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Police Force In India: Problems and Prospects

India is a very densely populated country with all sorts of anti-social elements wandering the streets. Small issues like managing and curbing minor theft issues in handling intense anti-terrorist operations are the work of the Indian Police force. Time and again the police force has been accused of not working proficiently and swiftly but the question is why?

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We Indians have some of the most dedicated and brilliant minds and men that work round the clock to make this country safe. But there are some considerable flaws in the way our system works and also there need to be some serious amendments in the constitutional laws for making our Police Force more free and reformed. Even today The Police Act of 1861 remains to be the main governing that was formulated as a response of the 1857 revolt.  The Police Act of 1861 explains the structure and functions of the Indian Police departments. According to section 4 of the IPA, the police are under the control of their governing officials, superiors and also of the executive.

Police Force Problems in India-

  1. The Indian Police force works under immense burden and pressure, The constabulary have to work for 14-15 hours in a day for 7 days a week. This impacts their working and performance.
  2. The weaponry used by the Indian Police Force at the lower level is not very upgraded as compared to the kind of ammunitions used by the anti social elements. There have been several instances in the past where Indian policemen lost their lives due to having a lower end fighting weapon and ammunitions.
  3. Training methods are very primitive and at several stages human rights are violated. The Indian Police Force undergoes intense training but without proper facilities and sometimes too much of regressive and violating training methods are used.
  4. Despite of various pleas and recommendations by various commissions maintenance of law & order has not yet been separated from crime investigation.
  5. Increasing criminal activities in politics and also the indulgence of political leaders in crime makes it difficult for Indian Police Force to deal with such situations without effective reforms in the constitutional set up.
  6. There are clashes between the police officials and the civil servants due to the dual command at the district and state levels. Many a times there are ego clashes that affect the working of the system effectively.
  7. Politicization of Police is one of the major problems being faced by the police force. It affects the independent working of the police force and they are bound to serve the politicians over the normal citizen’s of the country.
  8. Conflicts between the centre and the state also affect the working of the police force. The maintenance of law and order becomes difficult in such situations.
  9. CID at the state level fails to perform due to the political pressure and the unregulated interference by the political executives.
  10. There are loop holes in the judicial system and the reforms made so far are ineffective as the criminals are not punished for the crimes they commit.
  11. Cyber Crime, Global terrorism, naxalism, these are some crimes that are very difficult for the police force to handle due to the lack of proper ammunitions and structural policies.
  12. The pay scale is very low especially for the lower level police officers which also lead to corruption.
  13. Even at the training level almost 94% of the state resources are invested in IPS training and very less resources are provided for police training.

Problems faced by the Common Man-

Corruption- Several reports in the newspapers and media and even the Indian films reflect the extent of corruption in the Indian Police system. While many argue that the reason of corruption is the low wages and improper amenities provided by the  government to the lower end officials the problem still exists. A common man fears the police and in no way is willing to involve in any matter which relates to the police. Even small issues like theft and small fights continue to linger without any positive results and common man ends up visiting the police stations with no end  result. Bribery is an evil that remains like a custom in the police system. Be it at the traffic signals by the traffic police or inside the police station. The smallest example that we all have come across is at the traffic signals, if the vehicle is stopped by the traffic police officer, irrespective of whether one has the complete documents or not one is liable to pay some amount of money to these police officers and in other cases the situation just becomes worse.

Nearly 7 out of 10 people have to pay bribe to access public services in India.

Criminals are left free owing to this corrupt system and several times innocent people are let behind the bars as they have no money to bribe the officials.

As per a study conducted in four major Indian cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai)  only 6-8% of victims of theft filed an FIR with the police. In the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), police officers can decide whether a case should be registered or not. Many victims do not understand the legal system connected with the process and therefore remain at the mercy of officers who record the FIR on their own terms or in their own way. All the police actions in a case are fully dependent on the FIR and hence these factors have an impact on the process of providing criminal justice by the Police. A common man is completely at the mercy of the police.  

Women Atrocities- Rape cases have grown in the country over the years and women continue to feel unsafe. More than the rapists it is somewhere the fault of the corrupt and irresponsible police system that does not regulate such crimes. Rapists are set free by paying handsome amount of money to the police and the victims continue to live a life of misery. Several times evidence tempering is done to save the accused due to political pressure or pressure from an influential entity. The hands of the police sometimes remain tied and sometimes remain corrupt.

Many a times there have been cases of evidence tampering by the police to save the criminals because of various reasons, be it corruption or pressure. It appears as if the entire legal system in India has lost its authenticity and value.

Problems faced by the Police Forces in India-

Works Hours- A police officer sometimes works for more than 17 hours a day which drains their energy and even hampers their growth. Neither are they paid well. This is one of the major reasons of corruption.

Poor Equipments- The Indian armed forces need an upgrade in the equipments and  machinery more than anything else. There have been schemes launched to modernize the Indian Police Force by 2020 with latest equipment, e prisons, modern forensic testing techniques etc.  In an era where the world is progressing at an unimaginable pace, India is still struggling to provide basic amenities to its police force to strengthen the police force system in India.

Pressure by the Senior Officials and Ministers- Even if a police officer does not wish to be corrupt the political and managerial pressure forces him to restrain from his duties. It is not the entire system that is corrupt but even those that wish to work efficiently and truthfully are not allowed to do so. Corruption is an evil that is more prevalent in the higher rank officers than the lower rank constables. But yes we can ignore instances where police constables have also been accused of bribery.

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Police Force Prospects in India-

There need to be major constitutional reforms at both the central and state levels to conduct reforms in the system.  As per the Malimath Committee Report , It needs to be emphasized that the duties of the police as prescribed in section 23 of the Indian Police Act, 1861, have become totally out-dated. Much water has flown down the Ganges since then. The Police Departments to divert a large chunk of their resources to these areas, leaving much less for the routine crime work.”

The police-to-citizen ratio needs to increase for the proper functioning of the system and hence the law enforcement agencies must recruit more men.  It is important that more female police officers need to be recruited at both the lower levels and also for the leadership positions. Presently only 10% of the police personnel are women.

The Indian police can be reformed by having radical reforms and assenting actions. The protection of human rights and pride should be the basic root of the police organization. By doing so the police force will become more effective and shall be able to work beyond restraints.

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