POLICING – IN AN EXISTENTIAL CRISIS
The strong arm of the state, police, which performs policing task, in known to operating under the law, and some administrative control here and there was created only to facilitate its functioning. It was also to provide resources for its effective functioning. It was not meant to be an element of control. The facilitation and resource mobilization took a back seat and as time passed by, command and control became the sine qua non. Whosoever controls police, pull its strings. There have been innumerable times where the home dept. was kept by the CM himself in different states. While Police has been functioning since times immemorial and would continue till the end of time, what is at existential is risk is democratic or constitutional policing.
Even in policing, it is mainly the criminal investigation with its backward and forward linkages, in the criminal justice system and in the society at large. It is fully reflected in the nature of politics and indirectly the way business is conducted in the country. The laws, the rules, the processes, the workflow, and conclusion are all known in the criminal justice system and all have to go through the same process, if the commit a crime. The disclaimer is that there should be an effort that all crimes are reported, directly by the victim, or by some eyewitness, bystanders or suo motto by the police itself. The predictability of action within the time mandated by law is the most basic requirement. Quality would come only later.
The police net to register the cases is becoming smaller. What percentage of cases don’t get registered for whatever reasons need to researched into? If registration of one case is so difficult against powerful law makers turned law breakers or vice versa and some have dozens registered against them, what does it mean? Simple. Dozens have gone unregistered. You can understand the state of law and order and crime in the areas represented by such law makers / law breakers. It can be termed precarious, for the lack of a better word. Law maker might not possess the corresponding expertise in law or law making, but certainly it speaks of immense capabilities of the controlling the police directly or indirectly.
Can the head of a police unit not even decide to register a case? This too when there is no question of otherwise, that option itself is not available to anyone. The law does not provide for that power. The investigating officer is supreme as per law, even the supervisory police officers can just guide, the powers beyond that does not exist as per law. How does the police handle accused and witnesses of a political kind? Helplessness! Investigation is a complex art, more so in intricate cases, and can thus be messed in equally complex ways. Without getting into the veracity of it, there is certainly talk about encounters. Getting electricity etc connections cut during democratic protests, is certainly no policing. We have heard of weird drug cases. Is policing not the task of the police? Can they in any case be absolved for not doing their core task? Can Police be puppeteeried to an extent that is left with no decision making, is expected to do odd jobs and take the flak. Can a civilized democratic society allow policing to face an existential risk? Then the society is at risk.
CAN POLICING BE RESURRECTED?