Karela Fry

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Change the police

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On September 16, 2011 India Today wrote

A deeper analysis would help establish that a professional police force, which considers itself accountable to the people of the country and gives primacy to upholding the laws of the land in all situations, is absolutely essential … Certain measures need to be taken immediately to transform what is today a Ruler’s Police into a People’s Police.

These sentences capture the two major problems with the police force that the whole country seemed to be focussed on for the last two weeks. The first was the complete lack of regard for the safety of ordinary people, leading to the brutal rape and eventual death of a young girl. The second was the use of the police to stifle public protests.

Among the sensible-sounding suggestions are to increase the number of policemen, and to make them more visible around the clock, all over the country. Delhi ADC Suman Nawla made some perfectly reasonable-sounding suggestions in an interview to NYT:

You have to look at the education level as well. A person who is recruited at the constable level is just 12 pass [a high school graduate]. He might be coming from a village on the outskirts of Delhi, or from outside Delhi. So he is carrying those values with him. He might have never seen a woman in a short skirt, so he might be quite disturbed by this. He might be ogling. So he has to be taught how to behave. It will take time for these mind-sets to change.

[Policemen] do try to justify that nothing would have happened in their area if the woman had dressed differently, or if she was not out late at night.

I think if we have strong supervisory mechanisms, these things don’t matter. I am not bothered about somebody’s personal views in any situation as long as they are working well. At the end of the day, attitudes should not be hampering investigations.

All this is not applicable to more than half of the police force. One merely has to drive in a city, or even try to report a theft to find that policemen are completely aware of the law, and also aware of the fact they themselves can break all of these laws with complete impunity. The beat police are too often sexual criminals (see [1] [2] [3] …). Nor are high police officials themselves above abetting and perhaps committing exactly this kind of sex crime (see [A] [B] [C]…) Criminality within the police force is the elephant in the room which none of the "reformers" talk about.

A reform of the police force must start with weeding out criminals within it.


Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

December 30, 2012 at 5:03 pm

One Response

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  1. […] Delhi police disgraced itself in the aftermath of December’s rape, and claimed more than it could prove in the brouhaha […]

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