Source: The Hindu & PRS India
Manifest pedagogy: This year mains has proved again that topics like science and technology, internal security, disaster management and environment are crucial parts of paper 3. These sections should be given as much weightage and importance as economy and polity. Police reforms is an important aspect of internal security and requires a thorough understanding along with the concept of smart policing.
In news: Vice president speech on the need for Smart Policing
Placing it in the syllabus: Internal Security
- What is SMART Policing?
- Major issues with Police in India
- Structural reforms in the police
- Reforms Required for Smart Police
What is SMART Policing?
The police force which is Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive; Techno-savvy and Trained. This concept was introduced by the Prime Minister of India during the 49th annual conference of Directors-General and Inspectors-General in 2014
S- Strict and Sensitive
Rule of Law
- Free registration: Multi Channel Receipts (CCTNS)
- Speedy investigation: Reduce Paperwork (Pen computing/Apps/Custom forms)
- Deter potential offenders: Use projection through personalised messaging
- Tracking of convicts: Databases, workflow, interoperability
- Rehabilitation of victims: Work with NGOs, open to collaboration
- Population segmentation: Crime Prevention messaging
- Juvenile protection, handicapped population
M- Modern and Mobile
- Openness to learning
- Use of LMS, customised planning, buffet of courses
- Incentives for knowledge sharing/Premium on expertise
- Use of knowledge management platforms/mailing lists/Wikis
- Mobility through sensors: Will you ever have a Ferrari?
- State of the art communications
- Robust and resilient
- ‘Reach scene of crime in a jiffy’
- High state of fitness: diet and exercise/duty scheduling/work planning
A- Alert and Accountable
- Citizens as eyes and ears: Single number model
- MP Police Project
- Internet of Things: Traffic management, CCTV, gunshot sensors, Body cameras
R- Reliable and Responsive
- Quality initiatives
- Six Sigma
- External audits
- Use of metrics
- Feedback surveys
- Mystery shopping
T- Techno-savvy and Trained
- Create techno-core: recruit appropriately
- Make technology a way of life: look out for opportunities of identifying, understanding, testing and implementing new technologies
- Training Mantra
- Define the training goals
- Set up infrastructure
- Outsource content creation
- Measure effectiveness
Major issues with Police in India
Understaffed: Policing in India is a state subject, which means there is significant variation across states. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal’s police forces are all extremely understaffed with less than 100 police staff for 100,000 population. United Nations recommended standard is 222 police per lakh persons.
- Decreased spending: Decreased spending on police in recent years is adding to the resource crunch. Between fiscal 2011 and 2015, states spent 4.4% of their budgeted expenditure on policing on average but this has reduced to 4% over the last four years, according to PRS Legislative Research.
- Political interference: The Second Administrative Reforms Commission in 2007 had noted that politicians were unduly influencing police personnel to serve personal or political interests.
- Naxal issue: Another major challenge to the Indian police is Naxalism, which has taken a heavy toll on lives in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, and a few other States. Apart from civilian casualties, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and State police forces have lost a large number of their personnel in the fight.
- Lack of infrastructure & Weapons: CAG audits have found shortages in weaponry with state police forces. For example, Rajasthan and West Bengal had shortages of 75% and 71% respectively in required weaponry with the state police.
Structural reforms in the police
Prakash Singh case recommendations: In the year 2006 the Supreme Court of India gave a historic historic judgment in Prakash Singh vs. Union of India, instructing central and state governments to comply with a set of seven directives that laid down practical mechanisms to kick-start police reform. The directives are:
- Constitute a State Security Commission to ensure that the government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police, Lay down broad policy guidelines and Evaluate the performance of the state police
- Ensure that the DGP is appointed through a merit-based transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years
- Ensure that other police officers on operational duties (Including Superintendents of Police in-charge of a district(SP) and Station House Officers in-charge of a police station) are also provided a minimum tenure of two years
- Separation of police functions of investigation and maintaining law and order.
- Setting up of a Police Establishment Board to decide and make recommendations on transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of police officers of and below the rank of DSPs.
- Setting up of a Police Complaints Authority in each state to look into complaints against officers of and above the rank of SP in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt or rape in police custody.
- A National Security Commission needed to be set up at the Union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of chiefs of the Central Police Organisations with a minimum tenure of two years
Model Police Act 2006 & its features
The central government set up the Police Act Drafting Committee (Chair: Soli Sorabjee) in 2005 to draft a new model police law that could replace the Police Act, 1861. The committee submitted the Model Police Act in 2006, which was circulated to all the states in 2006
Key features of the act are;
- The Model Act emphasized the need to have a professional police ‘service’ in a democratic society, which is efficient, effective, responsive to the needs of the people and accountable to the Rule of Law.
- The Act provided for social responsibilities of the police and emphasizes that the police would be governed by the principles of impartiality and human rights norms, with special attention to the protection of weaker sections including minorities (preamble to the Act)
- Accountability paramount: the Act prioritized police accountability, both for their performance and their conduct.
- Functional autonomy: The Model Police Act suggested the creation of a State Police Board (Sections 42-50) to frame broad policy guidelines for promoting efficient, responsive and accountable policing, etc.
- Improved service conditions: The Act also aimed to provide better service conditions to the police personnel including rationalizing their working hours, one day off in each week, or compensatory benefits in lieu. It suggested the creation of a Police Welfare Bureau to take care, inter alia, of health care, housing, and legal facilities for police personnel as well as financial security for the next of kin of those dying in service
Expert bodies that have examined police reforms
Reforms Required for Smart Police
Broadly, reforms are needed on three fronts: the first improvement in capacity and infrastructure of police forces, second revisiting the constitution of police forces in the country through legislative/ administrative changes, and third technological scaling-up. Within each of these three heads, changes are required at several levels. The section below outlines these below.
- Boosting capacity and infrastructure: It includes an increase in the number of police personnel in the country, improvement in recruitment, training and service conditions including up-gradation on one hand and improving the infrastructure, working hours, housing facilities on the other
- Legislative reforms:The legislative changes include, enactment of the organized Crimes Act, a single police act for the country, moving Police to the Concurrent List, declaration of Federal Crimes, measures regarding registration of crimes, statutory backing for the CBI, Commissionerate system for large areas, revival and strengthening of the beat constable system and some changes in criminal procedure and evidence systems.
- Administrative Reforms: In addition to the legislative changes, there is an urgent need for administrative reforms as well. On the administrative side, changes include separation of investigation from law and order, specialized wings for Social and Cyber Crimes, restricting the police to core functions, setting up authorities as directed by the Supreme Court, strengthening state machinery and linking prosecution with police. As suggested by the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh v. Union of India, “the investigating police shall be separated from the law and order police to ensure speedier investigation, better expertise and improved rapport with the people.” It also mentioned that there should be “full coordination” between the two.
- Technological Scaling: Technological reforms include modernization of the control room, fast-tracking the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS) pushing for National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) and pushing for the incorporation of new technology into policing.