Edit/Op-Ed

What to do with the Police?

Police did not change ...

By Kamal Chenoy

The recent rape of a 23 year old woman by an Assistant Sub Inspector of the Delhi Police is shocking. Such terrible instances have happened before in Delhi and in other parts of the country. Various remedies have been suggested and implemented, the latest summary dismissal as laid down in the Constitution. Gender sensitisation is recognised as essential but too little has been done. This must be revamped and made compulsory. But there is no option but to institute police reforms. The Prakash Singh report on police reforms has been gathering dust since 1996. Both the UPA and the NDA should be conversant with it. Obviously, it has been found politically inconvenient and probably requiring ‘excessive’ financial resources.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, the Prakash Singh report should be looked at afresh by a new commission on police reforms. Looking at other cities like New York (once known for its crime and Mafia bosses), London, Moscow, Beijing, Caracas, et.al and their policing methods (of which a significant amount would be on the Internet), would surely provide pointers on their successes and remaining problems. For instance, how many policemen are there for each 1,000 people in the village, town, city? The less the number, the more stretched the police. How many police are put on special (non-policing) duties? How much follow up is done by the police in tandem with prosecutors to expedite cases against erring policemen, to ensure that the severest sections of the law are used?

There is no point blaming the police without fighting for police reforms. Similarly, the politicisation of the police is done by politicians everywhere, in this country. The police wield power including summary arrest, or the filing of charge sheets against political activists and parties. To diminish this scourge will have to be an integral part of police reforms, that the political class will strongly resist while publicly supporting measures against politicisation. If such measures and more are not speedily implemented tragedies including huge ones like Vyapam will continue to occur.

(Kamal Chenoy is a Professor at SIS, JNU. This article is reproduced from his facebook post.)

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