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The much needed Police reforms

Updated: May 9, 2023

Have you wandered why we need police why it actually came into being, who created it in the first place? Well, to tell you, in India the current state of police is borrowed from British's which they created to not only check on public but punish Indians for petty things.

As the current government on a mission now to give up everything of the colonial era and shed off the mindset of 'Gulami'. The Narendra Modi government took steps such as naming the Rajpath as Kartavyapath in the newly revamped central vista. Giving Indian Navy its new flag to changing the music of band played by the army. But every government has shied away from reforming the police, which still carries huge colonial legacy.

The intention of British was to create a force within the Indians who can come in handy to control rebellions, collecting taxes and revenue that is where the term 'District Collector' came from which we still use because its a household term common among the masses although the functions have changed a bit now.

The current sedition law we have was created by British's to put our Freedom fighter's in Jail. The system that was borrowed from colonizer's needs a change, there's no doubt about that.

Policing reforms have been the agenda and the most important policy that needs immediate attention since independence but unfortunately it has not resulted into much progress beside various committees and Supreme Court judgments.

Police is seen as an unsympathetic and selective in behavior. Data given by the government in parliament recently says, between 1st April and 30th November 2015, about 25,357 cases were registered under police category out of which 111 led to deaths in custody and about 330 cases of custodial torture.

The Status of Policing in India Report (SPIR) 2018 revealed that one out of two people condoned the use of violence by the police.

This data might not reflect the exact condition's as the other side of the coin shows the situation is much more aggrieved. If we go look at the infrastructure in which our police stations operate in the country, the work life balance of police forces and poor weaponry they are equipped with.

Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) has noted a 30.5% deficiency in stock of required vehicles (2, 35,339 vehicles) with the state forces.

The perception of police is far more devastating as we all know how police is perceived in the society rather then it of being a protector it is seen as an oppressor, corrupt and politically selective.

The current system follows a colonial legacy, 'The Police Act 1861' which was legislated by British’s after the revolt of 1857 to keep a check on public so that future revolts can be avoided and to create a force among the civilians to serve the interest the Crown. So the foundation of the policing system is laid to serve the political masters which reflects today very clearly. With the premier all India services that is the IPS has to obey its political bosses, what to expect from constabulary force which is 86% of total strength of police.

The accountability is very low and the promotions subject to willingness of elected leaders where the one who looks at the interest of political masters is the one appointed to higher and important positions.

There’s no question on credentials and merit of all who are promoted but the process doesn't involve complete discrepancy.

On one hand it’s important to give police the operational freedom at the same time it is important to ensure accountability so that it doesn’t lead to misuse of power and custodial killings.

The psychological pressure on the police force and poor work life balance especially the lower rank officer who has to face the wrath of their bosses despite being working day and night. Their children rarely get to see their parents if they are in police.

The strength of police force shows 24 % vacancies in Jan 2016. Recommended strength by United Nations is 222 per lakh population and in India despite the sanctioned strength of 181 per lakh population we have 137 per lakh population which shows how overburdened the system is and then the oppression is bound to happen no matter how well we train after all everyone is a human at the end of the day and that pressure passes on to public which leads to police tortures and killings.

Police account for about just 3 % of government spending (both state and central). Supreme court have to intervene as the political class seems busy with other things nowadays.

These reforms are required for the public to see the police as their helper and I hope these issues are looked upon and work to reform the police is realized soon.

stay tuned for more..




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