Why India Needs Police Reforms

Policing is an essential ingredient of the civil society. There is no way a society can feel safe, secure, and progressive if the police forces themselves (who are entrusted with the responsibility of law and order monitoring and management) feel safe, secure and motivated enough with loads of feeling for the goodwill of the masses.

Policing is not the same as it was on the eve of independence we did inherit a colonial police force which indeed was repressive of Indian people, never felt good of the Indian and owed allegiance to their British masters. The police did help India to come to terms with agony of partition, on behalf of Indian Government and did work objectively for the country, for a good period of time. After 1975, things went for a change when he bureaucracy went on to become “committed”. The change of the government, the tussle between IAS and IPS, the use of the police forces for furthering the interests of the politicians has not augured well for the morale of the police forces nor for their efficiency and working conditions.

The public perception about policing and reality are very different.

The way the country is moving, the direction in which the country is moving, changes in the policing, police force become inevitable.

To say that India needs police reforms is an under statement. 

Increase in population does have significant impact on the challenges and the performances of the police, and inevitably on the direction it takes for its growth. Ability to assess the challenge provides an allee to decide upon how disadvantages can be converted into advantage to envision the police of the 2010 or 2020 in an advantageous position corresponding to the overall national interests.

Corresponding to the increase in the global population from 6.3 billion in

2006 to estimated 6.7 billion in 2010 and 7.5 billion in 2020, India which is home to 1/6 of the humanity is expected to have its population rise from 1.1 billion in 2006 to 1.18 billion in 2010 and 1.35 billion in 2020 ipso facto figuring to 1.6% population  growth per annum. It is also expected that by 2020, Mumbai will be the most populated city in the world. Police being the custodian of peace, security and national unity in the environment will have larger challenges and responsibilities to shoulder and endure, necessitating appropriate measures to stand up to the problems and do better.

With further shrinking and diminishing of the globe to a global hamlet in the next fifteen years thanks to advancements in the fields of transport and communication, the magnitude of policing also becomes globalised with its own advantages and disadvantages. The shift certainly renders policing a trans-border phenomenon touching the entire humanity. With crimes and criminality transcending national borders, policing no more will remain an intra-border affair by 2020 and cooperation between the police in the international arena in the common interests of the rule of law and justice will become the most important condition by then.

Extradition and exchange of criminal intelligence will become centric to effective policing processes. It is not only transport and communication that render the globe smaller and contributes to bring global dimension to the criminality.

Computer and Internet revolution added another dimension to the issue along with global economic enterprises and their global reticulations adding their own contributions to the ascensive criminal tendencies and their global spread. Cyber crime is gaining its own currency in the police parlance with its reverberations felt in countries across the world. It will be trans-border cooperation or perish for the profession of policing in the milieu of the globalisation.

Terrorism as an international phenomenon against humanity will bring the need of watching and addressing trans-border crimes into sharp focus even to the exclusion of common intra-border crimes in priorities.

Technology is a powerful vehicle of the successful policing and constitutes the spine of effective policing. This is one factor that renders change inevitable for policing to update itself to keep abreast with the latest technological developments affecting police and policing either in criminal or policing activities. Technology explosions touching policing activities either as carriers of the policing activities or as policing techniques occurred in recent past are bound to continue with increasing pace in coming years and the technology advancements in related fields in the next five or fifteen years will be considerable, calling for suitable updating by the police. Again it is ‘remain fit or perish’ for the police. As for the rest, it is left to the vision of the top brass how to meet the gauntlets and make best out of the vicissitudes. If police fails here, criminals and antisocial elements will take advantage of the situation and gain upper hand in this field to be the ultimate apollyon of the policing concept as the saviour of the innocent and law-abiding citizens. It is an issue of whom among the police and criminals take better advantage of the open market of the technology explosions for survival and bring the other to its knee. Police ignore this bitter concours at its own peril.

