Police Reforms

UPSC Mains

Table of contents

Introduction

The custodial death of Jayaraj and Benicks at the hands of the local police in Sattankulam, Tamil Nadu have again brought the issue of police reforms on forefront.

Issues and Need of Police reforms

  • Ever increasing threat to internal security calls for the efficient police as a first line of defence
  • Deficiencies in the Police Investigation due to understaffed and overburdened police (2nd ARC & Law commission)
  • Increasing interference by the government
  • Custodial deaths
  • Torture and assault by police against the under-trial prisoners
  • Institutionalized corruption
  • Inadequate Police infrastructure: shortage of personnel, equipments, training, etc
  • The 2nd ARC has noted that police-public relations is in an unsatisfactory state because people view the police as corrupt, inefficient, politically partisan and unresponsive.

Way ahead

  • To ratify the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) (India has signed the convention in 1997)
  • Technology - Ensuring video recording of investigations
  • Technology - Installing closed circuit television cameras inside police stations
  • To create a national level crime records database accessible to police across state. It'll help police in dealing with people having criminal history in other states

Steps in right direction

  • U.P. to launch dial-FIR (e-FIR) scheme (first of its kind): common man can register regular crimes without going to police station.
  • Online photographic dossier of criminals
  • Expanding Counter-Terror combat and response grid
  • eBeat Book: It enables a police officer in the field to access the various databases regarding crime, criminals, fingerprints, photographs, stolen vehicles, etc. Such an access while in the field facilitates instant decision making that helps investigation and verification exercise.

Prakash Singh Case, 2016

SC court gave directives for police reforms in this case, they are

  • To constitute a State Security Commission
  • DGP must have minimum 2 years of tenure (security from unjustified transfers)
  • Also police officers on operational duty should have min 2 years of tenure
  • Separate the investigation and law and order function of police
  • Set up Police Establishment Board (PEB)- for deciding transfers, postings, etc.
  • Set up a Police Complaint Authority at state level (to inquire into public complaints against police) and
  • National Security Commission (NSC) at national level - to prepare a panel for for selection and placement of Chiefs of the central police organisations

Conclusion

Transform it from ‘Ruler’s Police’ to ‘People’s Police.’



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