilled detective, the services of an officer of the Criminal Investigation Department, shall be requisitioned by the Commissioner of Excise. In emergencies such requisition may also be made by an officer of lower rank. The Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department, shall, if he thinks fit and if he has an officer available, depute one and also decide whether the officer deputed shall be placed at the disposal of the Commissioner of Excise of whether the control of the enquiry shall be taken over by the Criminal Investigation Department.
- In cases controlled by the Criminal Investigation Department, the Deputy Inspector- General, Criminal Investigation Department, will sanction and pay the rewards. In such cases every list containing recommendations for rewards for police officers and outsiders shall be submitted by the Criminal Investigation Department Inspector to the Superintendent concerned after allowing the Circle Inspector or Inspectors interested in the case an opportunity of expressing an opinion. The Superintendent will then submit the list with his remarks to the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department, through the Range Deputy Inspector- General.
- The Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department, may assist an enquiry or a series of enquiries, e.g., a dacoity campaign or an investigation at any stage and depute officers of his department to co-operate with the local police. He shall inform the Deputy Inspector-General of the Range forthwith, sending a copy 01 his intimation direct to the Superintendents concerned.
- The Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department may direct enquiries or investigations of a special nature in which Superintendents have no Local interest such as enquires in connection with false civil suits to be conducted by officers of his department under his immediate control instead of through the Superintendent of the districts after obtaining the sanction of the Inspector- General by a general or special order.
- In cases in which the services of officers of the department are placed at the disposal of Superintendents without control being assumed, such officers shall work under the Superintendent’s exclusive control and responsibility.
- All officers of the department shall submit personal diaries which shall comprise a brief record of their movements day by day together with separate sheets describing the work done upon each enquiry or investigation on which they are engaged. The diaries shall be in B. P. Form No. 136. When officers are required to conduct investigations in person they shall submit case diaries prescribed under section 172 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and need not submit enclosures with personal diaries.
- Officers of the Criminal Investigation Department shall submit fortnightly reports showing the progress of investigations or enquiries which they are engaged. Copies of these reports shall be sent to the Superintendents concerned.
- (a) In enquiries or investigations taken under control except those falling under regulation 621 noe copy of the diary, enclosure and progress and progress report shall be sent to the Superintendent, and another to the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal investigation Department In the case of a Sub-inspector of the department, the diary, enclosure and progress report intended for these officers, shall be submitted through the Circle or Criminal investigation Department Inspector under whom the Sub-Inspector is working. A copy of any order, instruction or remark of any kind passed by the Superintendent upon a diary or report of an officer of the Criminal Investigation Department shall be fonvarded to the Deputy Inspector- General of that Department; orders passed by that officer are governed by regulation 626. Any orders or instructions given by the Superintendent that are intended or likely to divert a Criminal Investigation Department officer from any line of enquiry he wishes to follow or action he wishes to take shall be reduced to writing, a copy being sent, without delay, to the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal investigation Department. In enquiries or investigations under the direct control of the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department, under regulation 621 a copy of the diary, enclosure and progress report shall be submitted direct to the Deputy Inspector-General, and need not pass through the Superintendent.
- An officer of the department deputed under the regulation 620, to assist enquiries or investigations shall submit the diary, enclosure and progress report as laid down in clause (a) above.
- An officer of the department placed under the Superintendent under regulation 622, shall submit a copy of his personal diary to the Superintendent of the district or the Circle Inspector, according to his rank. A copy shall be sent to the Criminal investigation Department through the Superintendent for information only.
- In cases in which officers of the department are required to conduct investigations in person, their diaries under section 172 of the Code of Criminal Procedure shall be submitted according to the regulations for the submission of case diaries, whilst their personal diaries shall be submitted as directed in clauses (a), (b) and (c) above.
