Police reforms in India require structural changes making the establishment more independent and resistant to external influences. Comment. (150 W/ 10 M)

Mentor’s Comment:

The legacy of British Policing still continues in India. However, with the change in time and modes of crime the time is eagerly demanding to infuse reforms in Police. Introduction should talk in general about the changes needed and British legacy.

Further the main body should discuss about why the structural changes/reforms are needed.

Also, the next point should separately mention about the External reforms, Institutional reforms, Internal reforms which are in need to bring. Also mention the way it should be done.

Next, bring conclusion citing government efforts towards bringing police reforms.


Model Answer:

Police in India traces its history from the times of British rule as it was used by the British to quell the Indian freedom movement. Hence the legacy of pre independent India still follows the police forces across the states. But the times have changed and we are not facing the typical threats of old times.  Modes of crimes have changed and society has evolvedwith education and economic growth.  Hence,  there  is  urgent  need  of  the  hour  is  to  augment,  reform,  sensitize  and strengthen policing at the local level.

Why structural reforms are needed:

  • The police of today are victims of politicization as well as criminalization.
  • The police do not have functional responsibility while remaining under the supervision of the political executive.
  • Policing efficiencies have  decreased  in  terms  of their  core  functions  as  they  lack  external  smartness  of  handling modern day crimes.
  • Increasing terrorism from  across the  borders,  which  police  forces  have  to deal in the  first  place  to  curtail  it and enquire into it. Hence we require well trained police force.
  • India is  facing the  threat  of  Naxalism since last couple  of decades,  where  police force  is  required in maintaining peace and integrity in the country.
  • Police forces are the caretaker of the society which means that police force needs to be well trained in ethics as well as in behavioral.
  • Police administrative  acts  under  the  political  pressure  and  external  influences  like  these  hampers  its  role  as  the guardian of the society.
  • With increased cyber-crimes and social media penetration, police forces need specialised wing and units to tackle the menace.

External reforms:

  • The legislative  changes  include,  enactment  of  the  organized  Crimes  Act,  a  single  police  act  for  the  country, moving  Police  to  the  Concurrent  List,  declaration  of  Federal  Crimes,  measures  regarding  registration  of  crimes, statutory backing for the CBI.
  • Commissionerate system  for  large  areas,  revival  and  strengthening  of  the  beat  constable  system  and  some changes in criminal procedure and evidence systems.
  • Modernization of equipment, improving mobility, better police station & prison infrastructure.
  • New & improved skills with respect to forensics, cyber-crimes & social media monitoring, financial crimes etc.
  • Legal backing  and  framework  in  tackling  mob  violence,  improving  technical  &  human  intelligence,  dealing  with lone wolf terror attacks.
  • Exchanges & cooperation with foreign countries’ & international agencies.
  • Creating an efficient criminal database & tracking system.

Institutional reforms

  • Boosting infrastructure  and  capacity  of  the  police  forces  includes  increase  in  the  number  of  police  personnel  in the country, improvement in recruitment, training and service conditions including upgradation on one hand and improving the infrastructure, working hours, housing facilities on the other.
  • Creating an effective state security commissions for efficient & just process for appointment, transfer & grievance redressal.
  • Empowering the  heads  of  police  forces  so  as  to  reduce  political  interference  in  daily  activities  &  to  deny  any illegal/unethical order.
  • Including more women, more personnel from minorities & North East areas in police force.
  • Better training to deal with insurgency, militancy, naxalism by themselves than depending on paramilitary/army.
  • Improving methods of investigation to reduce need for torture.
  • Implementing SC orders of police reforms mentioned in Prakash Singh case.

Internal reforms

  • In addition to the external and institutional changes, there is an urgent need for administrative reforms as well. On the administrative side, changes include separation of investigation from law and order, specialized wings for Social and  Cyber  Crimes,  restricting  the  police  to  core  functions,  setting  up  authorities  as  directed  by  the Supreme Court, strengthening state machinery and linking prosecution with police.
  • Sensitization with respect to gender, caste, children, removing inbuilt prejudices.
  • Training on human rights & media communication.
  • Improving the speed, simplicity & ease of services like lodging complaints & tracking, license registration etc.
  • Improving coordination  &  cooperation  between  states  &  between  departments  to  deal  with  issues  like overlapping jurisdictions, interstate hot pursuit, joint operations.
  • More empowerment, clarity of responsibilities & jurisdiction will lead to better accountability.

Recent  govt  initiative  of  Rs  25000  Crores  for  structural  changes  in  policing  shows  that  government  is  committed  to reform  police  forces  on  the  line  of  SMART  police,  as  envisioned  by  the  Prime  Minister.  The needs for a fast growing economy  like  India  for  safe  environment  particularly  in  light  of  the  complex  security  threats  in  present  times  are imminent.  A  review  of  the  police  governance  framework,  the  legal  setup,  the  issues  ailing  the  police  force  –all  call  for making police reforms one of the greatest priority for the country.