The Great Indian Police

What comes your mind when you hear the word "Police"? If the words like corrupt, immoral, cruel, lethargic etc. comes to your mind then your view about Indian police is no different than any other Indian. It is often said that Police is the most corrupt institution in India - and to some extent I also believe it is true. I was thinking why is so?

Before we start criticizing police, I must tell you that Indian Police is not that bad also. It is much better than police administration in so many of the countries of the world but we have a habit of comparing everything with the western countries and when we compare our police system with them, ours score very poor.

We can look at police from different angles. Why is Police corrupt? the simple answer to this could be the low disposable income and excessive workload on them. The salary of a police officer in India is more than five times lower than a police officer in USA but work load on an Indian police officer is much greater. Low salary and high workload forces him to search for alternatives resulting in corruption in the police institution. This problem can be solved by providing adequate salary and emoluments to police especially those on lower positions because they are the ones who suffer the most. 

I am skeptical about that if salary is increased five folds police would not indulge in corrupt practices. My skepticism arises from the immoral nature of police officials. There are hundreds of incidents when police has been blamed of being rude, immoral and helpless to people. There are incidents when Police despite being present at the site of crime would stand and watch and do nothing. Last year an African women are dragged out of her car and her shirt was stripped off by some Indians and the police was watching and did nothing - there are hundreds of such cases every year. Indian police have from time to time been blamed of moral policing. Taking an evening tea yesterday I was thinking about the cause of this immoral nature of police and to my understanding and knowledge the cause I found was - easy recruitment to police services and no focus on public dealing. 

If a person wants a govt. job, police service is the most easy to get. The recruitment just focuses on very low level of reasoning and analytical abilities and general awareness. Of general awareness also questions are mostly of by heart nature. One of my cousins is preparing for SI and constable, few months back I had a visit to him. He had given an exam recently then and was talking about the questions asked in the exam. I remember one of the questions he told me was When was Right to Information Act enacted? and options were 20th June 2005, 12th June 2005, 15th June 2005 and 11th June 2005. I was shocked to hear that mostly such questions are asked in the police competitive exam which clearly focuses on the by hearting instead of on concepts and understanding. I don't deny that you don't need good memory but that doesn't mean you ignore the basic understanding. 

There is difference between Police and Military - Military is for Govt. and Police is for people. But alas! recruitment institutions don't understand this. I believe that for recruitment for Police services (at any level) more focus should be given on open-mindedness, moral and ethics, public dealing, handling situations and also general awareness which should be based on concepts and understanding. If a police official himself is follower of racism how could you expect him to help you when you go to him to file an FIR against racist crime? If police officials hold the traditional conservative view how could they help then?

Immediate changes in recruitment and training in police services are required. No police reforms would ever succeed unless we understand that police is for people not vice versa.

- Shashikant Singh


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