Police is a civil authority of the government represented by a body of officers whose duties are maintaining and executing law, order and safety of the citizens. For people, the police are considered as the source to put an end to a problematic situation. Policing may be performed by various organizations public police forces, the military, private organisations providing security guards and a lot more all with the surveillance and investigative powers at different scales. The best known of these are the public constabulary forces identify through uniform and marked cars patrolling public spaces. Thus, they are the most insight representatives of the civil authority of government.
1.1 Roles and Division
Police officers hold a position of honour and authority and hence they have to go through a great stem of physical and academic training to become part of the police force.
The police of the country has been divided into two sections Centre and the state. Police forces of the various states are governed by their state laws and regulations. State police forces generally have two arms: civil and armed police. The civil police are responsible for day-to-day law and order and crime control. Armed police are kept in reserve, till additional support. The state government exercises control and superintendence over the state police forces. The centre maintains various central armed police forces and paramilitary forces, of which four guards India’s borders, and three perform specialised tasks. These are Assam Rifles (AR) Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and National Security Guards (NSG). The hierarchy within the state police is among 3 main divisions Constabulary, Upper Subordinates and Officer’s rank. The table below briefs about the division of power within the state police force.
- ISSUES RELATED TO FUNCTIONING OF POLICE
2.1 Political Influence
Apart from lack of resources within the police force, it is said political interference is the major issue responsible for plaguing the police force. Transfers, postings, inquiries, proceedings, appraisals and awards are influenced and controlled by the politicians. This makes the force susceptible to wraths and punishments and takes away their independence as well. The recent example of this can be examined in the North-east Delhi riots during February 2020. Decisions were taken by the Home Ministry and they were politically motivated. Delhi police played a biased role towards the Muslim community as the decisions were taken by the home ministry and were politically motivated, apart from being better equipped and trained than other states police force it still failed to control the riots. They violated the notion of secularism which worsened the situation, Delhi police was impeded which didn’t let them take the matter in their own hands.
2.2 Lack of resources
Lack in human resources in the force hampers timely reporting at incident scenes, overburdening the police which decreases the chances for timely redressal. As per the United Nations, ’ recommended standard is of 222 police per lakh persons but India can employ 2.8 million in 2017 while out of which only 1.9 million police officers were employed (a 30% vacancy rate). As per Mint’s calculations, there are only 144 police officers for every 100,000 citizens. States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh’s police forces are all extremely understaffed approximately 100 police staff for 100,000 population which is very poor. North-East and Punjab can be stated as the only states with the properly staffed police force that meets the global standard as set by the UN. As retrieved from the Bureau of Police Research and Development modernisation equipment like new-age weapons, forensic labs, transport infrastructure are inadequate in approximately 260 police stations in the country. Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reported The Rajasthan state police required 15,884 weapons, of which the received only 25% causing 75% paucity of weapons.
- CASE STUDY
3.1 Northeast Delhi Riots- 2020
Riots broke out in the evening of February 23, 2020, in Jaffrabad area of North East Delhi. Initially, the ruckus was among the anti CAA protestors and Pro CAA which gradually turned into devastating communal violence. As recorded, more than 53 people died and approximately 200 people were severely injured. The violence affected the transport and communication system in the area along with its shops and houses were burnt down and places of worship were vandalized. On February 23, hours before the communal riots broke out in Northeast Delhi, BJP leader Kapil Mishra gave “ultimatum” to the police to remove anti-CAA protests blocking roads in the area. He asked people to gather at Maujpur Chowk in support of the CAA in reply to the roadblock by those protesting against the new citizenship law. This was widely reported to be an inciting factor. Worsened situations forced the government to impose Section 144, in riot-hit areas, had little effect. Violence also took place in Seelampur, Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Kardampuri, Babarpur, Gokalpuri and Shiv Puri. Areas like Shiv Vihar and Yamuna Vihar. The communal harmony was disturbed but on the contrary in many areas Hindus and Muslims together protected each other from the atrocities thus, maintaining the communal harmony. The ferocity eventually ended on 29th February 2020.
3.2 Role of Police
As gained from the survivors of the riots the role of Delhi Police in curbing the riots has been questioned at various levels. The complaint regarding them being politicised turned the leaf towards their deliberate inaction. Police blamed the shortfall of men that led them to not be able to curb the riots, which claim was denied by the ministry. There were instances reported of police shooting people recklessly and randomly, there were complaints of Police refusing to register FIR’s and custodial tortures for the Muslim community victims. A video was viral over social media portraying police officials forcing Muslim people to sing ‘Vande Mataram’. The Panel of Delhi Minorities Committee revealed instances of verbal abuse and sexual abuse by police men towards the women during the riots. The Panel commented- It is clear that the police did not come forward to help and, in several instances, resorted to violence towards women. The politicisation of Delhi Police either made them as the Mute spectators or the active participants in the riots. Their failure to maintain law and order in the capital city can be concluded the partisanship to the centre government which led them to play a biased role in the whole situation. Yet, on the contrary the chief Felon accused for initiating this dreadful
event roams out lose with no actions being taken. Delhi Police failed to acknowledge a quote by “Jesse Ventura”- ‘I love my country, Not my Government’.
