From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Police conference, Concept of SMART police etc
Mains level : Challenges faced by police and suggestions
- A conference of the Directors General of Police of all the states and union territories is being held in Delhi from January 20 to 22. The Prime Minister will be attending all the sessions of the three-day conference.
All you need to know about the Conference
- This conference of the Directors General of Police is an annual feature.
- It is organised by the Intelligence Bureau and its deliberations are presided over by the Director, IB, who is considered primus inter pares among the senior-most police officers of the country.
- This year’s conference, according to media reports, will be discussing emerging trends in militancy and hybrid militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, counter-terrorism, cryptocurrency, drug trafficking, radicalisation and other important matters.
What is missing in the agenda?
- Problems at grass root are rarely discussed: The agenda, year after year, reflects the security-related problems of the country at the macro level. So far so good. But the grass roots problems are seldom taken up or deliberated upon.
- Dismal picture of Police stations: The strength of a chain, as they say, is determined by its weakest link, and the weakest link today is the police station. Leaving aside the model police stations and some in the metro cities, the average police station presents a dismal picture dilapidated building, case property like motorcycles and cars littered all over the compound, no reception room, filthy lockup, and so on.
- Overburdened staff: The staff, overworked and fatigued, is generally unresponsive, if not rude.
- Available resources are limited resources: They may not have access to vehicles or have run out of fuel as per the allotted quota.
- Political influence: Even if you are able to speak with a responsible sub-inspector, they may be pressured by politicians to change their actions.
For instance: The data according to the Status of Policing in India Report 2019
- Shortage of personnel: According to the report, police in India work at 77% of their sanctioned strength and these personnel work for 14 hours a day on average.
- Lack of equipment and technology: There are 70 police stations which have no wireless, 214 police stations that have no telephone and 240 police stations that have no vehicles.
- Poor housing and training facilities: Housing facilities for police are unsatisfactory. Training of personnel is inadequate, the training institutions have not kept pace with the changing paradigm on the law or crime front and are manned generally by unwanted, demotivated officers.
- Technology gap: Technology support leaves much to be desired; the criminals are, in fact, way ahead of the police.
Hard fact and the concerns over the police duties in India
- Police Officer’s Duties and Expectations: The demanding role and expectations of police officers as first responders to any crime, 24/7 duty and assisting other departments with their duties. The public has no obligation to assist police officers. For instance, ASI was stabbed to death in Delhi, bystanders were just standing and watching the scene.
- High death toll among Police Personnel: It is estimated that 36,044 police personnel have died in the performance of their duties since India’s independence. It is pointed out that the corresponding figure for all the countries of Europe taken together is much less.
- Duties to become more challenging in future: It is acknowledged that police duties in India are tougher than in any other part of the world, and that these duties are likely to become even more challenging in the future, with the rise of new forms of crime such as terrorist crimes, cybercrimes, drug trafficking, and cryptocurrency.
- The Need to Prioritize Basic Matters: It is important to prioritize basic police matters and ensure that they are effectively dealt with. Once the police station is able to inspire confidence among the people, many other issues will fall into place.
- Division of Conference into Two Parts: The format of police conferences should be changed by dividing it into two parts – one dealing with intelligence matters and the other dealing with crime and law and order issues.
- Roles of DBI and CBI: It is proposed that the Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB) preside over the intelligence-related matters, and the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) assisted by a senior-most Director General of a state police nominated by the Ministry of Home Affairs should conduct the proceedings of the conference dealing with crime and law and order matters.
- Need for Specialized Treatment of Crime: the crime is becoming increasingly complex and requires specialized treatment, and that this bifurcation is necessary in order to effectively address the different aspects of crime.
Do you know the concept of SMART police?
- The Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the concept of SMART Police.
- SMART stands for: S: Strict but sensitive, M: Modern and mobile, A: Alert and accountable, R: Reliable and responsive, and T: Trained and tech-savvy.
- It also aims to make the police more responsive to the needs of the people, and to address issues of police brutality, corruption, and lack of accountability to citizens.
- The Prime Minister’s concept of SMART Police, which aims to create a force that is strict and sensitive, modern and mobile, alert and accountable, reliable and responsive, techno-savvy and trained, has the potential to bring about a significant change in the working of the police and a new era for the people of the country. It’s important for the conference to review the progress made in implementing this transformation in the police and work towards achieving these objectives to bring about a much-needed change in the police force.
Q. What are the major challenges faced by the Indian police force? Discuss improvements suggested to address them?