- (a) Inspectors and superior officers of the Criminal Investigation Department are superior in rank to an officer-in-charge of a police-station and as such may, under section 551, Code of Criminal Procedure, exercise throughout the local area to which they are appointed, the same powers as may be exercised by an officer-in- charge of a police-station within the limits of his station. They accordingly have power to detail a Sub-Inspector of the Criminal Investigation Department to investigate a particular case when it is considered desirable that the case should be so investigated.
- (i) Officers of the department deputed to districts in cases or enquiries taken under control, except in those mentioned in regulation 621, shall work in subordination to the Superintendent of the district, who shall be responsible for controlling their movements and proceedings, subject to orders received from the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department. Diaries, enclosures to diaries and progress reports shall be submitted in accordance with regulation 625. But all other reports and communications as between the department and the officer deputed and all orders issued from the department shall pass through the Superintendent, except in cases of extreme emergency. In such cases, copies of the orders or communications shall be forwarded simultaneously to the Superintendent.
- They shall, in case of enquiries, in which the department assists, work in subordination to the Superintendent, who shall control their movements and proceedings relating to the cases and enquiries of his district.
- When an enquiry or investigation taken under control or assisted by the department covers more than one district, the officer deputed shall send copes of enclosures to each Superintendent concerned.
- The Superintendent of the district, who controls the movements of an officer as laid down in clause (b) above and receives his diaries in accordance with regulation 625 shall pass .his travelling allowance bills.
- The position of officers of the, department vis-a-vis subordinate local officers shall be determined in the absence of special order to the contrary, by their relative rank.
- Officers of the department deputed to districts shall not be employed by the Superintendent upon any enquiry or investigation other than that for which they are deputed without the sanction of the Deputy Inspector-General. Criminal Investigation Department.
- (Vide G. 0. No. 2856P1., dated 14th August 1944.
- (a) it is the desire of the Provincial Government that where a gang is known to exist, steps should be taken to prosecute the members in specific cases. If, however, it is thought that this procedure will not effectively break tip the organisation and there appears to be sufficient material for the institution of a gang case (sections 400 and 401 of -the Indian Penal Code), the Superintendent will request the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department, to depute an experienced Inspector of his department to collate the -evidence available. On conclusion of this enquiry the Inspector will place before the Superintendent and the Government Pleader of 4he- district concerned a report accompanied by statements based on the different headings of clause (b) below. The Superintendent will forward it with his -and the Government Pleader’s opinion through the Distinct Magistrate, to the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department. The Deputy Inspector-General will consult the Legal Remembrance and if he concurs will sanction the institution of the case and inform the Inspector-General and the Deputy Inspector-General of the- Range. (Sec regulation 1126).
- Though no enact rules can be prescribed for the investigation of gang casts, as each ease has its peculiar features, the following general instructions are laid down for the guidance of police officers m such cases. Evidence on the points noted below must always be sought for an obtained, if possible:—
- Evidence of the existence of a gang for the purpose of committing dacoity, robbery or theft during the time specified in the charges (establish by proof of facts as contemplated in section 10 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872).
- Evidence of the association of the suspected persons for the purpose of committing dacoities or thefts.
- Evidence of relationship by blood or marriage amongst the members of the gang.
- Evidence in corroboration of the approver’s statement on material points as contemplated in section 114 (b) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, duly verified by a responsible police officer.
- Evidence of confessions of co-accused previously recorded at different times and places (vide sections 30 and 114 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872).
- Evidence of specific cases of dacoities and thefts committed by the gang.
- Evidence of the recovery of property stolen in dacoities and thefts or suspicious property found in possession of the accused.
(viii) Evidence of the simultaneous absence from their homes in batches or singly of known members of the gang coincidence with the occurrences of dacoities and thefts in the neighbourhood.
- Evidence of any increase or decrease in the number of dacoities or thefts coincident with the presence of absence of the members of the gang.
- Evidence of the cessation of dacoities and thefts in the affected area after the arrest of the members.
- Evidence of the habitual commission of dacoities or thefts to be proved by an aggregate of acts.
- Evidence of changes of residence to avoid suspicion.
