You are on page 1of 17

PRECEPTS OF POLICE ADMINISTRATION

The word ‘ administration’ originates from the Latin administrare

and

administratum which would mean ‘ to serve’ or to be an aid to. Administration in its pristine form denotes service or aidance though in modern parlance it stands for management or governance of affairs. Non obstante the metachrosis of the word, administration even in its modern avatar is service and aidance in essence though from managerial level. Administration even now is commitment serving and aiding an objective or

through suitable planning, organisation, supervision and control

mechanisms. It normally is a distinct field of activity while being a part of the organisation en attendant and stands above the latter by holding overall charge of the affairs. Administration manifests at diverse levels with its lower strata rooted in higher levels of the organisation. In government organisations, higher functions of

administration are invested in government at stratified levels while lower functions are burdened on higher levels of the organisations. The heads of the organisations join hands with the secretaries of the departments and higher authorities in the government to run the organisations. It is also in the police. While the police organisation en semble is responsible for policing, the levers of police administration at lower levels are handled by the police chief and his staff while the home secretary in charge of police in tandem with higher echelons of the government handles it at higher levels.

POLICE ADMINISTRATION

Administration, be it service or management, is immanent in organisational operations of all levels. In police, elements of administration are inherent at all supervisory levels beginning from head constables upwards. Police stations as grassroot policing units go away with a large slice of the police administration. So are district police offices in districts and police commissionerate in big cities with the unit

headquarters as the apex body of police administration within the organisation. The interim levels bridge the gaps in between. The springboard of police administration within the organisation is the state police headquarters in a state with all important decisions of policing and police administration emanating from there under the control, supervision and guidance of the government in the form of home department and higher levels. The police chief ab intra and home secretary and chief secretary in states ab extra form vital links of police administration. The ethos and character of a police force are shaped by these key figures of the police administration. Though political leadership is there as policy makers and executive heads of both the organisation and the government, it is these three configurations as innards of the setup, control and guide the police by administrative controls, head and shoulder above political heads.

A SPECIALISED FIELD

Administration as a service in spirit and governance in manifestation deals with men, money, materials and machinery through the means of laws, rules, decisions and

directions. Of these, men form the most vital ingredient of management and governance. This is especially so in organisations entirely dependent on human resources to meet objectives and goals. Administration for most part is human resources management in a manpower oriented force like the police. The special problems of the police setup, its distinct culture and service conditions, the stress and strain of policing and the non a such psychological factors unique for the organisation crop up issues unseen otherwhere. This renders police administration a specialised field to be handled by experts having insight to and realisation of the special nature of policing conditions and the

psychological pressures on policemen on the off duty in the organisation.

ISSUES IN POLICE ADMINISTRATION

The problems of police and policing are inveterate in the contradictions immanent to the organisation, its status in society and the nature of job it performs. The organisation is primly stratified with a serve hierarchical order and stern discipline to the boot, preposterous to a free human nature. Police, perform the unpleasant task of disciplining and using force against fellow citizens. The unpopular job does not bode well to the psychological well-being and for leading common life in a society that exoterically fear and esoterically hate them. The police live in society in the ambience of sempiternal fear, suspicion and hatred against them. There is no love lost between the two and no real mutual respect. Such a living is not conducive to healthy mental fettle of human beings what policemen are. Sine dubio, the status enjoyed by the police as enforcers of the rule of law and the fear they inspire among the hoi polloi are some

compensations and solace for the malaise.

The tragedy is that these apparent

benedictions themselves create problems of complex social adaptations to make up for the imbalance caused by their real social status nowhere coming near the importance they enjoy in society as law-enforcers vi et armis. The embarrassment is common to all As constables of limited education, social position and

ranks of the police.

