3. We often hear instances of police brutality. Do you think empathy is the most scarce virtue in the police forces? What measures would you suggest to impart the virtue of empathy? Discuss. (15 Marks)
हम अक्सर पुलिस की बर्बरता के उदाहरण सुनते हैं। क्या आपको लगता है कि पुलिस बलों में सहानुभूति सबसे दुर्लभ गुण है? सहानुभूति का गुण प्रदान करने के लिए आप क्या उपाय सुझाएंगे? चर्चा करें।
Candidates need to start with intro about brief of police brutality. The candidate needs to then give his views on empathy being the most scarce virtue in the police forces. Finally, candidate needs to discuss measures to impart the virtue of empathy.
Police brutality represent the use of uncontrolled and redundant force on the part of a police officer. Police brutality in any form results in violation of citizens’ civil rights. It is not only projected through physical means but also through verbal abuse, arbitrary arrests, etc.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings—to know what it’s like to be in somebody else’s shoes. It allows for a deeper appreciation of what other individuals are experiencing. In turn, this leads to more positive interactions and communication between police officers and the people they encounter.
Empathy being the most scarce virtue in the police forces
- The objectives of the criminal justice include penalizing, reforming, and rehabilitating the offender. Reformation is its ultimate goal, as the system professes to be more rehabilitative than retributive. However, the system still fails offenders on many aspects with empathy being absent in the police force.
- Police brutality in India is executed in various forms including extortion, forcing the detainee to lie naked on ice, amputating different body parts of the victim, immersing the face in water until the individual is out of breath, burning the body parts, giving electric shocks, arbitrary arrest, verbally assaulting the victims, accused, witnesses, etc.
- Abuse of power and maltreatment is apparent on face in all the above cases. Sexual Harassment, racial discrimination, wrongful search and seizure by police officials also come under the purview of police brutality.
- Despite the harsh demands of the occupation, police personnel are not provided mental health support.
- Consequently, abuse of power and custodial torture is not uncommon, sustained by systemic impunity.
- Police personnel lack adequate training and have a limited understanding of the Constitution and human rights.
Measures to impart the virtue of empathy
- Reformation is its ultimate goal, as the system professes to be more rehabilitative than retributive.
- We need to surgically work on stress points in the police, courts and prisons to make the process less painful for all stakeholders
- Curricula for the training and retraining of police can provide officers with ways to be more effective and improve community reactions to their efforts.
- Training can include steps to help officers learn about and show empathy for the concerns of the specific communities and neighbourhoods where they work.
- Likewise, training can show new officers how to display their understanding of community values and needs when they interact with citizens.
- Showing such empathy, we know, increases trust and confidence in the police.
- And when citizens have greater trust in the police during daily interactions, officers get more cooperation and find it easier to protect themselves along with the communities they serve.
- Take for instance, a woman, X, who traffics teenage girls for a living. Counselling reveals that X is a victim of internalised misogyny and deprived of education and economic resources. To be reformative, the system should gender sensitise X and provide her access to employment to prevent recidivism.
- A reformative criminal justice system must locate all factors, internal and external to the offender that led to the commission of a crime.
- The objective should be to identify the causes through reformation-oriented guidance and counselling in prison and remedy the circumstances in which it occurs.
This increased demand for empathic policing is not surprising: officers can adequately address the needs of a community only when they can identify and understand what those needs are. When community members believe that the police are addressing such issues, their confidence, trust, and general attitude toward the police improve.