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An estimated 12-minute read
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Police Structure

 

Admission to police services

In India there are various modes to enter the police system. There are broadly 2 types of entry scheme i.e. Indian Police Services and State Police Services. The Indian Police Services is a part of All India Services of the Government of India.  IPS acts as a platform for those aspirants who wish to get direct entry at a higher post in the police services. For IPS national level exam is conducted by Union Public Service Commission of India followed by rounds of interviews. All states receive high ranking officials from the IPS cadre. As police is a state subject there is entry via State Police Services, also different states have different examination pattern and selection criteria. State police has further division on the basis of constabulary and inspectors. The selection in the constabulary is on the basis of intermediate and high school percentages, the merit list is prepared on the basis of these percentages. Further selection is on the basis of physical fitness and body proportions such as size of chest, height, weight etc. Whereas for the entry as an inspector or sub-inspector exams are conducted where basic aptitude is tested.

 

Drawbacks

For selection in the Indian Police Services series of examinations and interviews are there. This process helps in determining the mental aptitude of the applicant and whether he is fit to join the police services or not. But in the case of basic grass root level entry the selection procedure is quite relaxed. Subordinate police officers are the one who interact with the public directly and this interaction is clearly visible. But even after maximum involvement of subordinate police officials with the general public the admission criteria for such officials is simple and basic as compared to high level officials. It is visible in our Indian society that a large section of the society still remains uneducated and entry to governmental executive bodies such as the police force should not be made too complex. But police is a vital organ of the society and is responsible for maintenance of peace, law and order in the society; hence selection of sub ordinate officials who operate at grass root level is to be done carefully. Police official such as the constables and sub inspectors are equipped with lethal weapons such as INSAS rifles and pistols. A person who is equipped with such weapons and plays a vital role in maintenance of law and order needs to be mentally fit and should not suffer from any kind of mental disorder or any form of aggression. But the exams which are conducted for selection of such officials are incapable of determining the exact mental aptitude of the applicant. It is not feasible to complex the exam system but a justified mental ability and psychological analysis needs to be there during the selection.

Due to the present selection system and improper scrutiny persons with unfit mental conditions also get selected and cause mayhem for the general public and society at large. In 2015 a constable in Noida shot an innocent civilian who later lost his arm, it was later discovered that the constable was intoxicated. Similar incidents have been reported from all over the country and inference can be drawn from them that why careful scrutiny while selection is necessary. 

  

Training

There are 215 police training institutes for State Police in India. But these training institutes are in a state of laxity and inefficient. Condition of these training institutes is deteriorating each year and now training seems to be a ritual in many states before commissioning of the subordinate officers. These institutes lack basic amenities required in a police training institute. There is paucity of faculty, reading material and equipment at these institutions which is due to lack of funds and negligence by state governments. Such negligence in training results in inefficiency of police personnel on duty and inability to tackle challenging situations. Police training schedule includes significant subjects like Police Role and Organization, Police Behavior and Public, Police and Human Rights etc. but in most of the states these subjects appear only on paper and sessions for these subjects are either not conducted or takes place in a form of relaxed lectures for the sake of completion of session. Appropriate reading material is also not available to the trainees for these subjects. Negligence in theoretical training leads to incompetency in conducting investigation, as it was evident Aarushi Murder case. The physical training course is also outdated and obsolete which leaves the trainees unequipped for worst case scenarios. The physical training course is more of a scout training with outdated tactics and exercises. This training proves to be unproductive as it can be inferred from numerous cases where police officers are found unfit and some are even incapable of using weapons issued to them. There are incidents to draw inference upon where constables have failed to fire their rifles even while saluting the martyrs.  The Gore committee report on police training corroborates these facts and lays out the true picture of police training in India.

 

 

Mode of Operation

 

Duties and Powers

Police is equipped with many powers which enable them to perform the duties which are shouldered upon them. These powers are derived from the state police acts enacted by their state legislatures, in absence of state police act these powers and duties are governed by Indian Police Act 1861. Police has general duties like maintaining peace and harmony, helping people in distress, maintain smooth movement of vehicles on road, apprehend offenders and criminals, prevent crime, maintain internal security, maintain a feeling of security in the community etc. These duties are mentioned in police manuals and range from social responsibilities to crime detection. Both general and special duties are performed by police and powers bestowed to them facilitates fulfillment of multifarious duties. But on ground level these duties remain imprinted on manuals and are specially overlooked by subordinate officers. In 2015 a police officer from Botad District of Gujarat was suspended by higher official for leniency and non performance of duty. The police officer denied registering a complaint where a woman was raped by 6 men continuously for several months. In the same year a Sub Inspector was suspended by Uttar Pradesh government as the sub inspector was found guilty of destroying a typewriter of a 65 years old man whose only source of income was that typewriter while the old man kept begging for mercy. There are numerous reported incidents and countless unreported ones from each part of India. These incidents clearly depict sheer insensitivity and lack of human values. Though even bound by the law still many police officers fail to perform their basic duties. All the powers bestowed to the police officers remains inutile due to their dormant nature towards general public and their duties. Such incompetency has created a stigma in the mind of general public and with the increase in no. of such incidents police is failing in its foremost general duty towards public of creating a sense of security in the community.

