Helping the Police-Man

Submitted By : Harshit Ladva
Edited By : Arpit Pareek

Making stringent laws alone will not take the society to a pedestal better than the one we find it at now.

— SC Justice J.S Verma.

I can give you a list of world’s best police forces. (Perceived)
I can give you a list of world’s largest police forces. ( Statistical)
I can give you a list of world’s most feared police forces. (Again Perceived)
But no one can determine world’s most effective police force.

My answer to the question that what Indian Police should learn from other police forces is : Nothing. Not a thing. Indian Police should not adopt anything from other countries’ forces. Instead it should evolve and adapt in sync with local scenario.

Why ?
I feel this is a rhetoric question as the psyche of each civilization, culture of each country, and values and discipline of each society are quite different. Even basic things like ethics and moral values differ from person to person. Thus a criminal whose modus operandi is effective in US or Canada won’t be effective in Pakistan or China. Similarly a criminal of India or Afghanistan will not find his footing in Denmark or Israel.
So there is no use in following example of other countries.

However,

There is always room for improvement. Indian Police is far from being feared or effective or efficient enough to act as deterrent against crime.

There are various Supreme Court judgements where the court has made observations in favour of ushering in police reforms. One such example is that of Prakash Singh & Ors. Vs Union of India & Ors, (2006) 8 SCC 1, whereby the court noted that National Police Commission, National Human Rights Commission, Law Commission, Ribeiro Committee, Padmanabhaiah Committee and Malimath Committee had all broadly come to the conclusion of urgent need for police reforms with agreement on the key areas of focus that cover the following aspects:

  1. State Security Commission at State level;
  2. Transparent procedure for the appointment of Police Chief and the desirability of giving him a minimum fixed tenure;
  3. Separation of investigation from law and order; and
  4. A new Police Act which should reflect the democratic aspirations of the people.

This article reproduces the directives of the Apex Court given in Prakash Singh Case to bring home the relevant areas of concern and action :

  1. State Security Commissions: Apex Court has directed the State Governments to from a State Security Commission in every State to ensure that the State Government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the State police. This State Security Commission should also work towards forming a broad policy guidelines so that the State police always acts according to the laws of the land and the Constitution of the  country.
    The members of the Commission shall be chosen in such a manner that it is able to function independent of Government control. Commission should also prepare a report about performance of Stare police for being placed before the State legislature.
  2. Selection and Minimum Tenure of DGP: To make State Police more independent and free from government influence, the Director General of Police of the State shall be selected by the State Government from amongst the three senior-most officers of the Department on the basis of their length of service, very good record and range of experience for heading the police force. And, once he has been selected for the job, he should have a minimum tenure of at least two years irrespective of his date of superannuation so that he has security of tenure.
  3. Minimum Tenure of I.G. of Police & other officers: Police Officers on operational duties in the field like the Inspector General of Police, Superintendent of Police in-charge and Station House Officer in-charge of a Police Station shall also have a prescribed minimum tenure of two years. It would again lead to better functioning of Police officers. By providing officers with a fixed minimum tenure government should ensure them a pressure free environment to work in.
  4. Separation of Investigation: The investigating police shall be separated from the law and order police to ensure speedier investigation, better expertise and improved rapport with the people. It must, however, be ensured that there is full coordination between the two wings. The separation, to start with, may be effected in towns/urban areas which have population of 1 million or more, and gradually extended to smaller towns/urban areas also.
  5. Police Establishment Board: Just like government should have least interference during the tenure of a police officer, it should have minimal interference in Posting, Promotions and Transfers too. For this purpose there shall be a Police Establishment Board in each State which shall decide all transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. The Board shall also give recommendations to the State Government regarding the posting and transfers of officers of and above the rank of Superintendent of Police, and the Government shall normally accept it.
    Verma Commission suggests that this board shall also function as a forum of appeal for Police officers regarding their promotion/transfer/disciplinary proceedings or their being subjected to illegal or irregular orders and generally reviewing the functioning of the police in the State.
  6. Police Complaints Authority: There shall be a Police Complaints Authority at the district level to look into complaints against police officers of and up to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. Similarly, there should be another Police Complaints Authority at the State level to look into complaints against officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and above.
    The recommendations of the Complaints Authority, both at the district and State levels, for any action, departmental or criminal, against a police officer shall be binding on the concerned authority.
  7. National Security Commission: The Central Government should set up a National Security Commission at the Union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of Chiefs of the Central Police Organisations (CPO). The  Commission would also review from time to time measures to upgrade the effectiveness of these forces, improve the service conditions of its personnel, ensure that there is proper coordination between them.

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Sources : Justice Verma Committee Report.pdf

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