PS Bawa, Chairman, Transparency International, India lamented that in India there was a tyranny of statistics and that internal oversight of police is not good and penalties are minor. One way to check the illegalities, he reiterated, is that the DGPs could ensure that promotions were based on merit and as chiefs of state they should prevail upon the government for setting of Police Complaints Authorities.
Vrinda Grover, senior lawyer and noted human rights activist, and Keki Daruwala, former police officer and member National Commission of Minorities, spoke of considerable levels of institutional bias within the police force. Citing cases from the 1984 Sikh riots, the Hashimpura events in 1987 to the more recent 2002 Gujarat riots, they believed that bias in the police existed at all levels. Participants reflected how these biases affect the constabulary as well as the senior cops.
VN Rai, ex IPS and Director, National Police Academy reflected on the different manifestations of bias in the former of gender insensitivities that permeate the police and called on the need for training and sensitization of police personnel all through their working lives and not merely at day long workshops. As Director of the National Police Academy, he introduced a training course where participants were required to be “Constitutionally Conditioned”.
Kamal Kumar, ex director of National Police Academy highlighted that police can remove the biases by revisiting internal disciplinary mechanisms or rewriting them or at least by bringing an element of transparency in these mechanisms.
The meeting also discussed in depth the need for strategic planning for the police which remained at a very unsatisfactory level. Both Kamal Kumar, and Jacob Punoose, ex DGP of Kerala called on the police to plan for the future, setting out targets and identifying performance indicators followed by corrective steps. Mr Punosse stated that Kerala was the only state in India where policing came under the Plan Budget, and how he was instrumental in getting financial allocation for police from the state government.
Maja Daruwala and and Navaz Kotwal, organisers of the conference, called on the civil society and the police to wake up to the dire need for police reforms. We can no longer wait for tragedies to keep happening before the police are stirred into action.
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