(xiii) Proof of previous convictions for dacoites and thefts (the former alone can be proved in a case under section 400 of the Indian Penal Code, but convictions under sections 379, 380 and 457, etc., of the Indian Penal Code, can be proved on a charge under section 400 or 401 of the Indian Penal Code, to establish the habits of individuals or the association of the members).
- Proof of orders under section 110 (a), (b) and (c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure requiring any of the accused persons to give security for his good behaviour, to prove that the person is a habitual theif (vide unreported case of Emperor versus Meher Au Sarkar and others, decided on the 20th March 1901 by J. J. Prinsep and Hill).
- Proof orders for security for good behaviour, when two or more of the accused have been bound over in one proceeding under section 110 (a), (b) and (c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure as evidence of association [vide section 117 (4) of that Code].
- Documentary evidence in the shape of relevant entries in enquiry slips, in the surveillance register, the Village Crime Note Book, and other registers which are required by order of the Inspector-General to be maintained at a police-station This evidence would probably be admissible under section 35 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872; but, if not, might be used under section 159 of that Act to refresh memory.
(c)Much evidence which is not ordinarily admissible in criminal cases, is admissible in cases under sections 400 and 401 of the Indian Penal Code, as-the persons accused in these cases are in fact members of a conspiracy, and so section 10 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, will apply. Previous convictions of dacoity are admissible in a case under section 400, and thefts under section 401 of the Indian Penal Code, under explanation 2, section 14 of the Indian Evidence Acts 1872 (Emperor versus Nava Kumar Patnaik, I C.W.N., Page 146).
Much of the evidence enumerated under the different heads above will be admissible under section 11 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
- A separate file shall be opened for every enquiry and investigation in which the department takes part, whether by control or assistance, which shall contain copies of all orders or communications issued and of all diaries, reports and communications received.
- (a) Every officer of the department deputed to a district or to Calcutta shall carry with him a letter addressed to the Superintendent or the Commissioner of Police, as the case may be, either describing the nature of the enquiry on which he is sent or, in cases where great secrecy is required, authorizing him to explain the object of his mission verbally. In cases, in which the officer is not to work in subordination to the Superintendent, the Superintendent will arrange to give him such assistance as may be necessary.
- Such letters shall be delivered personally, unless the Deputy Inspector-General otherwise directs.
- Where an officer so deputed has occasion to Visit a district, to the Superintendent of which he has not received a letter of introduction, he shall invariably report his arrival to the Superintendent and establish his identity, if required to do so, by means of his detective warrant, or otherwise.
- The rules regarding detective warrants will be found in Appendix XXXI.
- (a) A Criminal Intelligence Bureau is attached to the Department to enable it to deal effectively with professional and organized crime, and to supply investigating officers with all information which is on record regarding ~any particular class of crime or criminal.
(b) A “General Index to the information on record” under which information has been complied and classified in the Bureau is shown in Appendix XXXII.
- (a) When a case occurs in a district in which the modus operandi shows any interesting
peculiarity or novelty or indicates that any of the classes of criminals mentioned in Appendix XXXII or any other known class of itinerant professional criminal is concerned and the accused is unknown or has absconded after committing the investigating officer shall make a reference to the Criminal Intelligence Bureau in B. P. Form No. 137. The descriptive roll in column 7 of the form shall be carefully prepared as far as practicable in accordance with the instructions contained in Appendix -X. Such references shall be made at the earliest possible moment and shall be replied to by the Bureau with the least possible delay.
- In cases where the accused is under arrest and finger prints have to be sent to the Finger Print Bureau under regulation 493, no separate reference shall ordinarily be made to the Criminal Intelligence Bureau. In such cases, the Criminal Intelligence Bureau will peruse the search reference slips (B. P. Form No. 53) received in the Finger Print Bureau, make a search in addition to that made by the latter and communicate all available information of ‘value to the Court officer concerned.
- On receipt of the elimination list as provided in regulation the officer-in-charge of the Finger Print Bureau shall eliminate all useless or out-of-date information.