An offline survey was conducted among the youth and adults of Delhi regarding their opinion on North-east Delhi riots and the role of police in managing it
Out of the 40 respondents 78% of them believed that Delhi police failed to curb the riots because they are partisan to the central government. Politicisation influenced their decision-making activity and efficiency. They were more like a spectator which also made some of the personnel victims of the riots. Their selective outrage pointed towards the biased role; others were too scared to fight. It was a mixture of bully and cowardice rather than righteous. Their actions were against the democratic norms of our country, basic human rand fundamental rights were taken away from the people.
38 Respondents agreed towards necessity in change of the recruitment and qualification criteria within the force and suggested training period to be made mandatory for all the personnel for better redressal, ethics and efficiency. They believed improper management of the riots was due to improper inculcations of ethics and norms within some of the police personnel which forced them to take decisions not in the interest of the people.
Figure – 3.2
95% of the respondents believed that the reason for poor inaction of the police if political police riot nexus. While only 4% of them blames understaffed personnel responsible for poor the management.
- REFORMS IN THE POLICE FORCE
Cases of Police brutality just can’t be instanced from Delhi riots of 2020, various incidents take us towards the need for police reforms in the force. Recently On 19 June 2020, P. Jayaraj and his son J. Bennicks were picked up for inquiry by the Tamil Nadu Police and then killed in custody for violating the Indian government’s COVID-19 lockdown rules. This custodial death outraged the nation towards police brutality. On the other hand, it is critical to understand the other side of the same coin which states the blemished conditions under which police works. They are poorly paid and kept under lack of resources, politicised and sometimes under corrupt officials. These listed situations also tend to make them unfair and unjust towards their duty.
According to Parliamentary Research Services (PRS), they expressed six areas within which the police force needs reforms. Police Infrastructure, public-police relations, poor working conditions, overburdened police, Separate laws for police and Politicisation of the force. It is bootless to assume of a modern India without extemporization of the police force. Police and Political nexus crime exist because politicians tend to have control over the decisions regarding officers posting thus, it is important to form a system to subtract political interference. This will give the officers freedom in their work allowing them to be more consistent and responsible towards their roles and responsibilities. To reform this flaw
in the system, there has to be changed in the recruitment and selection process for the police force which has to be honest and transparent. It is known that not all of the members within the force go through the training period. Training is an important procedure to inculcate better knowledge, ethics and problem-solving skills. Establishment of Police complaint authorities would try to reduce unwanted politicisation in the force and professionalism will be enhanced.
Understaffing is another issue within the force which leads to overburdening of work that reduces the efficiency of the police personnel making them ignorant towards their other important tasks and incites poor quality of work. It has a poor effect on their mental health too which altogether as a whole increases number of pending cases, crime prevention and response. It has to be appreciated that police worked and helped people beyond their duties under life-threatening conditions amid the pandemic. They protected the citizens and health care workers and ensured smooth movement of essential commodities during the lockdown. But it has paved a way for the need for soft skills within the force that will allow them to deal with people through effective communication and minimal use of violence. Many of them lost their lives to the virus but it was observed that police lacked the ground level capacity which allows essential functioning as the first responder to dreadful events. The reason behind this is only 3% expenditure on police from the central and state government budgets. police budgets have focused solely on manpower. In a large country like India police needs to be well-equipped in terms of, weaponry, forensic, communication and transport support. Budgets need to have allocations towards the capacity building to modify the structure to achieve the desired outcome.
From the above said and observed it can be concluded that Reforms are a necessity in the police force. Model Police Act was passed in 2006 and since then no strong amendment and decision as such has been taken to improve the condition as well as prevent police to work outside of their ethics and codes. Political influence over the force prevents them to take immediate honest actions thus, Politics and Police are in the dire need to be kept away from each other. Most importantly the need for investment in the force either in terms of human resources or modern equipment’s is the need of the hour for proper management of a country with lives of 130 crore.
- Rebeiro,Julio. Retrieved from https://thewire.in/government/delhi-riots-since-it-is-amit-shah-they-report-to-the-police-has-been-fully-politicised
- Rahman, Syed. Retrieved from https://www.sify.com/news/why-police-failed-to-contain-delhi-riots-2020-news-columns-udnbtlgdfgbjj. 7th April 2020.