Third Year Law Student, Alliance School of Law, Alliance University, Bangalore.
There are several determined and undetermined functionalities and responsibilities of the police force, from managing the traffic, investigating petty crimes like theft to inspecting heinous crimes like murder etc. Though sometimes these responsibilities are considered underrated by the public, the police force is needed all 365 days of the year. They have been vested with various powers to fulfill these vital responsibilities. But today, we see that the police are misusing these powers. In essence, the duty of the police is to serve the public, but off late the public has been subjected to ill-treatment and terror by the police. Instead of protecting the people, they have been terrorizing them. The resentment against the police force is growing day by day in our country.
However, there are innumerable difficulties they face while in the line of duty. This fully accounts for the sorry state of the police force of our country. ‘Police’ is a State subject as per the VIIth Schedule of the Constitution of India, but the State Governments are doing almost nothing to provide the police force with even the pre-requisites required for their day to day functioning. Firstly, around 20,000 police stations in our country are located in temporary buildings, sheds and tents. The police officials who are expected to protect the public do not even have the bare minimum working conditions. This immensely affects their mindsets. Most of the police officials are found lacking in dedication and honesty, which is expected of them. Secondly, the resources which they require to fulfill their duties are inadequate and insufficient. They aren’t provided with enough vehicles and fuel for it, not enough manpower is available and the arms and ammunitions provided are also obsolete. Several times, the police stations are unable to pay their telephone and electricity bills and the contingency funds, which are a pre-requisite for every police station, are allocated only to the bigger states.
It’s an inevitable fact that the police force is compelled to work for the people in power, because they are threatened and controlled by the use of such instruments as postings, transfers, promotions etc. This severely affects the discipline and morale of the officials whereby they are forced to toe the line of their political masters rather than serve the public at large.
The police constables are at the lowest end in hierarchy. However, they constitute almost 94.6% of the police force. They are the ones who carry out the basic work. Lack of legal education has further exacerbated their situation. In fact, police constables who constitute the major chunk of the police force are the ones who work/interact at the grassroots level. They are the ones who can revolutionize policing in general. They are however deprived of any power and are under constant pressure to oblige their superiors.
The job profile of a constable has a condition that he has to be available for duty throughout the 24 hours of the day. But even after that let alone a leave, they aren’t even granted basic facilities such as clean drinking water and toilets. And, regardless of all these difficulties, they are expected to work diligently. The newly recruited constables are made to perform petty chores in the houses of their superiors which has no link to their job profiles, which in turn harms their morale. Also, meager salary, lack of proper habitation and other inhumane conditions have compelled the police force to go the wrong way.
Thus, now the system has eventually become a hollow structure. It needs to change, and should be such where the police force is empowered enough to serve and protect the people, where the rule of law is given utmost importance. This is possible through the following measures. firstly by formulating a structure where maximum complaint resolution is made possible, for this garnering the trust of the public is necessary. Secondly, providing them with better conditions which will improve their ability to operate. Thirdly, by devolution of powers amongst the lower ranks which would usher significant change thus leading to their empowerment as well. Also, more women must be employed as constables, who can then work with the women and children in their respective places of functioning. Fourthly, the police force must be insulated from the control of the politicians. Lastly fellowship, respect, compassion and understanding must be cultivated among the public for the police, which will help the latter serve the former in a more effective and fruitful way.
The need of the hour for our democracy is a modern police force which works for the people and are accountable to them, who are well-trained, well-equipped and who uphold the law at all times.
 http://mahapolice.gov.in/mahapolice/jsp/temp/html/lo060111.pdf, (visited November, 09 2016).
 http://www.preservearticles.com/2012050131670/what-is-the-police-strength-in-india.html, (visited November, 09 2016).