enlightenment, they are required in streets and police stations to handle people of far higher social status and standing from a position of strength. As senior-most police officers of premier investigation agency of the country, they are required to investigate, arrest and chargesheet men of the standing of the Prime Minister of the country and similarly placed high dignitaries. The position is not as easy and joyous as it appears ab extra. The strains of such responsibilities preposterous to human nature and natural human tendencies of respect to social stations cause can only be imagined to be believed. Added to it, the feeling of insecurity bred by the potentiality of wrath and revanche of highly placed people pregnant in upright police actions further flummoxes the matter for the mental peace of the police. It is easily said that policemen ought to perform their duties en regle on merit. Images of policeman as a father shooting to kill his fleeing criminal son, as a son arresting his erring father or as a brother in pursuit of his criminal brother etc are mere fairy tales invented for films. The fact is that a policeman cannot be a creature abstracted from his surroundings and shut to natural human passions,

emotions, feelings and familial attachments. If did, he cannot be a human being, but a mere robot, a lifeless machine performing police job. A policeman is a human being imprimis and the human nature makes him a good policeman. He sans human nature and its sweet failings cannot be a real police stuff. He is not a mere robot to unwind in the

blinkers of professional duties and responsibilities. The police in field perforce perform as robots against their natural human sensibilities and sensitivities on orders from above to show results. This ingredient of policing has great impact on the psychological makeup of the police. Added to this, the unending oppression and fear of disciplinary actions from higher-ups for a wink of an eye common in police makes the police life suffocating. It is said that policemen at all levels live with a sword of danger algate dangling over their heads. Ruthlessness is a fact of man management in police

administration. Human relations here are slender and easily snap under the weight of job-related surquedry. The biggest tragedy of police life is the absence of human

concerns around it. Endless interaction with ruffians inside and outside the organisation deprives policemen their natural sweetness and gentleness. There is no scope for

inteneration of their mental makeup. Police administration needs to take these special features of police life and psyche into consideration in running the organisation. The need renders police administration a specialised field.

A BALANCING ACT

Responsibilities of any administration are two fold-providing the body and shapes required to fulfil the objectives of the organisation within the limits of the extant laws and providing right ambience to boost the morale, motivation and above all, the mental wellbeing of the manpower of the organisation. The extra-ordinary nature of the organisation of the police and its working conditions render the latter responsibility a sensitive field warranting specialised study and application. The complex psychological factors

involving policing in diverse social conditions and social imperatives of a policeman’s life perforce require dextrous handling of affairs to promote high morale and right motivation in the place of present crass rule- of –thumb approach common to Indian police. What is required is a highly intricate organisational policy imbued with

specialised skills and insight of the highest order to human nature to inspire, motivate and get most out of the manpower at disposal. This involves balancing in police many contradictions inherent to human psyche. In one hand, the police force has to be steeped in professional pride, while on the other hand, taught to accommodate in its character, the need of perfect obedience to the verge of servilitude in a stiff hierarchical order. It has to be tuned to be loyal to authority while its ultimate loyalty must go to its professional objectives and the rule of law. The police have to be tough and fearsome to criminals and law-breakers while it has to be gentle and friendly to the plebeian. They have to be led to be law-abiding model citizens while day and night deal with hardened criminals requires to break the latter to submission. While they are attuned to the interplay of ranks and status in the stiff hierarchical order of the force, they have to be compelled to treat all as equals and exercise authority even on the people at highest levels in society while performing duties. The list goes on endlessly. The cardinal task of balancing these contradictions in police is the real challenge of the police administration.

FIELD SITUATION

While police administration is a highly specialised field requiring extra-ordinary skills the present police administration in India is archaic at best and maladministration at

worst.

Actually there is no administration worth the name save some mechanical

motions and unintelligent convulsions to provide body and shape to the organisation as time to time responses to day to day challenges. No long term plans. No organisational initiatives. No growth and coordination studies. The organisation takes care of itself depending upon need factors. The maximum, police administration in India does is controlling initiatives and works o of the police by throwing hurdles to prove existence. As far as morale, motivation and mental well-being of the manpower are concerned, the contribution of Indian police administration is absolutely nil. Police administrators

believe that they have no role to play in the morale and motivation of the police organisation. Threats and suppression are the staple of manpower management in police. Wastage of human resources and man-days is the general rule. Quality, efficiency and character are inconsequential. Assessments are misnomers. Personal behoofs are the centres of all decisions. Accommodating the desires of higher–ups in official and political circles and the powerful people in consideration for quid pro quo is the accepted norm of Indian police administration.

