‘Police must change from a force to a service’

November 14th, 2007 - 1:54 am ICT by admin  
New Delhi, Oct 9 (ANI): Will the Indian police, which has been a ‘force’ used by colonial rulers and their successors to execute their orders, will change to become a People’s Service, as envisaged by the founding fathers of our Constitution?

One of the main problems faced by the police has been constant interference in their working by the new breed of politicians. It has been difficult for the police to work independently, and serve the people of the country.

There is hope that things would change. Much of the credit should go to Prakash Singh, former retired Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh, who has been able to get a directive from the Supreme Court earlier this year to insulate the police from political pressure.

But not all police personnel know about these directives. Singh has written an open letter to all police personnel in the country to make them aware of these directives. He has used Gfiles, the magazine that reaches all bureaucrats, including police personnel to convey his message.

He has pointed out that the Supreme Court has, in its directive visualized three new institutions at the State level.

Three new institutions are setting up of state security commissions to insulate the police from political pressure, the Police Establishment Board to give autonomy to the police in personnel matters and the police complaints authority to strengthen the accountability mechanism.

Besides, the apex court has also laid down a transparent procedure for selection of the DGP, prescribed a minimum tenure for all field officers and directed that the investigation and the law and order functions be separated in bigger terms.

The apex court directions have been fully obeyed by the nine states, whereas some states have partially obeyed the directions.

On the other hand, some states have passed laws that are not in conformity with the apex court directions. While there are some states who are facing contempt application filed against them as they adopted an insolent procedure.

Whatever be the scene but as mentioned by Singh, “an atmosphere has already been built up in favour of the apex court directions. Still, we need to mobilize the support of NGOs and other significant segments of society, particularly the media.”

Apart from this Singh also raised certain issues which need to be addressed. First is ‘Reception’ that is if a complainant approaches police he or she should be properly received. If the matter may or may not be related to the police, but they should hear matter patiently and take appropriate action.

Secondly, police officers ‘Behaviour’ should be polite, courteous and sympathetic rather than being uncivilized, unsympathetic and brutish. Training institutions can be a great help to make police officer civilized.

Terming third issue as ‘Reporting’, Singh wants to focus on “non-registration of cases which continues to be a serious problem.” According to him, frivolous complaints should be quickly verified and for this improvement in the registration of cases is required.

Another issue dealt is ‘Integrity’ of the police officers. There are frequent complaints of policemen demanding money or even extorting it from the common man. However, it may not possible to get rid of corruption, but better management along with strict action should decrease the number of complaints.

As we know that ‘Women, tribal, Scheduled Castes and poor people’ need special kind of attention, dominance in dealing with issues related to them brings disrespect for the police.

Last but not the least is ‘Uphold the rule of law’. Under this, Singh said, “Deviating from the rule of law for shot-sighted gains would invariably land you in trouble. A large number of police officers have suffered for complying with the illegal directions of superiors.”

Singh even referred to the irregularities in the recruitment of constables in Uttar Pradesh, who obliged their political masters and made some gain for themselves too.

He emphasized “even if you have to pay a price today for not doing something which is wrong or illegal you should be willing to pay that today and retain your self respect and honour rather than risk humiliation and even prosecution at a later date.”

With addressing all these issues, Singh wants to say that policemen should be marked by a humane approach. At the same time, it is important that the police is willing to change, which in return changes the image of police in the eyes of the public. (ANI)

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