Police Reforms in India

Police Reforms in India

Context: Recently, PM Modi focussed on the need of Police Reforms at the recently held DGP, IGP meet. He stressed on the need of modernisation of the police forces and receommended them to ‘work with data instead of danda’.

What are Police Reforms?
• Firstly, Police comes under state list of 7th Schedule of Indian Constitution.
• The police reforms aim to transform the values, culture and practices of Police organization.
• It also aims to improve how the police interact with other parts of the security sector, such as courts, executive departments or parliamentary authorities.
• The present Indian police system is largely based on the Police act of 1861. State legislation on policing is based on this Act.

What is the need for Police reforms in India?
• Outdated Framework: The basic framework of the Indian police system was established in 1861. With society undergoing dramatic transformations, especially post-independence, there is a pressing need to modify this system.
• Overburdened Police Force: Police-public ratio in India stands at 152 per lakh person, against the sanctioned public-police ratio of 196 per lakh person (as on 1st January 2022). It is considerably low when compared with the UN’s recommended standard of 222 police per lakh persons.
• Politician-Police-Criminal Nexus: The current system places the police forces under the control of the executive, which has led to instances of the police being used for personal or political interests.
• Constabulary Issues: The constabulary constitutes 86% of the state police forces. Constabulary suffers from several issues like limited promotion opportunities and harsh working conditions (Lack of housing facilities, long working hours, staying awy from home). It has weakened their incentive to perform well.
• Lack of Adequate Representation of Women: There is a lack of adequate representation of women (11.7% as on January 2022) in the police force.
• Botched up Crime Investigation: The 22nd Law Commission has pointed out that conviction rate for crimes recorded under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is less than 50%.
• Custodial Deaths: As per Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) report, 144 custodial deaths took place from 2017 to 2018.
• The Model Police Act, 2006 drafted by Soli Sorabjee has not been enacted in letter and spirit across the nation.
• State police forces are incapable to tackle internal security challenge. For example, J&K has been
witnessing unrest for the last 30 years.
• People in general also do not have confidence in Police. This applies more to lower strata of society who believe that there is one law for the poor and another for the rich and powerful.
• • • • • • Law and order problems are becoming more complex. Organized Crime has acquired international dimensions. Police in India are seen to be less trained and prepared to tackle issues of arms trafficking, drug trafficking and cyber-crime.
• Need to Tackle Modern Crimes: There is a need to upgrade the skills of our policemen to effectively tackle 21st-century crimes such as cybercrimes and economic offences.

How are Police Reforms likely to benefit India?
• Most importantly it will help address modern day crimes such as Deep Fakes, cyber-crime, online finance frauds, organized crimes
• Greater Gender sensitivity especially with better representation of women.
• Strengthen our fight against elements of society that are threat to internal security of the country. Police reforms will bring in more peace and prosperity.
• Police reforms along the lines of Criminal law reforms will address the issue of colonial legacy.
• Reduce custodial deaths

Which committees have been involved in recommending Police reforms?
• National Police Commission (1978-82): This commission was constituted in 1977 to study the problems of police and make a comprehensive review of the police system at the national level.
• Ribeiro Committee (1998): This committee was constituted on the directions of the Supreme Court of India to review action taken by the Central Government/State Governments/UT Administrations in regard to police reforms.
• Padmanabhaiah Committee 2000: Standardisation of recruitment procedures for the police force & training.
• Soli Sorabjee Committee 2005: A new model police bill to replace the colonial 1861 Police Act.
• 2nd ARC: Separation of crime investigation from other police functions like maintenance of law and order.

SMART policing - To encourage innovations and the use of modern technologies, SMART Policing has been introduced. It implies:
o S – Sensitive and Strict
o M – Modern and Mobility
o A – Alert and Accountable
o R – Responsive and Reliable
o T – Tech-savvy and Trained

What are the Seven Directives of Supreme Court in Prakash Singh vs Union of India?
• Merit based appointment of DGP in a transparent process with minimum 2 year tenure.
• Set up a Police Establishment Board (PEB) to decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of police.
• Setting up a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) at state level to inquire into public complaints against police officers of above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.

Way Forward
• Major chunk of Police budget goes to paying salaries, establishment costs for Police personnel. Thus, there is need for increase in allocation for training, procurement of weapons, investment in technology so that Police can function better.
• Effectively implement the Malimath Committee recommendations to reform the criminal justice system.
• Improve communication with citizens. Citizens shouldn’t fear Police personnel. Community policing initiatives such as Janamaithri Suraksha Project-Kerala’, ‘Meira Paibi-Assam‘ should be undertaken to improve ground level policing.
• There is enormous scope for technological inputs into the functioning of the police. There is also need to upgrade the existing cyber cells. 

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