What are the major deficiencies in India Policing?
- The police-population ratio – The Indian police force is at only 77 per cent of its sanctioned strength. India has 144 police personnel for one lakh population, is less than what is recommended by UN i.e. 222 policemen per lakh population.
- Unfilled vacancies– One in every five posts sanctioned in the Indian Police Service remains vacant. In low and middle rank positions, the vacancies of 5.28 lakh personnel account for nearly one-fourth of the total sanctioned strength of over 22 lakh.
- Low numbers of Women police –Women are grossly underrepresented in our police force. They constitute less than 7 per cent of our total police strength.
- Untrained police personnel- The existing police personnel are also not adequately trained. Less than 7 per cent police get in-service training. Gujarat scores the lowest, with less than one per cent having received any in-service training.
- Overburdened police force- Understaffing in turn results into overburdening of work that not only reduces the effectiveness and efficiency of the police personnel (leading to poor quality of investigation) but also leads to psychological distress and contributes to Pendency of cases.
What are the reforms required?
- Sensitization of Police Forces– The police need to be sensitized about their role in society. There has to be promptness of action and decency when dealing with public especially during sensitive issues like rape.
- They need to be trained in body language and strictly advised to refrain from abusive behaviour.
- The sensitization module should aim at bringing about attitudinal change, especially pertaining to gender and power relations and police behaviour.
- Police accountability – As per the police laws, both the Central and State police forces come under the superintendence and control of political executives. Police priorities are frequently altered based on the will of political executives.
- Enhancing accountability will improve police legitimacy and increase public confidence, which, in turn, will reinforce the integrity of the system.
- The police, as the custodian of maintenance of law and order, must stay away from agenda-driven politics.
- Improvement in police-population ratio- The police-to-people ratio should be improved by at least 50 per cent to meet the challenges faced by the force.
- Women policing– With the increase in the number of gender crimes, it has become a necessity to augment the strength of police by recruiting more and more women police personnel.
- Dharma-Vira Commission recommendation– The top police leadership should be selected by apolitical representatives and an impartial body. It was a strong antidote to opportunistic appointments and transfers.
- The challenge of India is to restore the culture of rule of law, and make police and justice accessible, effective and credible.
- A new role and new philosophy have to be defined for the police to not only make it a capable and effective body but also one accountable to the law of the land and to the people whom they serve.
- Police needs to be made accountable, and freed from grip of politics