A CUSHY JOB

Police administration provides good covers to meet long cherished desires and therefore considered as a cushy job. A police administrator can avail for himself from the police organisation all behoofs inherent to police job like best available transport and

communication facilities and orderly services at will. The police network throughout the country would be at his personal service wherever and in whatever way he desires it. This is an invaluable asset for him and his kith and kin. In the name of various studies concerning police, he can visit foreign countries at his will and convenience at government expenditure. Recently, a regional edition of a leading national English

newspaper raised a hue and cry on its front page for several days followed by a flood of letters to the editor against a visit of the home secretary of the state with a huge contingent of inconsequential police officials to a few western countries, supposedly to study crime and traffic problems. The newspaper called the intentions of the study apocryphal, the study gratuitous and the foreign tour during the holiday season of those countries without first obtaining the assurance of cooperation of the host countries in the study venture as outrageous and cried for stopping what is called a pleasure trip. Its hullabaloo proved infructuous and the contingent completed the tour malgre tout. When the home secretary visited foreign countries again after six weeks for the same purpose, the national newspaper did not dare to make an issue encore.

WRECKER OF PRIDE AND GOOD IMAGE

The basic needs of police and policing are professional pride and a good image. These are the breath of policing and oxygen for the lungs of the police organisation. They refresh the organisation, its system and personnel after back-breaking and dangerous policing above the oppressive life-style in the police ambience. They infuse

entrain to the organisation, its system and the men to take on gauntlets in wait and attend to with commitment and efficiency. Pride is the fuel of policing. Good image is the air that sustains the fire or the zeal of the policing. Who are not aggraced by appreciation? Police force is capable of doing its duties and carrying out its responsibilities with devotion and self-sacrifice; It only wants sacrifices and devotion to work natural to it are appreciated. A good image boosts its professional pride and adds to its sense of

belonging. What else the society can pay to the police for its self-sacrificing devotion to the well-being of the society? The professional pride and the sense of belonging to an organisation widely respected and appreciated by the public spur the police to do better and better every time. The pride adds to its high morale which is sine qua non for good policing and healthy discipline in any police organisation. Good image entails public cooperation and enhances the social recognition of the police personnel. True policing is nonpossumus in the absence of the strength of pride about work while discharging responsibilities to the society from a position of strength. A weakened police organistion and its personnel put to aidos can do no good policing . Pride is the root of morale. Commercial enterprises know the fact and use the knowledge best to derive maximum out of their human resources. Pride and high morale play decisive role in deciding the quality and efficiency of work and discipline in the organisation. Its importance naturally is very high in manpower oriented organisations like the police, particularly those which have to deal with the public from a position of strength. Police personnel shamed and humiliated in their career can never face the public from strength and do good policing. The tragedy lies in police administration. Its vanity belittles the police, breaches its pride, shatters its self-image and destroys its good public image by scrupleless and selfish

interferences in police affairs. Indian police administrators are too unenlightened to realise this basic psychological imperative of good policing. The irony lies in that, that they crassly indulge in exactly the opposite, that is crushing the professional pride wherever it is traced raising its majestic head in the police. Sadly to meet personal ends. Perhaps men in no other government departments suffer humiliations for humiliations’s sake as in police. This is true of all levels including the higher ranks in police.

Suspensions and disciplinary actions are a common phenomenon in Indian police. When no grounds selon les regles are available for disciplinary proceedings, resorting to unfair and indecent measures like withdrawing vehicles, telephones and other facilities, denying promotions, transfer to humiliating jobs created for meeting such eventualities, keeping on prolonged compulsory waiting without a job etc are the common scenario to face even by very senior level officers in Indian police. These humiliations weaken their position before the public as well as subordinates whom they are supposed to control and guide with the strength of their leadership qualities. What leadership one can have while he himself is wronged and humiliated from above for no apparent reason? This is the atmosphere in which Indian police, police the crime world. The consequence is a weak and confused police force with low self-image, low morale, low motivation and servile complexes sans confidence and public approbation.

