How police can serve citizens better

Source: Indian Express

Synopsis: There is need to enhance the efficiency of Police using technology.

  • Even though the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) earmarked about Rs 20,000 crore for the modernisation of police (2017-2020), for schemes such as crime and criminal tracing networks and system (CCTNS), police wireless and e-prisons, there is lack of prioritization of technology.
  • Also, Supreme Court-mandated police reforms of 2006 are not implemented fully in all states.
Implications of inefficient Police:
  • Firstly, delays in settlement of criminal, labour and civil disputes.
    • The economic cost is reflected in the reluctance of foreign companies to set up manufacturing and commercial ventures in India.
  • Secondly, the social implications can be seen from the report, “Crime in India 2019”, published by the National Crime Records Bureau.
    • As per the report, 25,023 cases of assault on women, 11,966 rape cases and 4,197 “dowry deaths” have been pending trial for five to 10 years.
  • Other issues:
    • Police leaders do not understand the difficulties that citizens face at the police station level.
    • Citizens fail to hold police accountable for non-use of technology.
Why is there need of technology to enhance efficiency of police?
  • Overburdened police: Along with prevention and detection of crime and maintenance of law and order, police stations in India undertake numerous daily tasks.
    • for example, providing verifications and no objection certificates of different kinds to citizens. They supply crucial documents too.
    • The Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D) had identified 45 such tasks in 2017.
  • Ease of business: the procedures are non-transparent and timelines are often blurred which encourages corrupt practices.
    • For instance, in Maharashtra, where a former home minister and top police officers, including former Mumbai’s former commissioner, are facing allegations of extortion.
  • Time bound delivery of services: The India Justice Report (IJR) 2020 has studied the e-portals of various state police organisations that provide citizen-centric services.
    • Punjab, Himachal, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh seem to be doing well.
    • But, despite the push for digitisation, no state offers the complete services.
    • Users face numerous problems of accessibility to these services.
  • Ease of use: the language of e-portals needs attention.
    • IPJ 2020 found that “most sites were available in English or Hindi, but not necessarily in the state language”.
Way forward:
  • E-governance: it can reduce the burden of police officers.
    • User-friendly citizens portals for obtaining passports and driving licences have been game-changers.
  • Improvement in investigation and prosecution: all criminal trials must be completed within a year.
  • More Investment: The IJR 2020 audit confirms that states need to invest more resources to upgrade their e-portals for providing basic services to the citizens.
  • States can take up crucial service delivery mechanism.
    • large number of young technology enthusiastic police officers can lead cost-effective initiatives.
    • for instance, in Pune Police Commissionerate, additional commissioner, an engineer from BITS Pilani, initiated “technology for citizens”

To transform India maximum information and services through portals has to be provided within specified timelines. An efficient and well-oiled criminal justice system not only helps citizens but helps a country politically, socially and economically.



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