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News: A conference of the Directors General of Police of all the states and union territories was recently held in Delhi.
• It covered a wide range of subjects concerning national security. However, there is a serious lacuna. The agenda, year after year, reflects the security-related problems of the country at the macro level.
• But the grass roots problems are seldom taken up. The strength of a chain, as they say, is determined by its weakest link, and the weakest link today is the police station. It is in this context we will discuss about the need, issues and way forward as far as Police reforms in India are concerned.
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.
What are the issues associated with Police reforms?
• Even at present, the police are based on colonial laws like Indian Police Act, 1861. British used police as their instrument to suppress the voice of people and for their personal functions.
• There is also issue of Politicization of Police force where Police act according to the whimsies of their political leader.
• The Model Police Act, 2006 drafted by Soli Sorabjee has not been enacted in letter and spirit across the nation.
• Leaving aside the model police stations and some in the metro cities, the average police station presents a dismal picture — dilapidated building, case property like motorcycles and cars littered all over the compound, no reception room, filthy lockup, ramshackle furniture, police registers kept in clumsy racks, and so on.
• The staff, overworked and fatigued, is generally unresponsive, if not rude. Resources are meagre.
• According to the Status of Policing in India Report 2019, police in India work at 77 per cent of their sanctioned strength and these personnel work for 14 hours a day on average. There are close to 5,00,000 plus vacancies of police personnel.
• United Nations recommended standard is 222 police per lakh persons, while actual police strength in India is at around 137 police per lakh persons.
• Poor housing conditions and long working hours have an adverse impact on police performance. The National Police Commission had recommended 100 percent family accommodation for all non-gazetted police personnel. The satisfaction level today is hardly 31.24 percent.
• 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.
What are the initiatives taken by government?
• 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
• Model Police Act, 2016 – Emphasized the need to have professional police ‘service’ in a democratic society.
• Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System – Conceptualized by MHA, it aims to create comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing effectives and efficient policing at all levels.
What should be the way forward?
• There is a need for adequate training and firing practices to the police personnel on the latest weaponry which is being used by them.
• There is enormous scope for technological inputs into the functioning of the police. There is also need to upgrade the existing cyber cells.
• MHA has advised states/UT’s to conduct police recruitment drive in mission mode. Also, appointment of Women in police should be done by creating additional posts for them.
• Implement Seven directives of Supreme Court in Prakash Singh vs Union of India, 2006.