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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Abandoning Police Servces


Ever been fined for over speeding while your son was just about to miss his board exam while the ministers boy sped on the main road mistaking it for an A320 runway?Ever read the morning headline about a girl who just got raped last night could not even register a FIR in local police station?Ever read about the Gujarat riots and the role of local police in instigating communal violence? Ever had the odd police officer demanding a 500 ruppee note for verifying your credentials so you could get a passport?
The Indian Police ,an inheritance of Imperial Police of the erstwhile British Empire has become nothing more than licensed Mafia Raj.In fact if we consider the figures it would be the largest mafia force in the world.Its atrocities and activities would even make the Italian and Californian gangs look like peace forces.As per nationmaster India had 236,313 assaults last year making it the 5th most dangerous country to live in (even more dangerous than war torn Palestine).At the same time it had the largest police force in the 30 countries surveyed.India boasts of 1.7 m registered crimes ,making it 10th country in world affected by crimes (think what would have bent he situation had we included non registered crimes).So despite having one of the largest police forces in the world,we are still one of the most crime affected country.Add to this the fact that we are here despite having a relatively stable political and economic system.Compare this with a country like Switzerland which has no federal police structure and yet has much lower crime rates.
True,India is a different country with its own unique problems and comparing India and Switzerland is like comparing apples and oranges.Yet,the stats and data point out to such disparity that one is forced to question:Do we really need a police service?
The police force is supposed to assist a nation state in enforcing law and order,while at the same time ensuring basic tenets of democracy:equality and freedom are delivered to all citizens.Clearly the Indian Police has failed on all counts.The law and order situation is beyond the control of local police.We have to be dependent on the Army to control even the minor disturbances by the Maoists.The police is nothing more than a puppet in control of the "netas" at the centre when it comes to Godhras and Sikh Riots of he day.The crime rate in India is one of the highest in world and when any crime takes place ,the common man is rarely convinced that going to the police could be of any help.As per an estimate the Indian Police refuses to register more than 70% crime cases either to protect the powerful or to keep official crime rates low.Regular abuse of laws ranging from traffic to crime by rich and powerful is a rule rather than exception.Ex DGP Rathore ,Shibu Soren and Manu Sharma are just particles of dust covering the book of law abuses in India.
It seems quite logical then that since the Indian Police has failed on all counts,we can start replacing the Police by other alternatives.The advantages are two fold.One the state expends a huge amount of money on the police services.This money can then be diverted to other development schemes.Secondly,selective removal of police services would lead to lower crime rates and strengthening of the Indian state.So whats the alternative to a federal police.Here's what I feel can be a good alternative:

  • LAW AND ORDER :Strengthen CRPF.The CRPF should be given the wholesome responsibility of maintaining law and order and crushing any uprising.The CRPF battalions should be stationed at key locations and be capable of being transported to affected areas within half an hour.Advanced training and proper air and land support be provided them.
  • CRIME :At district level,the local communities can choose to outsource the police functions either to government or private security companies.Most of traffic policing can be automated with use of advanced technologies.Infact the ticket collection money would ensure negative bids for traffic policing project.
  • FAST TRACK COURTS:A government maintained Police HQ be established in district.The HQ would act as a fast track court against private police agencies.
  • MONITORING :A police monitoring agency be established to track performance of private police forces appointed by local communities.In case of any deviation this agency can over ride the local agencies
  • The private agencies be allowed to charge for providing security and theft prevention services.Also multiple policing agencies be present in same city/district to allow free market competition.The agencies be given limited power to arrest people and required to get approval of local courts within 24 hours of arrest.
  • The privatization be started in test phase and gradually be extended to whole of country.
The above might look outlandish and stupid to our mind which has long been trained to accept policing as a state function.However in Indian context ,the wider truth is that our feudalistic mindset makes misuse of power ,a rule rather than an exception.In this sense free market completion and Adam Smith can only help us in restoring civility in our society.The ordinary citizen has no hope from police.We are at rock bottom and privatizing in this revolutionary way can only make things better......

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