ARROGANCE OF POWER

A factor responsible for maladministration becoming the abracadabra of police administration is arrogance of power. The police is the real power; the crux of the state

power; the enforcer vi et armis on the field, not on papers as most other government agencies are. Police administrators wield power on the enforcers of the state power. Ergo, police administrators enjoy the temulence of holding the ultimate power. Power breeds arrogance; ultimate power, ultimate arrogance. This is the source of the unamated arrogance of the police administration. The sweep of a arrogance is so strong that it has no patience to rules, laws, codes of conduct, moral values, natural courtesies and human dignities. The only goal of the police administration in the ambience of arrogance is proving its invincibility a tout prix. Neither the well-being of the police administration nor the upkeep of laws of the country have any say in choosing the means to achieve this end. Police administrators going hors la loi for this vain goal is the rule in the country. A recent example is a senior police officer in a state who insisted for suspension or transfer of a subordinate after a criminal case of forgery, cheating, falsification of records, breach of trust etc involving misappropriation of about Rs.36 lakhs during discharge of official duties was registered against the subordinate in the police station by his department. The latter’s good connections in the higher rungs of administration prevented any further disciplinary actions imperative in such circumstances. The

insistence of the senior officer in writing for departmental procedures against the subordinate inconvenienced the administration. The insistence of the senior officer in writing for departmental procedures against the subordinate inconvenienced the administration. The thinking of the administration was that, that how a police officer at whatever rank can insist disciplinary action when it has decided against it for whatever reasons. It decided that the recalcitrant senior police officer had to be brought around and taught to conform with its decisions, by legal or illegal means. The machinery of

administration ground is so hard that the senior police officer found continuing in his position practically unbearable and impossible. He went on indefinite leave, rather forced to do so. His harassment was so acute that at one juncture, he addressed the head of the government, doubting the mental well-being of the perpetrators of the harassment and requested to save the department from the prise of psychopathic tendencies of the concerned. The Chief Secretary of the government after hearing him in August 1996, issued instructions for providing the senior officer an alternative posting forthwith. The police administration in a show of rare defiance, resisted the instructions of the Chief Secretary till the latter’s retirement later. It was only after the principal secretary of the chief minister took interest in the case that files moved against the wishes of the home secretary and the four month vanavasa of the senior police officer came to an end. En attendant, the subordinate with criminal charges continued bien chausse in his cushy job. The new Chief Secretary in the beginning dove-tailed to the depraved home secretary against the sound judgement of his predecessor on the ground that he never had an opportunity to know the senior police officer. This is how police administration is run in India.

HUMAN RESOURCES STIFLED

A serious lapse of police administration in India is its presumed virtue of indifference to other’s predicaments and idee fixe to distance from noble human values. The compulsions of being led and the sequacious tendencies cap-a-pie gratuitously deprive government officials the great human gifts like freedom of thought, originality

and creativity and drain off feelings and sensibilities. It is why common human sense treats odd to find intellectuals poets, artists or genius among government officials. The humble situation is spawned for government officials by themselves by their overzeal to conform. An outcome of the ambience is administration going heartless and mindless, dry and irresponsive to the core to its surroundings. While arrogance of power adds to this, the situation becomes worse. This is the position in which police administration finds itself. The need of making virtue of the irresponsiveness leads to mendacity, dishonesty and immunity. Finding honest and dependable people there , finding people of character and integrity, finding a genius or creative soul at any level in police administration is like finding a pepal tree in a desert. Normal human courtesies are unknown there. Evasion is the stock reply for queries. Vanity is the hallmark. Ironically , these negative qualities are accrescently pro rata to the heights in the ladder of the police administration. Approach to all except higherups is always brusque and stroppy. Normal man to man interaction is impossible unless one is capable of gratifying. Public relations is an unknown concept McGregor’s need hierarchy and such man-management concepts are nonexistent in their vocabulary and thoughts. Efficient management of human resources is a fool’s paradise to them. They find the greatest virtue of administration in ruthlessness. In the process, human resources wither and gargantuan wastage of manpower becomes a common phenomenon of the police.

