When we talk about enforcement of law, the first people that cross our minds is the police. They are present everywhere to maintain the law and order at a given place and time. Whether it is festive processions, riots, protests, rallies, and campaigns, or even at roads, railway stations, airports, and other transit centers we find them keeping a check on the movements, hence keeping threats at bay.
“Police” and “Public Order” in the Constitution is mentioned in the Seventh Schedule under List II (State List) that gives the State Governments the whole power to make laws, rules and regulations regarding these subjects. The Central governments only provide a background assistance like providing financial aid to upgrade the machinery, communication systems, or provide special trainings at given times etc.
In recent times, we have seen rising hostilities between the common man and the police. Where we used to say that police is the protector of citizens, we can clearly see that the citizen themselves are scared and unwilling to approach the police for help or even they are unwilling to cooperate in police investigations. Eg. How many people are ready to help hit and run victims- take them to the hospital, inform the police, give statements, and their information for further inquiries, probably a very few. The most common answer people give is they do not wish to get into the legal hassles with police.
It is not only the citizens, but also the prisoners have a hard time. Recently, the Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana highlighted this issue and said” The threat to human rights and bodily integrity is the highest in police stations. Custodial torture and other police atrocities are problems that still prevail in our society. In spite of constitutional declarations and guarantees, the lack of effective legal representation at the police stations is a huge detriment to arrested/detained persons.”
In news reports, there are many instances of custodial deaths like the Manjula Sathye Case, P Jeyaraj custodial death case amongst others. Their families are still running from pillar to pillar in the hope to get justice. The misbehavior that is seen on the part of police toward the culprits has mostly been in the institution for along time. The government does nothing to punish or reprimand the abusers that give them the freedom to do such acts.
The question is why the police is so insensitive towards the people. There can be many answers to this question- they show their harsh side while in office, the overburdening of work, they have to always follows instructions of the superiors so maybe they do certain things even if they do not want to.
The ratio of the police force to the preparators is highly disproportional that gives a fair idea of why their work is so tiring and overburdening. According to me the police personnel are also human beings who have various spheres of their life, so they are bound to get stressed. According to reports there are only 144 police officers for every 100,000 people in the country. The police forces of various states are severely understaffed that only leads to the woes. An understaffed and overworked police force can easily be a reason for a compromise in the core policing functions and the long-term ones.
The policing system is largely a hierarchical structure where the lower-level officers have to abide to the senior officers. As we all know that the bureaucracy is highly involved in the decision making, any officer who dares to question the authority can be suspended on any grounds or just transferred. So better be quiet and do the job at hand. This fails to give them adequate resources, training, ethical development at work, or even improving the professional police tactics.
I think that there must be sensitization in the police forces all across the country as said by Chief Justice NV Ramana because the law is made for the people – to help the aggrieved find their voice, if they only get scared and trust the system. I feel that the citizen should be made aware about the laws, how to approach the police for help, how to get access to lawyers and help the police.
There should be rehabilitation and de stressing workshops for the personnel at regular intervals. There should be an upgrade in their communication services, equipment etc. so that when need arises they do not fall short. There should be attempts made not to let the politicians interfere in the job of the police for their own benefits.
Lastly, I think, there should be reforms made in various policies of law to bring them up to the mark of today’s world. Regular checks must be done to see if things are at place, grievances of the personnel should be given importance and not brushed aside as a part of work. Personnel at the lowest level of the police organization are the ones dealing with most of the work so they should be given adequate number of breaks and vacations, there should be frequent shuffling to avoid monotonous work and improve the internal management.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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