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RSTV: THE BIG PICTURE- SMART POLICING


RSTV: THE BIG PICTURE- SMART POLICING


Introduction:

            Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu has stressed on the need to make policing and police station people centric and receptive. Addressing a National Seminar on SMART policing , he suggested tapping the IT potential in investigation and safety and security management . Vice President Naidu also emphasised on the need to address shortage of manpower , improving transport and communication facilities and other aspects of police reforms as suggested by the Supreme Court.

 

What is Smart Policing?

  • It is the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he addressed the DGP’s Conference in the year 2014 in Guwahati.
  • He called for making the police force of the country ‘SMART’ police force which is Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive; Techno-savvy and Trained.
  • He called for
    • Sensitivity and responsiveness of police force to the people.
    • Being equipped properly.
    • Technology usage- technology enables criminals in the world sitting anywhere to commit crime with speed and precision anywhere.
    • Proper training of police personnel

 

Current Situation:

  • Our police is still under the grip of traditional British raj mindset both in regards to their loyalty and professional abilities.
  • All states have their own laws because police falls under state law.
  • Lack of political and police relationship.
  • Expenditure is only 3%.
  • 30% vacancies still exist in police forces which is the biggest problem.
  • Police accountability

Police forces have the authority to exercise force to enforce laws and maintain law and order in a state. However, this power may be misused in several ways. To check against such abuse of power, various countries have adopted safeguards, such as accountability of the police to the political executive, internal accountability to senior police officers, and independent police oversight authorities

  • Crime Investigation

Each police officer is responsible for a large segment of people, given India’s low police strength per lakh population as compared to international standards. While the United Nations recommended standard is 222 police per lakh persons, India’s sanctioned strength is 181 police per lakh persons. After adjusting for vacancies, the actual police strength in India is at 137 police per lakh persons.

  • Crime investigation and Underreporting of crime in India

In 2015, the conviction rate for crimes recorded under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was 47%.19 The Law Commission has observed that one of the reasons behind this is the poor quality of investigations.

  • Poor Police infrastructure

Police stations are ill equipped. Modern policing requires a strong communication support, state-of-art or modern weapons, and a high degree of mobility. The CAG has noted shortcomings on several of these fronts. Innovation in weapons.

  • Police-Public relations

Police requires the confidence, cooperation and support of the community to prevent crime and disorder. A police-public relation is an important concern in effective policing. The Second Administrative Reforms Commission has noted that police-public relations is in an unsatisfactory state because people view the police as corrupt, inefficient, politically partisan and unresponsive.

  • Crime rate between 2005-15 increased by 28% but the conviction rate as per IPC crimes in 2015 was only 47% because of lack of good investigation.

 

Journey of Police reforms:

  • National Police commission 1977-81
  • Rubeiro Committee 1998
  • Padmanabhaiah committee 2000
  • Malimath committee 2002-03
  • Police Act drafting committee 2005
  • Supreme Court directions in Prakash Singh vs Union of India 2006
  • Second ARC 2007
  • Police Act drafting committee-II 2015

 

Urgency in implementing Police Reforms?

As India makes rapid advances towards becoming an economic and political superpower, our police cannot continue to remain frozen in the frame of a past era.

  • The avalanche of social and technological changes fuelled by the internet and the new social media are fast changing the nature, intensity and the reach of crime leading to unprecedented lawlessness and frightening dimensions of global terrorism.
  • There is an urgent need to strengthen our Criminal Justice System and our grassroots level policing institutions;
    • to prepare our police to deal with the present and emerging challenges and
    • Strengthen its investigative capabilities and emergency response infrastructure.
  • Traditional and linear devices used in the past towards police reform may not be sufficient.
  • Considering the multiple causes and their complex interdependencies associated with today’s policing issues, there is a realization that these challenges require broader, more collaborative and innovative approaches and would involve a range of coordinated and interrelated responses.

It was in this context that the Indian Police Foundation and Institute was established, bringing together the multiple stakeholders to collectively work for reform and modernization of the police. However this could form only part of the solution.

 

Directions of the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh vs Union of India

In 1996, a petition was filed before the Supreme which stated that the police abuse and misuse their powers. It alleged non-enforcement and discriminatory application of laws in favour of persons with power, and also raised instances of unauthorised detentions, torture, harassment, etc. against ordinary citizens. The petition asked the court to issue directions for implementation of recommendations of expert committees.

In September 2006, the court issued various directions to the centre and states including:

  • Constitute a State Security Commission in every state that will lay down policy for police functioning, evaluate police performance, and ensure that state governments do not exercise unwarranted influence on the police.
  • Constitute a Police Establishment Board in every state that will decide postings, transfers and promotions for officers below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police, and make recommendations to the state government for officers of higher ranks.
  • Constitute Police Complaints Authorities at the state and district levels to inquire into allegations of serious misconduct and abuse of power by police personnel.
  • Provide a minimum tenure of at least two years for the DGP and other key police officers within the state forces
  • Ensure that the DGP of state police is appointed from amongst three senior-most officers who have been empanelled for the promotion by the Union Public Service Commission on the basis of length of service, good record and experience.
  • Separate the investigating police from the law and order police to ensure speedier investigation, better expertise and improved rapport with the people.
  • Constitute a National Security Commission to shortlist the candidates for appointment as Chiefs of the central armed police forces.

 

Way Forward:

  • Police forces need to behave smart, act smart and deliver smart.
  • External Interference which is a huge problem and police should be given freedom.
  • The police force needs to be freed from the stranglehold of the executive and given functional autonomy to enforce the rule of law.
  • Implementing Supreme Court’s directions in Prakash Singh case that police must be service oriented for the citizenry in a manner which is efficient, scientific and consistent with human dignity.
  • It is high time that Government consider bringing police in the “concurrent list” of the Constitution.
  • Clear separation of law and order and crime functions of the police.
  • Need to fill up the huge vacancies in the police and upgrade its infrastructure in terms of housing, transport, communications and forensics.
  • Police should be a SMART Police – a police which should be strict and sensitive, modern and mobile, alert and accountable, reliable and responsible, tech-savvy and trained.
  • The police must get its due and must be enabled to perform its mandated functions.
  • Providing proper training to the constables and inculcating in them a sense of confidence and discipline.
  • Evidence based policing is gaining credibility day by day – Indian police force must be exposed to it.
  • Second ARC recommended that the government should declare certain crimes as “federal” and entrust their investigation to a Central agency.
  • Police need to have the operational freedom to carry out their responsibilities professionally, and satisfactory working conditions, while being held accountable for poor performance or misuse of power.
  • What we need today is People’s Police.
  • Our strength and influence abroad begins with the steps we take at home. Our policymakers must appreciate this simple truth.

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