- A Photographic Bureau is attached to the department. The staff of trained photographers is available—
- to take photographs of
- to take photographs .of foot .and finger prints, hand-writing and forged notes,
- to take photographs of. scenes of crime, and
- to make enlargements and prepare photographs for reproduction in print.
- Photographs of a number of notorious criminals, classified in Appendix XXXIII, are on record. Superintendents and the Assistant to the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department, shall secure the portraits of such criminals whenever possible. Photographs, however, can only be taken in accordance with the provisions of the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 (Act XXXIII or 1920).
- (a) A list shall be maintained by the officer-in-charge of the Photographic Bureau showing the places in the province where local photographers reside who have agreed to take photographs for the department at. reasonable rates. Whenever possible, in order to save the expense of travelling the services of such photographers shall be utilised.
(b) In places where no local photographer resides, or in cases where a large number of criminals are erquired to be’ photographed separately, a photographer from department shall be deputed.
NOTE.—When a private’ photographer or- a photographer of the department below the rank of Sub-Inspector is employed to take the photograph, an officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector shall be present when the photograph is taken [vide section 2(b) of the Identification of Prisoners Act, 19201.
- (a) Photographs shall ordinarily be taken of the head and shoulders only, in full face and profile, and in quarter plate size.
(b) Prisoners should be photographed in’ ordinary and not in prison dress.
- (a) Photographs of prisoners should only be taken by order of a Super- intendment or officer of higher rank.
- Photographs should only be taken-
- in connection with an investigation, inquiry or trial; and
- in the case generally of prisoners accused of classes of offences for which a photographic record is deemed necessary.
- (i) In respect of photographs taken under clause (b) (i) the Superintendent, when sanctioning the taking of the photograph, will state the number of copies to be printed from the negative. When a photographer, other than an officer of the Photographic Bureau, is employed, an officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector shall be present when the photograph is taken; he shall also be present when the negative is developed and when the prints are taken. When the number of prints ordered by the Superintendent has been completed, the Sub-Inspector shall take possession of the negative and prints and forward them in a sealed cover to the Superintendent, who will keep the negative in his personal custody. When the investigation, enquiry or trial is completed, the negative and prints will be forwarded to the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department, for disposal. The same procedure shall be adopted when an officer of the department below the rank of Sub-Inspector is employed to take the photograph, but when the officer taking such photograph is of or above the rank of Sub-inspector it will not be necessary far another officer to be present Section 2(b) of the Identification of Prisoners Act, 920].
(ii) Negative sent by post should be carefully packed in soft paper and enclosed in a wooden box. Card-board boxes should not be used, owing to the danger of damage from the post-office stamp.
- Photographs of persons arrested in connection with an offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term of one year or upwards should be taken only in cases where the place of occurrence and the place of arrest are so far apart that it would cause unnecessary inconvenience to take the arrested person or persons to the spot without applying the preliminary test.
- A photograph intended to be used for the purpose of identification should be placed in a sealed cover with eight or ten photographs of other persons, taken under similar conditions and despatched by the Superintendent in whose district the case is registered to the officer deputed to conduct the identification or to the Superintendent, it the identification is to take place in another district, with instructions that the packet should not be opened until the time of identification, and then only in the presence of the witness whose identification is to be tested, and either of the Magistrate or of the two or more respectable persons invited to preside over the identification.
- (i) Photographs for record under clause (b) (ii), will ordinarily only be taken after the conviction of accused persons. But in the case ~of persons accused of drugging, coining, note forgery, professional swindling, railway thefts and professional pocket-picking on a second conviction, murder of women accompanied with robbery; and also in the case of all persons belonging to the registered criminal tribes, e.g., Barwars, Sanauriahs, Chain Mallabs, Marwari
Bauriabs, Muzaffarpur Sonars, Jadua Brahrnins and Bhamptas, photographs should be taken for record whether the accused arrested is convicted or not; provided that, except in the case of criminal tribes, the negatives and photographs of the unconvinced persons of the classes mentioned above must always remain in the personal custody of the Deputy inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department. They should be placed in sealed covers in an iron safe, the key of which will remain either with the Deputy Inspector-General himslf or his Assistant.
