Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

What is Dual Command System of Policing?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Dual system of Policing

The Dual Command System of Policing is being implemented in Bhopal and Indore.

What is the ‘Dual Command’ System?

  • Under the dual command system, the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police (SP) share powers and responsibilities in a district.
  • Under this structure, the DM is entrusted with issuing arrest warrants, licenses while the SP has powers and responsibilities to investigate crime and make arrests.
  • The system is designed to ensure a lower concentration of power and making the police more accountable to the DM at the district level.

How does the commissionerate system empower the police?

  • Under the police commissionerate system, the powers of both policing and magistracy are concentrated with the commissioner, who is directly accountable to the state government and the state police chief.
  • The commissioner of police under the commissionerate system exercises the powers and duties of a District Magistrate.
  • These powers are also available to any officer under the commissioner who is not below the rank of an Assistant Commissioner of Police.
  • The police are also empowered to conduct externment proceedings and issue written orders to remove a person from their jurisdiction of the commissionerate for a maximum of two years.

Need for such system

Various committees constituted to suggest police reforms have recommended implementation of a police commissioner system.

  • Rapidly urbanized cities: This is for cities which have witnessed rapid urbanization and have a population of more than 10 lakhs.
  • Better accountability: In the 6th report of the National Police Commission, it noted that as compared to police in districts, police in commissionerate in small areas had a better account of themselves.
  • Complex security threats: It further pointed out that in urban areas, the changing dynamism and growing complexities of security threats required a swift and prompt response.
  • Quick responsivity: Usually in large urban areas, law and order situations develop rapidly, requiring a speed and effective operational response from the police.
  • Avoiding delayed action: In districts where the SPs and DMs do not have an understanding, orders to swiftly act are rarely issued in time which aggravates the situation.

Issues with the system

  • Power-sharing: There needs to be some clarity on what powers will be taken away from the revenue officers, collectors, SDMs and how it will impact the society before implementing it.


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