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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 108

India Needs Urgently Citizen Policing

Dr P L Joshi Professor Bahrain

The Growing Problem

It is very painful to the Indian people to hear news every day on the serious lack of professionalism by Indian police in handling public demonstrations in different parts of the country. Many times, it reminds us the British Police Raj system even after 60 years of independence.

The recent incident of mishandling the situation on farmers and tribal people in West Bengal by State Police in which 11 people are reported to have been killed by police firing and even ladies were severely beaten up. All TV news channels ( Zee News, Star News , March 14, 2007) have shown the video clippings of these events.

Such events have become routine affairs in India. Atrocities of police on the College students and even severely beating the blinds by police in Mumbai were several such examples. It has been said that more than 50% of complaints received by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India everyyear are against police personnel in the following areas ( reforms in India: a distant dream)

* They are brutal and lawless;

* they are highly corrupt;

* they are partisan and politicized; and

* they lack professional competence

Considering the above severity of the problem, there is an urgent need to modernize Indian Police system of administration in order to bring unprecedented and radical changes in their attitudes, perception and approach towards public. In the past, a number of Commissions were appointed which suggested several reforms in Indian policing. Unfortunately, these reports are eating dust in some corners in the government offices and even State Governments do no pay any heed towards these recommendations. Even public and media are not aware of such recommendations.

In theory, the conception of the police force as a protective and law enforcement organization aims at protecting the lives and properties of the public and to serve them without bias. The reality is all together different with some exceptions. The reasons are many but one of the serious of them is the present structure of Indian police hierarchy and recruitment policies. For example some one has rightly argued "over 90% of all policemen are in the ranks of constables and head constables.

The rank of constabulary is ill educated, poorly trained, lacking initiative and they look up to superior ranks. There is a tremendous disparity in human quality between the bottom and top rank officials (who come from Indian Police Service (IPS) . Initiative and responsibility are concentrated at the top of the police hierarchy; the bottom layer is not
allowed to display such qualities. Thus, the Indian police is said to 'systematically put its worst foot forward'. The Citizen Policing

Once, Sir Robert Pee, l provided concept of a Citizen Policing in the following world

"To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police: the police being the only members of the public that are paid to give full time attention to the duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interest of community welfare and existence."

The purpose of the Citizen Policing is to foster better communication between citizens and police through education and continuous dialogues. People want to change the way they experience with the policing. The Citizen-focused policing are the only way of policing in which the needs and expectations of individuals and local communities should be always reflected in police decision making and service. It is said, "the needs and concerns of the citizens should always be integral in way policing is conceived , managed and delivered "

In the Citizen Policing, there should be an active participation from the public particularly, from those who understand the public and administration very well, media persons, retired government officers, intellectuals, social workers, cooperators and people from the opposition parties. When public demonstrations take place, the police should devise strategies with these public committees in order to handle the situations.

This process may be very helpful in preventing the misuse of the monopolized powers by the police officers and also by the ruling people . Such an approach may bring an attitudinal change in the police thinking coupled with their continuous education; a professional approach can be introduced. A Citizen Policing approach can greatly help the government in maintaining law and order situation, as well as communal harmony in various citizens. This will also reduce the criticisms against police, and the public confidence in the police can be reposed.

It will give a tag of "citizen-friendly force" to the police. At the same time, a graduate degree should be the minimum qualification for a police person to be inducted in the police. Training in behavior sciences should be an integral part of their training.

- Asian Tribune -

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