BREAKING THE SPINE

Police force is a vital instrument that if brought on knees can be of immense help to stave off the interferences of the rule of law and its enforcers and help to lead a good and comfortable life sans the fear of law and law–enforcers. Breaking and bringing on knees individual policemen is a clavis to this end. Police administrators know this secret as none else. They know that nothing works on police as fear at whatever ranks. They know that the advantages of a policeman broken of spine and reined-in easily outweighs the risks of breaking his spine by whatever means and that the policeman goes to any extent even at risks to his life and honour to gratify and pander to the needs of his master, because of his sequacious job culture. This is the reason why police

administrators spare no efforts and lose no opportunities to beat, terrify and cow down a policeman of whatever rank, status and enlightenment though they know well that they are sacrificing the interests of the professional pride of the police, its commitment to the profession, efficiency, organisational interests, the interests of the rule of law and national interests at the altar of their personal grists in doing that. Service rules and jus naturale are arriere concerns to them in exercise of their governmental powers to chevir this

goal. No normal human concerns nor common courtesies for fellow beings deter them from pursuing their evil designs. The recent example is an upright officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police in a state. A scholar in diverse fields, he is known not to easily bend against his conscience. This rendered him unpopular to the police administration. While he was holding the post of state prisons chief in 1995, he addressed government about tragic security lapses in a major prison of the state and sent proposals to government for improving the situation. No actions were taken on them by the government. In the closing months of 1995, a mafia gangwar ensued in the state capital

led to murder of a gang leader lodged in the prison. Government ordered an enquiry into the matter by the home secretary of the state. The latter who algate found the ADGP of his same age, rank and status an inconvenient candidate for his esoteric urge of bringing police to submission. He found a golden opportunity in the enquiry. The ADGP was immediately removed from his position and refused any posting for the next 3-4 months though as the state prisons chief, he cannot be held responsible for the security breach in the prison, particularly while his report on the matter was ignored by the government . If anybody was to be acted on a highest levels for lapses in the prison, it was the home secretary for not acting on the report of the ADGP. If it is the position of officers at highest ranks in the police in the hands of police administration, how precarious is that down the ladder, can only be imagined.

ROLE OF PERSONAL GAINS

The apostasy and prevarications of the police administration from the right path in most cases is not even a malfeasance to achieve right professional ends. They mostly are pure and simple means to self grandiosity and personal grists. The fact is that police administration seld goes to any length of initiatives and risks for purely administrative reasons unless some elements of personal gains are involved. As far as purely

administrative reasons are concerned, the communi consensu among police administrators is for letting the police carcass boil in its own broth uninterfered. After all, who wants the risks of awakening the sleeping monster? Somehow the police function, and let it do so as long as possible. Who knows how the monster may react while they loosen or

tighten a screw or a nut here and there. Who wants gratuitous risks? It is the reigning thought of Indian police administration in normal times. Show them elements of personal grists. Lo, colour of everything changes and risks become sine qua non of the

administration. Files move fast. Discussions and meetings are held day and night Decisions are taken overnight. Procedures and cut-short to ease the process. Ordinary situation turns to an emergency. Administration becomes a hub of incessant activity. Lots of energy and thought go to the process of administration. The result is that work is done irrespective of the relevance and importance of the work while more pressing and vital, but less remunerative works rot in files for years. Selection and recruitment of men in the age of prolate unemployment and purchase of heavy vehicles in the ambience of commissions play a pivotal role in the administration of police and related safety oriented organisations. Recruiting men in thousands and purchase of scores of heavy vehicles in a single go in the name of expansion of an organisation involves subterranean change of hands of crores of rupees at a short span of time. It is a dizzy amount to be pocketed with little risk. Decisions were taken by the administration for expansion of the

organisation with fresh recruitment of thousands of men and sub-officers and purchase of scores of heavy vehicles. A police officer in a sensitive juncture of his career who could be compromised was put in charge of the organisation and the selection and purchase processes. The setup worked out by the home secretary worked to his satisfaction. The result was that the police officer in charge was rewarded in oodles. The concerned organisation saw rapid expansion. Thousands of unemployed youths got job.

Manufacturers of heavy vehicles got business. And the home secretary got what he Wanted. Thus all are happy and contented. This is how administration works in India.

Most ills of present Indian police emerge from the malaise of the morbid handling of the police administration at different levels. Be it in handling of the body and shape of the organisation and its functions or managing the spirit and the soul of the force, police administration can play a major role either in building or marring the prospects of raising a healthy police outfit for the country. As on today, police administration failed the country and its police by indifference on one hand and crass handling of the

organisation and its affairs on the other. The only solution on this serious malady lies in rebuilding police administration with people of character, integrity devotion, efficiency, ability and above all, deep insight to human nature and its problems.