ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Fate of New Police Initiatives

Accountability to the citizen must be paramount in community-policing initiatives.

As part of its community-policing initiatives, the Maharashtra police has decided to institutionalise the “best policing practices” that were or are being followed in districts across the state. These include the “police didi” programme in Mumbai, the “bharosa (trust) cell” by the Pune and Nagpur police and so on. On the face of it, this move seems a welcome one. But what is telling and needs attention is a senior police officer’s observation that these and other initiatives are discontinued after the officers who started them get transferred to other jurisdictions. Obviously, this means that the thinking and good intentions behind the initiative do not get fully ingrained in the institutional culture. More importantly, such programmes deal with the central issues that for long have plagued and continue to plague Indian policing. The overall image of the police and the force’s efficacy—though different in different states—needs long-term bolstering through major reforms.

The shortcomings and downright violations of human rights committed by the police are the staple of media reporting almost daily and need not be listed here. The point is the examination of what ails the system and what needs to be done in this regard. It has been repeatedly pointed out that India’s ratio of police persons per 1,000 people is 1.2, which is grossly below the United Nation’s recommendation. There are huge vacancies in almost every state, especially in the non-Indian Police Service posts. Problems of overwork, lack of leave, poor dietary habits due to long hours of duty, lack of decent housing and so on are just some of the issues they face. According to media reports, the introduction of eight-hour shifts in Kerala and Mumbai has been welcomed by the police therein. The less said about the colonial hangover in terms of the hierarchical set-up of the police and training, the better.

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Updated On : 22nd May, 2019

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