RSTV- The Big Picture : Police Reforms- A Wishlist

  • IASbaba
  • October 28, 2017
  • 1
The Big Picture- RSTV
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Police Reforms- A Wishlist



General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

General Studies 3

  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

In a major boost to police reforms, the union cabinet approved Rs. 25060 crore outlay for upgrading the internal security apparatus in states. Union cabinet approved an umbrella scheme on ‘Modernisation of Police Forces’. The money will be spent from 2017-18 to 2019-2020. The Centre and States will share by 80%-20%.

There is focus on 3 major challenges facing internal security.

  1. Terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Insurgency in north east
  3. Naxalism- left wing extremism

To tackle them, there is need of technological as well as equipment upgradation such as hiring of helicopters, upgradation of police wireless, national satellite network, criminal tracking network and e-prison project and more.


In 2015, government of India delinked centrally sponsored schemes. By that time 14th finance commission had increased the states share from 32% to 42%. So the central government said that with going up of state government share, the burden of some of the schemes was passed on to states. One of them was modernization of police forces.

At the practical ground level experience, it was expected that there would be enhanced level of police reforms. But the state leadership was not convinced about it and hence nothing was done with respect to police modernization. The home ministry was conveyed about the same and realized that modernization of police reforms will have to come from central government.

Strengthen the core

District magistrates and district superintendent of police should be given the freedom to operate the police station and spend money. The criminal justice system in the 35 left wing extremism affected districts is poor. So there should be freedom to spend money on the necessities of security. At any given point of time, the development amount should be 25 crores and for police operations there should be 15 crores. This is necessary to accelerate the security operations and development.

If there is necessary political and administrative will, it is possible to get rid of Naxalite menace. The paramilitary forces in Naxalite affected states should have free access across state borders. But if there is a case, it should be in the police station of the area where case had occurred. Free movement is the basic requirement as it means synchronization between forces.

Improving police infrastructure

The judicial system and the cases are pending in courts. Prisons are in bad shape. So there is need to improve police system, jails and ensure that the judicial system is effective in delivering justice.

Knowing what is important

Allocation of budget alone cannot bring improvement in police. There should be better gadgetry, equipment, transport, communication, forensic laboratories from the funds provided. This would enhance the capabilities of police to maintain internal security challenges.

However, today, more than money, institutional reforms are needed as laid down by SC in 2006. It includes

  • State security commission
  • Police establishment board
  • Complaints authority
  • Security of tenure for officers
  • Separation of investigation from law and order

But these emphasis on instructional changes are yet pending.

Political will is the key

When it comes to reforms, those have the authority to reform are the most reluctant implementers. They believe that police reforms is an instrument of political power. The basic issue that political leadership has to constantly keep into view and that too by media and judiciary that the primary responsibility of the state is to safeguard life liberty and property of the citizens. This primary responsibility is not being discharged with full sincerity. This is visible from an incident in Haryana where more than 100 people were killed because district administration couldn’t enforce sec 144. Here, does the money help? In such situations as well as routinely, the voice of police, DSP, DM and judicial courts are very important. Political interference should be minimal. There is a PIL in SC wherein SC is directing various states to fill up the vacancies in police force. The allocation reflects the political will of government of India.

Various improvement areas

  • Manpower of police force- At state level, there is shortage of about 21-22% of personnel against the sanctioned strength. For central forces, there is shortage of 7%. This has impact on policing, internal security and morale of police. Lesser people means extended work hours, not enough leave and operational inefficiencies. This leads to less number of youth interested in police and other armed forces which is detrimental to national security.
  • Infrastructure- Various reports say that mobility is an issue with police forces. There are not required police vehicles, the technological upgradation of police weaponry is not in sync with those used by criminal elements. For example, Rajasthan and West Bengal have 75% shortages in weaponry required.
  • Capacity of state to absorb the modernization funds- Do the states have the capacity to spend enough of what is allocated is to be known. 2015 and 2016 indicate that of all the allocated funds towards police modernization, the states were able to take only 14-15% of those funds. This shows the poor absorption capacity of states to inevest funds in police reforms as well as lack of initiatives in the same direction.
  • Sensitization of police forceThe training institutions are dealing with humans who are diverse in their background, ethos they represent and values brought with them. They have to deal with those and sensitise them and bring necessary changes in their thinking and approach towards women, tribals, minorities, senior citizens and children. How to deal with common man, poor people, under privileged people has to be taught.

But the sensitivity is related to the degree of autonomy given to policemen. If the government says that this group has to be treated in a certain way, the police will go and do. It depends on functional autonomy given. A man will be sensitive but if forced to do something insensitive, they will have to do it as they carry command from above. Thus illegal orders should be stopped.

  • Area of community policing is working some places and should be encouraged.
  • Laws to deal with problem are too many laws. Now effective enforcement is needed not any more laws.
  • Police to public ratio should be improved. India has among the worst ratio in world. This will result in more coordination between people and the security in society they demand from government.
  • Accountability is important as permanent civil servants have security of tenure. Now the focus is need of good governance which demands that democracy leadership has to empower both institutions and manpower. They should be accountable but have the freedom to decide. This is necessary as good governance means quality delivery of services in respect of rule of law.

Currently, there is rule of police. There is need of people’s police now.

Connecting the dots:

  • What according to you are the essential police reforms to improve India’s internal security conditions? Examine.

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