A more humane police force

Source: The Hindu 

Relevance: A healthy Police system is necessary to ensure a feeling of safety and security among the masses.


Our country needs a more humane and sensitive police force that works for the welfare of the citizens. This requires harmonizing the working environment of police personnel along with the fulfillment of their psychological needs.

  • In 2015 (April – November), 25,357 cases were registered under the police category. This included 111 deaths in police custody, 330 cases of custodial torture, and 24,916 in others. 
  • These numbers were shared by the former Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, in the Lok Sabha in response to a question.
Comparing the data with other countries:
  • There were 700 deaths in police custody and custody-related operations in Australia from 1989-90 to 2010-11. Similarly, in the U.K., there were 1542 deaths in police custody or following contact with the police (1990 to 2015).
  • This shows a greater magnitude of police brutality on Indian citizens, which instills fear in the mind of the masses towards the police force. 
Reason behind police brutality:
  • In the Indian police force, the lower ranks of police personnel are often verbally abused by their superiors. Many are not considered as individuals, are not shown compassion by the senior ranks, and work in inhuman conditions. 
    • Their relationship with their superior officers is stressful and sycophantic. There is no concept of welfare, and this manifests in their improper behavior with the citizenry.
  • Further, some international case studies like Milgrim’s experiment have shown that people obey to do harm if they are coerced by their superiors. 
Way Ahead:
  • Several committees have made several recommendations on the issue of reforms for a healthy police system. 
    • The Supreme Court of India was forced to intervene as neither the Central government nor the State governments acted upon those recommendations. 
  • It is clear that the problem is with the political apparatus considering the history of the Police Act. 
    • The Police Act of 1861 was legislated right after the revolt of 1857 to bring efficiency in the administration of police and to prevent any future revolts. This meant that the police were to always comply with those in power.
    • Thus, political will is desired for bringing about any major reform in the Indian police force, which should also focus on the psychological aspect of policing.
Print Friendly and PDF