(ii) Mounted copies shall be kept of all photographs taken or received, and shall be classified according to the classes mentioned in Appendix XXXIII.
Coppies of photographs in Excise or Opium Act cases shall be supplied to the Excise Bureau.
- Formal certificates of the precautions and of the identification proceedings should be made by the officer responsible and attached to the investigation record. The certificates in the forms below should be signed by the officer taking the photographs and by the officer conducting the identification proceedings:
I CERTIFY that under the orders of the Superintendent I took photographs of
of village………………………………………… , police-station…………………..
district……………………………………… , accused or suspected in case No
of police-station……………………………………………….. , district…………..
That all the negatives taken by me and the prints struck off from the negative have been forwarded to the Superintendent.
NOTE.—If the photograph was taken by a photographer not belonging to the Photographic Bureau, the officer present under clause (C) (I) will submit the certificate stating that he was present when the photograph was taken, developed and printed, and that all the negatives and punts were forwarded by him to the Superintendent.
Certificate to be given by the officer conducting the identification.
CERTIFIED that I received a sealed cover from……………………………………………… and that this
cover was not opened until the time of the identification. I also certify that when the cover was opened the following witnesses were present………………………………………………..
The packet, when opened, contained …………………………………………………………………………………..
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. photographs, and
these were all handed together to the witness who, in the presence of the abovenamed witnesses to the identification, picked out the photograph numbered……………………………………..
NOTE.—This certificate should also be signed by the witnesses to the identification.
- Subject to the provisions of clause (1). if an untried prisoner, who has not been previously convicted, shall have been photographed, all photographs (both negatives and copies) shall be forthwith destroyed or handed over to such prisoner in the event of his being released without trial or discharged or acquitted by any court, unless the court or (if such person is released without trial), the District Magistrate or Subdivisional Magistrate for reasons to be recorded in writing, otherwise directs.
- When the opinion or evidence of a handwriting expert is considered necessary by any judicial officer in a criminal case, a report should be sent by, or through the District Magistrate to the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department, informing him at the same time of the date by which the opinion of the expert will expert, be required. If the services of the Government expert attached to the Criminal Investigation Department are available or can be made available by the mentioned, the Deputy Inspector-General will arrange for that officer to do the preliminary work, calling for the necessary documents to be examined by the expert who will give an opinion and, if necessary, give evidence in court. Otherwise the Deputy Inspector- General will refer the matter to the Superintendent and Remembrance of Legal Affairs, who will, on his authority, arrange for the engagement of a private expert if he is satisfied that expert opinion is required to meet the ends of justice in the case and determine the scale of fees to be paid to such, experts. The fees charged by such an expert for appearance before a court as a
witness are debatable to the allotment for “Diet and travelling allowance of witnesses” of the officer at whose instance the requisition is made, or to his allotment for “Other contingent charges” if the fees are paid for obtaining his opinion. In making their report to the Deputy Inspector-General, District Officers should mention the state of their allotments under these heads.
The scale of fees for the Government expert when his service will be requisitioned in private cases, will be as follows: —
- for giving opinion -a minimum fee of Rs.60 per case.
- for giving evidence in Court—a fee of Rs.60 per case per diem.
- for photographic enlargement—Rs. 10 for each copy of enlargement.
The usual travelling allowance of the expert and his pay for the period of his absence from headquarters should also be borne by the party concerned.
[See Appendix XVII, paragraph 23.]
- The expert attached to the department can give an opinion on matters relating to foot prints. His services for taking moulds and tracings of prints may either be requisitioned by investigating officers or moulds and tracings may be seat to him for examination and opinion.
- The expert attached to the department can give an -opinion on matters relating to note forgery. His services should be requisitioned when required by investigating officers.