Technology advancements in the fields of transport and communication do have potent impact on the policing methods as they serve as the harbinger of faster response time and provide access to areas unthought-of otherwise as possible. Communication technology is in vogue these days and bound to make further progress in coming five or fifteen years. Computer and Internet technologies are the other fields to be watched as a potent tool of the information technology. E-governance is a by-word now. It will be an omnipresent reality in 2020 with 2010 forming a part of the transition period. It will be particularly so in a key sector like policing with e-policing through computer and Internet technologies in policing methods and techniques going hi-tech the police administration and organizational activities will be fully computerized by that time. Computer and Internet technologies by 2020 may change the very face of the policing all over the world so much that the present police systems will remain by that time only as a matter of archival interests. Latest technologies like DNA profiling for identification and related activities will find universal acceptance as popular as fingerprints and footprints now. Even the researches on stem cells coming with solutions to decide and perhaps cure criminal tendencies cannot be ruled out. Also, researches and discoveries on super conductivity, solid fuel and liquid nitrogen and allied subjects may find some relevance to the process of the policing and policing techniques by the year 2020 if not earlier in 2010. What is called for is a vision and vigilance in part of the police leaders to make use of the breakthroughs at the advent of the right time to overtake the visionary and vigilant criminals in the quest for the superiority.

Economics and crimes are the two faces of the same coin in any society, more so in a democracy and economic growth perforce affect crime and criminal fields, in a major way. India’s increasingly dynamic and vibrant economic base lends credence to the view that India can achieve and sustain higher than historical rates of economic growth in the coming decades. The compounded effect of achieving the targeted annual GDP growth rate of 8.5 to 9 per cent over the next 20 years would result in a quadrupling of the real per capita income and almost eliminating the percentage of Indians living below the poverty line. This will raise India’s rank from around 10th today to 3rd from the top in 2020 among 207 countries given in the World Development Report in terms of GDP.
Inequality and disparities of the economic growth, particularly in an open market setting is the second Momus. It is naive to presume that economic growth brings peace and stability. The truth is other way round.

Statistics have proved that economic growth in the form of unequal distribution of the national wealth always increased the propensity towards violence, crime and instability in the country. This will be the major concern of the police in 2020. 

Factors like social inequities, conflicts arising out of the conversion of the traditional stratified society to egalitarian society, religious extremism, interstate territorial disputes, racial and linguistic violence and radical politics of the Maoist Communist Party variety will continue to plague the police of both 2010 and 2020 and keep them on their toes if not further add to their problems. India-Pakistan conflict may also continue to plague the country in form of internal instability prompted by ISI and such external agencies. In spite of terrorism prompted by external elements and extremist activities from disgruntled internal elements, police is expected to maintain the Indian social fabric intact, and this will be a major challenge to the police by 2020.

Elderly citizens of the age 65 years or more will rise to 76 millions strength in 2020 from 58 millions in 2010. This section of the society that is weak and incapable of looking after itself needs priority attention to prevent exploitations of their age-related infirmities in a society in which their children because of migrations to foreign countries or other parts of the country for job-related or other reasons leave them to their own fate unattended. The elder citizens are found targets of specific crimes and exploitations by unscrupulous elements, and police worth the name should have special programmes for their safety and well-being.

Police of advanced countries have special schemes and programmes for the safety and protection of this section of the society. Indian police is yet to catch up although scattered attempts are felt here and there. But, concrete measures in this direction are yet to shape up. Indian police must see awakening itself to this aspect of its responsibility by the year 2020.

All weaker sections of the society need special attention of the police with specific schemes for protection after careful study of crimes and criminal tendencies in the field and adoption of protection machinery most suited to the situation. Just having schemes do not make any difference. There should be will to earnestly execute them and bring safety and protection from exploitation to all the sections of the society to bring in overall atmosphere of peace, security and freedom from exploitation in the country in cause of its policing objectives. Indian police certainly will rise to this professional commitment by 2020.

Child labour is a crime as well as a social dilemma in a country where for many a square meal is a luxury. Though India has myriad Acts meant for the protection of the weaker sections of the society like children, women, SCs & STs, and bonded labourers, often their enforcements are found lacking in will to execute and sometimes steeped in social problems. The confusions and incertitudes in enforcing social legislations are likely to be overcome with the coming of age by the police by 2020 to meet the overall objectives to bring about an atmosphere of peace, security, stability and national unity to the country without disturbing the social fabric of the country.

In the ambience of globalization, safety and security needs of the foreigners also warrant priority attention. Incidence of rape and extortion of foreigners is increasingly becoming a common phenomenon in India these days. Indian police leaders will find themselves hand-tied by 2020 to attend this menace in the interests of their own country.

Indian police is going to be the future service of the country. A country where law and order problem is going to be compounded by the dual threat of terrorism as an external factor and the growing internal threats arising out of domestic turbulence. To top it all the growing misuse of power by the politicians the so called the chief executers of the laws. The time has come for the ‘survival of the fittest’ and that is what our police needs to be……. Bold, honest and controller of the corruption.
By A MP CADRE IPS officer choosing to remain anonymous

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