Police reforms & Accountability

URGENT NEED TO IMPLEMENT MEANINGFUL PROGRAMMES AIMING AT “POLICE REFORMS & ACCOUNTABILITY”

Posted: 22 Apr 2013 11:06 PM PDT
URGENT NEED TO IMPLEMENT MEANINGFUL PROGRAMMES AIMING AT “POLICE REFORMS & ACCOUNTABILITY” ESPECIALLY AT THE POLICE STATION (THANA) LEVEL.

Rajendra Dhar
POLICE WATCH INDIA (Regd. NGO).

The Police reforms programme should aim to realise increased demand for and achievement of police accountability and reform throughout the Country.

The police reforms programme should target policy makers, police organisations, activists at the grassroots, civil society groups, the media and the general public to further the need for reform and the implementation of democratic policing. It should be achieved through a combination of advocacy, education, research and networking.

WHAT IS POLICE REFORM AND WHY DO WE NEED IT?

In too many countries, governments are failing in their primary duty to provide the public with an honest, efficient, effective police service that ensures the rule of law and an environment of safety and security. Democratic governance requires democratic policing. The only legitimate policing is policing that helps create an environment free from fear and conducive to the realisation of People’s Human Rights in the practical sense of the term.

The existing police systems in India are a legacy of colonial rule that have been shaped by post-colonial histories. The consequences of poor policing include brutality and torture, extra-judicial executions, a lack of due process, impunity, corruption, bias and discrimination and public fear, anger and resentment.

Many Countries of the world have some inspiring examples of governments and police organisations working towards reform. Many police organisations all over the world have undergone varying degrees of modernisation and transformation. Impetus for reform has generally arisen out of public concern over rising crime or from incidents of police abuse or failure, accompanied by a willingness to learn and address changing times.

WHAT IS DEMOCRATIC POLICING?

Democratic nations need democratic policing, which gives practical meaning to the promise of democracy and good governance and is applicable to any context – rich or poor, large or small, diverse or homogenous.

Critical to the success of democratic policing is the principle that the police should be held accountable: not just by government, but by a wider network of agencies and organisations, working on behalf of the interests of the people, within a human rights framework.

Democratic policing is both a process and an outcome. The democratic values lay down a sound foundation for the development of democratic policing.

A DEMOCRATIC POLICE ORGANISATION IS ONE THAT IS :-

1. Accountable to the law and not a law unto itself
2. Is accountable to democratic government structures and the community
3. Is transparent in its activities
4. Gives top operational priority to protecting the safety and rights of individuals and private groups
5. Protects Human Rights of one & all irrespective of sex, caste, creed, colour, religion, profession etc.
6. Provides society with professional services
7. Is representative of the community it serves
8. Is capable of warding of Politicians & the Wealthy having vested interests, Etc.

AN EFFECTIVE MODEL OF POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY SHOULD INCLUDE MANDATORY SUPERVISION AND/OR CONTROL BY :-

Democratically elected representatives (in national parliaments if police are structured at the national level, in state legislatures if police are organized at the state level, and in local councils if policing is organized at the local level).

An Upright Independent Judiciary. (WHICH WE HAVE).

A responsible executive (through direct or indirect policy control over the police, financial control, and by other government agencies such as Police/Policing Auditors. (UNFORTUNATELY WE DON’T HAVE).

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