PRIME Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has done well to suggest a renewed emphasis on basic policing, while addressing the 57th conference of the Directors/Inspectors General of Police across the country. Even as he talked about adopting latest technologies to aid policing in modern times, Mr. Narendra Modi also insisted upon ramping up efficiency in basic forms of policing, such as foot patrolling. In other words, the Prime Minister expects the Police Force to reinvent itself in technological and traditional policing terms. By making this emphasis clear, the Prime Minister, thus, has indicated that changing conditions and situations call for changed approach to policing -- which is an important part of internal security and law and order in the society.
This need has been expressed by different persons of eminence from time to time, asking the Police Force to be more efficient and more responsive to the current societal needs. There is no doubt that Indian policing has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Even common people can see greater efficiency in all segments of policing. Better training methods and better contents of high-rank training also are visible in the effort to step up the effectiveness of the Police Force across segments.
One of the most important changes in training of Police Force has come by way of time-appropriate changes in the content and form of the officers of the Indian Police Service (IPS) in the past some time. The officers coming out of police academies are far better trained in every aspect than their predecessors say ten years earlier. Not only are they better attired and better-oriented to handling their jobs with multiple challenges, but also show a greater awareness of their role and duty in terms of changing social needs. It has been found to everybody’s appreciation that the high-ranked Police officers these days are far more aware of the fine nuances of socio-political influences operating on the society in general.
Of course, the Police continue to act as a hand-maiden of political masters in many places in the country. In recent years, many such undesirable nexuses have been exposed thanks to different factors. One of the prominent cases in this category came from Maharashtra when its Home Minister was put behind the bars and a top-notch Police officer was brought to book. That case, plus also the case of the suspicious death of film star Sushant Singh Rajput, brought to fore the vulnerability of some elements in the Police Force to temptation and cheap money.
No matter all this, the overall quality of the country’s Police Force has gone up considerably in the past few years. The good effects of that also are available in the larger society with better quality of prosecution and better quality of investigation. The overall quality of Police in India has shown a definite improvement over the past some years.
Despite this, the Prime Minister has chosen to insist upon greater efficiency of the Police Force -- which is quite understandable. For, the Police Force is the first visible symbol of the Government and the State. It also indicates how the Government approaches the issue of law and order in day-to-day life of the society. When the entire societal structure is undergoing rapid changes every passing day, the burden on the Police Force increases correspondingly. When the society is getting increasingly beset with problems emerging from clash of ideologies -- which is happening in the country now in increasing extent -- then the Police Force is expected to play a more cautious role so as to avoid being blamed on count of partisan treatment to this or that segment. It is only natural, therefore, for the Prime Minister to harp on the need to step up policing efficiency so that societal fault-lines and ideological flashpoints are monitored more carefully and expeditiously.
It is obvious from the Prime Minister’s expectation from the Police Force that the Police Force will continue to remain in public glare and even its minor slips will get highlighted in the changing societal architecture. Naturally, technology will have to occupy a greater space in the domain of policing. But Mr. Modi has insisted that the quality of basic policing norms and forms, too, should undergo an upward change. It is a legitimate wish.