Under the Constitution of India, the police is a state governed subject. As a state subject listed in List II of the Constitution’s Seventh Schedule, the police system is governed by the Police Act, 1861 and numerous state statutes. Each state government has the authority to establish its own police force under the Police Act. As a result, it is the state’s constitutional duty to provide an impartial and effective police force that will aid in the protection of the people’s interests.
The state and central police forces have varied roles. Local concerns, such as crime prevention and investigation, as well as preserving peace and order, are generally handled by state police agencies. The central forces are specialised in dealing with such confrontations, and they also provide the initial response in the event of more serious internal security threats. The centre is in charge of law enforcement throughout the eight union territories.
Numerous state police forces are governed by their respective state laws and regulations. Some states have modelled their legislation after the Police Act of 1861, which is a federal law. States also have police manuals that define how the state’s police are organised, their roles and responsibilities, and the records that must be kept. The two arms of state police forces are – civil and armed. The civil police are in charge of maintaining peace and order and preventing crime on a daily basis. Armed police are maintained on standby until emergencies, such as riots, necessitate further reinforcement.
A police station is headed by the inspector or the sub-inspector. The state police forces are under the administration and supervision of the state government. The district magistrate (DM) can also provide directives to the Superintendent of Police (SP) and monitor police administration at the district level. At the district level, this is known as the dual system of control (since authority is shared between the DM and the SP). In some urban areas, the commissioner system is followed whereby there is a unified command structure with the Commissioner of Police as the sole head.
Various central armed police and paramilitary forces are maintained by the centre. These forces are Assam Rifles (AR), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and National Security Guards (NSG).
While India is renowned as the world’s largest democracy, little is known about how it has managed to police such a large, complicated, and unpredictable nation. The police forces, therefore, face problems and obstacles while carrying out their functions on a day-to-day basis. Some of the major problems faced by the Indian police system are discussed in the below-mentioned sections.
- Overburdened force and vacancies: A high percentage of vacancies in police departments exacerbates an already-existing problem of overworked officers. Given India’s low police strength per lakh population in comparison to international standards, each police officer is also responsible for a huge group of people. India’s sanctioned strength is 181 police per lakh people, compared to the UN’s suggested standard of 222 police per lakh people. As a result, the average police officer ends up with a massive burden and extended working hours, which hurts his or her efficiency and performance. Understaffing leads to overburdening of work, which not only reduces the effectiveness and efficiency of police officers (leading to poor investigation quality) but also causes psychological distress (which has been blamed for a variety of crimes committed by officers) and contributes to case pendency.
- Infrastructure: The weapons used by lower police forces are obsolete and cannot match modern weaponry used by anti-social elements. The CAG discovered that numerous state police departments’ weaponry is archaic, and the purchase process for firearms is lengthy, resulting in a scarcity of arms and ammunition. Police vehicles are in limited supply, according to audits. New automobiles are frequently employed to replace older vehicles, and drivers are in short supply. This has an impact on the police’s response time and, as a result, their effectiveness. The central government launched the POLNET (Police Telecommunication Network) project in 2002 to connect the country’s police and paramilitary forces through a satellite-based communication network that will be substantially faster than the current radio communications system. However, audits have revealed that the POLNET network is non-operative in various states.
- Relationship between police and public: The police-public relations relationship, which is crucial to effective policing, is troubled by a severe lack of confidence. To avoid crime and disturbance, police need the community’s trust, collaboration, and assistance. In each crime investigation, police officers, for example, rely on community people as informants and witnesses. As a result, effective policing requires a strong focus on police-public relations. People view the police as inefficient, corrupt, and violent due to which the relationship between them has a severe lack of confidence.
- Police Accountability: Both the central and state police forces are under the supervision and control of political executives, according to the police statutes. Police priorities are constantly changed at the request of political leaders. This obstructs police officers’ ability to make professional decisions (e.g., how to respond to law and order situations or conduct investigations), leading to biased performance of tasks. This leads to a lack of accountability of the police and to a misuse of power to abide by the political ideologies.
The current state of affairs in the country places a great deal of responsibility on state police administrations. The established system is clearly unprepared to handle the pressures of the circumstance. The police system in a democracy like India plays a very important role in enforcing the laws in the country. Therefore, such an important limb of the Government needs to be concentrated on more and several reforms must be made in order to make sure the smooth functioning of the system. The solution depends on innovative thinking within state police administrations and on the part of police leadership to meet the challenge of the new political and administrative ideologies of democracy, socialism, secularism, and nationalism, as enshrined in the Constitution of India amendments.
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.
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