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Sansad TV: Police Reforms




Need for Police Reforms:

  • If India is to achieve its status as a great power, it is absolutely essential that police is restructured and modernised.
  • Without the police ensuring good law and order in the country, the other services would find it difficult to operate.
  • To transform the colonial police structure of the country into a progressive, modern force sensitive to the democratic aspirations of the people.
  • To eliminate the undue political interference. The police of today are victims of politicization as well as criminalization.
  • To instil the confidence of the people in the institution of police by making police more people friendly.
  • The security of the society and the welfare of the people is dependent on the efficiency of the police.

Hindrance in the way:

  • An overburdened police force:
    • Police force is overburdened especially at lower levels where constabulary is forced to work continuously 14-16 hrs and also for 7 days a week. It adversely impacts their performance.
    • While the sanctioned police strength was 181 police per lakh persons in 2016 when the United Nations recommended standard is 222 police per lakh persons.
    • 86% of the state police comprises of constabulary. Constables are typically promoted once during their service. This could weaken their incentive to perform well.
  • Improving police infrastructure:
    • Failure of police infrastructure like vehicles, weaponry. Also audits have found that the POLNET network is non-functional in various states.
    • For example, an audit of the Gujarat police force reported that the network had not been operationalised till October 2015 due to non-installation of essential infrastructure, such as remote subscriber units and generator sets.
    • Funds dedicated for modernisation of infrastructure are typically not utilised fully. For example, in 2015-16, only 14% of such funds were used by the states.
  • Political influence:
    • Second Administrative Reforms Commission has noted that ministers have used police forces for personal and political reasons.
  • 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.
  • Poor quality of investigation:
    • Crime per lakh population has increased by 28% over the last decade (2005-2015). However, convictions have been low. So it shows the poor quality of investigation.
    • The Law Commission and the Second Administrative Reforms Commission have noted that state police officers often neglect investigation because they are understaffed and overburdened with various kinds of tasks.
    • Further, they lack the training and the expertise required to conduct professional investigations.
    • They also have insufficient legal knowledge and the forensic and cyber infrastructure available to them is both inadequate and outdated. In light of this, police forces may use force and torture to secure evidence.
    • Crime investigations may be influenced by political or other extraneous considerations
  • Forensic labs:
    • Expert bodies have however said that these laboratories are short of funds and qualified staff. Further, there is indiscriminate referencing of cases to these labs resulting in high pendency.
  • Lack of co-ordination between centre and states is matter related to maintenance of law & order results in ineffective functioning of police force.
  • Police force is not in the position to tackle present problems of cybercrime, global terrorism, Naxalism because of structural weaknesses.
  • Prevalence of Rank system within the police force results in abuse of power by top level executive over lower level personnel.


  • The police force needs to be freed from the stranglehold of the executive and given functional autonomy to enforce the rule of law.
  • 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.