Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

[op-ed snap] People police


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Need of community policing to prevent crimes & engage youth


Ensuring peace & obeying of law

  1. A criminal justice system can hope to succeed in delivering peace and order only in a “majority defenders of law” situation
  2. That is when most of the citizens obey the law voluntarily
  3. It is the responsibility of the police to facilitate the achievement of this objective

Role of police

  1. The police can be called as “citizens in uniform”
  2. They need to work in close collaboration with the community and focus on crime prevention
  3. It makes citizens partners in crime prevention and is the best bet for creating a majority-defenders-of-law situation

Policing in India

  1. India inherited a militaristic and repressive police force from the British
  2. The British in 1861 built a militaristic and repressive police in India to defend their predatory rule
  3. It has, by and large, persisted with the colonial crime-fighting model

Why no changes?

The system’s persistence can be attributed to:

  • a resource crunch,
  • vested interests,
  • an indifferent academia not challenging the efficacy of police practices
  • the glamourisation of tough cops

Failure of government strategy

  1. Faced with rising crimes, street violence and subversive actions, the central government initiated the modernisation of the police force scheme in the 1970s
  2. It invested in the crime-fighting strategy — motorised patrolling, quick reactions to calls for help and reactive investigation
  3. This apparently led to an uninterrupted trend of an increase in crime and street violence in India
  4. The ever-increasing fear of crime is reflected in gated communities and the booming private security industry

What needs to be done?

  1. There is an urgent need to embrace a hybrid of the community-oriented and crime-fighting policing strategies and to reinforce it with crime-mapping and trend analysis
  2. This will keep the majority on the side of the law as well as deal effectively with career criminals and psychopaths
  3. It will also be an optimum utilisation of scarce resources

Way forward

  1. With 356 million people in the 10-24 years age group, a proactive police engaging an interconnected, volatile and youthful population through community policing programmes is perhaps the only hope for enduring peace and lasting order
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