 

Functioning

The Inspector General of each state frames the rules and regulations for general functioning of the police. The functioning of the police depends on the police act of that state whereas in criminal cases the process is clearly defined in Code of Criminal Procedure 1973. The functioning and the procedure is to be strictly according to the book and it cannot be bypassed except in special cases and with the leave of higher authorities or the court to achieve justice. The Criminal Procedure Code lays out both the procedure and protection to the citizens so as to avert any misuse or arbitrary exercise of power by the Police. Around 68% of the Indian population lives in rural areas, a large section of the society is till date legally uneducated and unaware of their rights. This unawareness has fostered arbitrary exercise of power by the police and circumvention of general procedure. In rural areas in the name of following procedure many police officials try to prolong the investigation for miscellaneous reasons like political favoritism, local political pressure or aversion of duties. In such cases justice is not received by common citizen and it is earned by him through application of media pressure and that too only if they succeed in capturing their attention. This practice is evident from Botad rape case where police prolonged the investigation for several months and only after the involvement of state government the investigation gained pace.

In criminal cases use of brutal force by police is common and at times it even leads to death. There have been 1504 death in police custody and in 99.8% cases the death took place within 48 hours of arrest. Use of force for collecting evidence in not justified as in the present world the scientific procedures have developed to such extent that proper and thorough investigation by trained individuals can aid securing of evidences but to avoid the pains of a thorough investigation use of force seems a better option to numerous police officials.

Chapter 5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (41-60) instructs about the procedure of how an arrest is to be made and what are the rights of an arrested person but many citizens are still unaware of these rights. It is the duty of the police officer making the arrest to inform the arrested person about his rights. But this remains to be a ritual which is barely followed.

 

Working Conditions

Policing and internal security are imperative elements of a nation and those working in this machinery should be remunerated adequately and provided healthy working conditions. Absence of these elements leads to inefficiency in policing system. In India average salary of a constable is 16000 rupees per month with housing and food facilities. But a large percent of the constabulary are not allotted any homes and in lieu of it certain allowance is provided. In the state of Uttar Pradesh the housing allowance is 1600 rupees. To find a habitable home in a city of Uttar Pradesh within rupees 1600 is an impractical task.

A police officer is always on duty according to section 22 of the Indian Police Act 1861; this section is perfectly applicable on the cadre ranging from an Inspector to a constable. It is very common to see these police officials on duty even on public holidays and festival season. There is no fixed time of their duties and can be called upon anytime. But the nature of the job makes it so and it won’t be feasible to change them. But at such working conditions reasonable remuneration is to be there. The psychological and departmental pressure is very high on these officials which should be vented properly to avoid any erroneous mode of discharge. 

 

 Gears in use

Police officials face variable conditions and scenarios while discharging their duties; hence a policeman should be equipped adequately. There has been always a paucity of funds with the state when it comes to police. In place of riot gear cricket helmets are used by many officials it is easy to spot them during the flag march. A large section of police constabulary and high subordinate officials still roam unprotected without bullet proof jacket. Baljit Singh Superintendent of Punjab Police who countered the terrorist bravely was neither wearing the helmet nor the jacket and died during the encounter. Quick release holsters, extendable batons hands free wireless, bulletproof helmet and jacket, riot control kit. These are some basic equipment used worldwide but our policemen still depend on bamboo batons and bamboo riot shields.

 

Police Complaint Authority

In 2006 Supreme Court ordered states to establish Police Complaint Authorities so that these PCA can investigate complaints of police harassments against citizen. But these orders were taken lightly and till date only 7 functional PCA are there in India. These PCA functions separately and do not have any uniform structure or code which minimizes its utility. For instance the Haryana PCA accepts only rape, injury and custodial death as police brutality whereas the Assam PCA covers blackmail, harassment and improper arrest also as police brutality. 

In 2015 Maharashtra PCA was established but Home Department failed to provide it an office space till now. Proper PCA has been established in the state of Tripura which meets the Supreme Court guidelines. But it is still not effective as in Tripura a Police officer was found responsible for custodial torture resulting in grievous injuries on the victim. No arrangement was made for medical treatment of the victim. The recommendation of the Commission was not fully implemented. The concerned police officer was censured only for not arranging medical examination of the victim. He was not given any punishment for custodial torture.

The complaint resolution mechanism is also imprudent where if merit is found in the complaint the complaint will be investigated in the same police station where the person was harassed another police officer. If PCA discovers such harassment was true then it can only give directions to the police and not implement them and these directions are overlooked in maximum cases.

 

Public Opinion

A survey was conducted at local level to determine public opinion and following responses were received.

 

Awareness about local police station

Aware - 75%          Unaware -25%

Police has supportive nature

Yes - 43.8%           No -56.3%

Should Police system be upgraded?

Yes - 100%            No -0%

The survey was conducted using Google Forms on link - http://goo.gl/forms/vyhXG8q7xQ

 

World Platform

Entrance to police system and then the following hierarchy needs to be changed and single entry to police forces is required with single entry scheme and promotion and demotions purely on basis of track records and experience and further examinations for special posts. This system is successfully followed in the British police. We follow the 1861 police act made by British but their present policing model features are worth noticing.

In Japan all police personnel are trained in Taiho Jutsu martial art to counter less harmful threats such as thieves and unarmed offenders. India itself has originated various martial arts; its proper place can be in the training scheme of Indian Police. The training scheme is to be upgraded to match international standards. With proper training and appropriate gear the policing will be more conducive for the society.

Government interference is also a hindrance to unbiased functioning of police and a responsible authority with supervision is to be there without any directional control related to working of police. Extensive changes are required in Indian Police system to stand at par with the world and provide better policing to the citizenry.

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