Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Inculcating Democratic Policing in India: A Psychological Perspective

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Inculcating Democratic Policing in India: A Psychological Perspective

Article excerpt

Police is a vital oigan of public administration for they are entitled to secure the safety, security and dignity of citizens of the country. Police is entrusted to safeguard the lives and properties of the aggrieved. Police is the first step in the ladder of the criminal justice system who are responsible for upholding the human rights of each and every citizen. Hence, effective policing is imperative for the implementation of law and order and in building up of an institution ofjustice.

Police administration in India cannot be dubbed as a success story. Even after 64 years of independence, the archaic Police Act of 1861 or acts modelled after it continue to govern policing in India. Police is still used as a coercive arm of the state utilising force to impose the law rather than providing a service to uphold the law. It is a shame for the world's largest democracy that instances of police inaction and passiveness have become the order of the day. Political blindness and biased attitude on the part of the police have led to a police culture characterised by abuses, a dysfunctional and corrupt service, and a force that is almost entirely divorced from the communities it is tasked with protecting.

It is an undigestible fact that police personnel themselves become law breakers. To quote a recent instance, the Honourable Supreme Court of India in a case where it upheld the life sentence of policemen said, "Tolerance of police atrocities would surmount to acceptance of systemic subversion and erosion of the rule of law. Police atrocities are always violative of the constitutional mandate, particularly Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) and Article 22 (person arrested must be informed the grounds of detention and produced before the Magistrate within 24 hours).Police atrocities in India have always been a subject matter of controversy and debate. In view of the provisions of Article 21 of the constitution, any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is inhibited. Whether it occurs during investigation, interrogation or otherwise the wrongdoer is accountable and the state is responsible if a person in custody of the police is deprived of his life except in accordance with the procedure established by law. The state must ensure prohibition of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment to any person, particularly at the hands of any state agency/police force."(The Hindu, November 6,2011)

Police reforms in India: An unfinished business

Various surveys conducted by some independent organisations found that the public don't consider the police as a friendly sign of the state. Criticism of the police by the executive and legislature is very common. The judiciary is very much sensitive to the complaints of human rights violations by police. To quote David Bayley, "the survey results demonstrate forcefully what many close observers of police-public relations in India have long thought namely that the Indian public is deeply suspicious of the activities of their police"

A considerable proportion of police personnel are rude, brutal, corrupt and in collusion with criminals and very frequently dealing unevenly with their clients. (The Police and Political Development in India, p238). This Opinion is supported by the National Police Commission Report that the commission expressed its anxiety over the poor state of police public relations (Vol.l5,p.48). The main reason that police couldn't reach the acme of their skills in upholding law is the lack of the right manpower for the right job coupled with lack of insight of the top-notch policy-makers in the human factors in policing The focus should be to recruit personnel with the maximum strength who would fit in policing, identify the problems of the police and take measures to address it, devise strategies to help them go beyond the given by offering training programmes to achieve the ultimate goal in policing:- curing criminals and not treating criminals in inhuman ways which doesn't fit with the world's largest democracy that produced many doyens of nonviolence like Lord Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi. …

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