Political Interference and corruption are two major issues that hinder the processes of justice and damage the people’s trust in police. To reform the police, the Supreme Court issued some guidelines in 2006 (Prakash Singh and other vs Union of India), which aimed to improve the functional autonomy and reduce corruption in police. Till now, no concrete action has been taken by the states to implement these guidelines.
2006 Supreme Court guidelines for police reforms included:
- A fixed tenure of two years for top police officers in crucial positions (like it is for CBI director).
- Establishment of a State Security Commission (in which opposition leader would have a role) to give policy guidance to police.
- Separation of crime investigation, and law and order functions of the police.
- A Police Establishment Board to regulate police placements.
- Establishment of Police Complaints Authorities to look into complaints against police personnel.
Why do we need to reform the Police?
- Our country needs to be prepared for increasingly sophisticated crime and complex security threats.
- Ills such as political interference, and corruption, extra-judicial killings and custodial torture have to be eliminated. These ills not only violate human rights, but also make the police organisation weak and ineffective. Effective policing is required to create a safe, crime-free, and just society.
- We need to address the trust deficit between police and citizens, and also the low police to citizen ratio. India has more private security guards than police officers.
- Modernisation of police
- technology, modern arms and vehicles
- better training, modern investigative practices and forensics
- Transform the character of police to that of service rather than that of force – to reduce distrust in police. Improve respect for human rights and law.
- Fill vacancies, improve coordination in police of different regions.
- improve functional autonomy and reduce external pressures.
- Security of tenure for police officers.
- Separate wings for crime investigation, and for law and order.
The Prime Minister of India has coined the acronym SMART police: Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive, Techno savvy and trained. This gives some idea of what vision the government has to reform police.