The U.P. Police Has Become Shamelessly Trigger Happy After The Carte Blanche Provided By The Current Govt
Almost all of the Indian Police Service officers of the 2016 Regular Recruit batch failed in at least one subject.
The cold-blooded murder of Vivek Tiwari by a police officer in Lucknow is just one in a series of examples of police cruelty. In a brazen disdain for law and public sensitivity, the police misled the public about circumstances of the murder and tried to cover-up the crime. Colleagues of the guilty policeman rallied behind him through social media posts and public display of resentment bordering on revolt. They reportedly wore black armbands on duty to protest the proposed action against the guilty and also tried to brand the deceased a criminal.
In February this year, Uttar Pradesh police had shot another innocent citizen, a gym owner in Noida who suffered paralysis as a result. The police tried to brand the incident as an ‘encounter with a notorious criminal’.
U.P. police have become particularly trigger-happy after the carte blanche provided by the current U.P. govt stating that criminals have no right to live. They reportedly even invited the media to cover an ‘encounter’ in Aligarh – circumstances of which appear to indicate that it was stage managed. Kins of those killed allege that the victims were picked up from their homes and shot in cold blood.
Malaise is not restricted to U.P. Multiple cases of police brutality can be found in other parts of India as well. The memory of the alleged jail-break at Bhopal, the videos of which indicate that the Madhya Pradesh police had killed the escaped criminals in cold blood, is still fresh in mind.
The Director-General (DG) U.P. Police blames improper training of policemen, especially those recruited between 2013 and 2017 for this state of affairs. Such ill-trained policemen resort to the disproportionate use of force instead of adhering to the principle of use of minimum force. The DG further announced that the Police personnel will be made to go through a twelve-day “Capsule Training” to upgrade their skills.
At least he has identified one ill and is initiating steps to remedy the situation. Whether these steps are adequate or not is a different matter.
Unfortunately, police training has always remained a low priority in India. The fact that the government had to incentivise trainers for posting to academies reflects that thinking process. Rarely do policemen want a posting to a training institute unless they want a home posting or want to get away from a political master with whom they do not have a good equation. This is because normal policing is always considered more lucrative for reasons widely known.
The poor state of police training in India was apparent from the fact that almost all of the Indian Police Service officers of the 2016 Regular Recruit batch failed in at least one subject. Officers from other batches also failed in extremely important subjects for policing viz Investigation, Law and Forensic Science. It was ironical that an officer failing in many subjects was awarded the gold medal!
Most of these IPS officers are unwilling leaders and run away from core policing jobs to greener pastures at the first available opportunity. Their training does not impart them with the skills to lead the police forces, which is evident from the incidents quoted above. The poor state of police infrastructure, their uniform and the general attitude of police towards the common public is also a reflection of the ineptitude of these leaders.
The constabulary now is better educated and socially more aware. They look at the lifestyle of their leaders and find that their own service conditions are much worse. They see that they are over-worked, ill-equipped and unsure of being backed by commanders in case they commit a genuine mistake. They look at their leaders cosying up to politicians, therefore, do not hesitate in pulling strings for an easy life. They are witnesses to the misuse of power and the corrupt ways of their leaders and are therefore not hesitant in extracting their own pound of flesh.
The police leadership keeps lamenting the non-implementation of police reforms, for which it blames the politicians. But they do not take the initiative to implement even what is within their authority. The least that police leaders can do is improve the service and living conditions of the constabulary besides improving the training of men.
The police leadership has to realise that reforms have to be initiated from within the system. There is no incentive for politicians to do this because it is in their interest to have a weak leadership pandering to their whims. I recently came across a book by IPS officer N C Asthana. Titled “Khaki Main Darinde”, it critically analyses and suggests improvements in police functioning.
Some amongst the new crop of officers appear to be showing a spark, which portends well for law and order as well as for the image of the police. News of Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat being awarded for the third time by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, for his unusual efforts in community policing and welfare, is a bright spot.
Hopefully, the enthusiasm for reforms will infect others and the police will soon get a humane face with the ethos of “service” rather than “force”.
Sanjiv Krishan Sood is a Retired Additional Director General of Border Security Force. Having put in over 38 years of Meritorious service he has served along all the borders of our country with Pakistan and Bangladesh including 8 years on LC and in sensitive Samba Sector of J&K. His nterests include Border Management, Security related issues and role of security forces in Security Matrix of India, politics and humour. Views expressed are his own.