The stereotyped style of functioning irrespective of merit, suitability to a given situation and options available makes the police functioning largely mechanical and stripped of any intellectual or creative contents in it, says Praveen Kumar

In a disciplined organisation like the police where subordination and role play forma crucial psychological necessity, rigid inheritance of the style of functioning has become sine qua non in the vacuum of independent and creative thinking. This is the seed of the frigidity of the Indian Police set up. More dangerously, blind faith in the inherited style of functioning as the only way out to the exclusion of all other open alleys deprive the Indian police of the richness of variety and growth opportunities while cementing ranks and bringing a sense of unity and belongingness that create a sense of strength about the organisation in outsiders. irrespective of merit, suitability to a given The stereotype style of functioning

situation and options available makes the

police functioning largely mechanical and stripped of any intellectual or creative contents in it. Any deviation from the beaten-path is considered with contempt and suspicion and birds of the same flock come together to bring the prevaricator to the required path. Until then, he is labeled and condemned as pout of the mainstream. That is why an imaginative and creative soul newly entering the Indian Police feels absolutely stifled and either follows the flock at the cost of his convictions or just withers away fighting a loosing

2 and humiliating battle outside the mediocre mainstream. Winning such a battle to effect a couple of changes in the mental makeup of the giant organisation is an extremely rare phenomenon and not worth to an individual to have that try.

These features bring distinct characteristics to the organisation. Indeed, the police have people come from all walks of life with their distinct personal features and styles. But , once they enter the police organisation, the grind of the system takes its toll and creates a common profile in its members. Though such a grind is common in many other organisations also, it is not as complete and clear as in the police. The process is not consciously man-made and ergo incidental to the policing system. The standardisation so brought by the process has its own advantages and disadvantages. In case of the police, it appears that disadvantages as the standardised style of functioning cut through the growth process of the organisation in efficiency and excellence. It also grievously destablises dignity of the service and stifles professional values. There is inveterate

servilitude in the style of functioning evolved in the police by this prices. This often exposes the police to gratuitous risks in performance of legitimate duties.

POLITICIAN- POLICE NEXUS Adaptations to political masters as a bargain to secure key posts prove fatal to the dignity as well as professional values of the police set up. A Police officer of a state in southern India succeeded in cornering the coveted post of police commissioner at the State capital a few years back with the support of a politician known in the then political

3 parlance as the ‘ Father, Mother’ of the state Chief Minister. A few days later, the politician in an inebriated state was arrested with his associates while fleeing in a car late night after being involved in a sex scandal involving a budding film star. The police official who affected the arrest recognised the identity of the person he had arrested only after they were brought to the nearby police station in the city. The Police Commissioner was intimated about the developments. The Police Commissioner promptly made his appearance in the police station in the night and ensured the immediate release of his political godfather. But, the political heavy weight in a temulent state was impeccable. He caught the collar of the Police Commissioner in front of the shocked subordinate officials and shouted at the Police Commissioner in his inebriated voice asking him whether he was made the Police Commissioner to arrest and bring him to the Police station. The police Commissioner was seen meekly begging the politician to pardon him. The incident made headlines in news papers. The Police Commissioner later rose to become the Police Chief of the state and is now retired. Such incidents abound in circumstances of Police officers vying for coveted posts a tout prix and as a consequence, the dignity of the posts lowers and the professional qualities of the organisation suffer.

An important reason at the derriere of this failing of the police lies in their general inability at assessments. A rather queer characteristic of the police is its dithering as far as assessments in any form are concerned. It is an organisational failing in the police and the police have found an easy way out of this failing –falling in line with the general trend and precedence sans application of mind. An officer once wrongly rapped as

4 difficult to work with, would be seen so forever by all so much that he himself would begin to trust it as true.


this trend strengthens the sinew of collectivity

and collective

responsibilities for whatever purposes in the organistion, it considerable weakens the intellectual credibilities of the police and tears to pieces the fabric of objectivity and fairness in the organisation.

Once in service, independent thinking becomes a disaster and metabasis as a mechanical part of the flock becomes a crude habit. While this tendency in the organisation brings the elements of collective acceptance within the danger of a person or situation or event once wrongly interpreted, never again to be seen in right perspective, destroys its strength and credibility. This lessens the possibility of seeing things at anytime rightly thereafter. The result often is perverted assessments. In the police, where assessments of men and events form a crucial role, this failure proves fatal to the organisation as well as to the society. This fomented with generally low intellectual qualities of the police, confines the police to mediocrity and restrains it from rising to excellence in performances and promoting high calibre in its personnel.

SENSE OF COLLECTIVITY There is a sense of collectivity for good or bad in the police. None in the police normally get a spark to see a thing from a new angle and give their own interpretations or judgement ectogenesis to the view already held. The sense of rectitude becomes

5 secondary when the sense of collectivity is at stake. Though the police profession demands fairness, justice and rectitude as its primary concern, passion for the values in the police is surprisingly feeble. The commitment to do things legally and rightly is superficial.

A fall-out of corruption in the police is build-up of a dynamics which promotes the interests of corrupt in the system at the cost of those who retained the pristine value of professionalism. The flexible elements who can be manoeuvred to required moulds

through the juste milieu of pelf and position are useful assets to people in key positions to save the interests of their kith and kin as and when they get involved in criminal proceedings. Such characters in the force are always cultivated and posted to key positions so that striking compromises, when situation warrants, becomes easy. This strategy ends up in honest police officers being sidelined and promotes corruption. The dynamics which helps influential individuals to evade the long arm of law, harms the interests of the country, its police and the rule of law. Police officers of plastic

conscience are preferred to upright professionals to key posts even in national level police agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Intelligence Bureau. Police officers known for professional approach are spurned and distanced as

inconvenient elements. In the situation, competence plays no role in preferences while honesty, integrity and professional commitment play negative roles. A history of

bending backward on professional considerations always becomes a qualification in obtaining preferences to more sensitive jobs in important police organisations.

6 A case of dowry death reported against a retired judge and his family in February 1992 in a state as referred to the state investigation agency. The investigation made out a case for charge-sheet against the retired judge and five others including his wife, son, two daughters and another person. The chief of the investigating agency in the rank of IGP being close to the retired judge, dragged his feet from further proceedings in the case. The Superintendent of Police who was supervising the investigation of the case wanted to take the investigation to its logical end. But arrests in the case were prevented and the charge-sheet was unduly delayed. The insistence of the Superintendent of Police to charge-sheet the case cost him his post and he was transferred in July 1992 to the Home Guards department of the state as the head of it training wing. The case remained frozen sans charge-sheet for more than one and a half years, till the IGP’s transfer in 1993. The case was later charge-sheeted in March 1994 with the retired judge and his two daughters being dropped from the charge-sheet on the basis of evidences tampered at later stages. The police officer who tried to stall the wheel of the legal process

subsequently succeeded in gaining entry to a sensitive police organisation at the national level and later in his own state.

An extension of this style of functioning is their complete absorption in their service to the exclusion of other dimensions of life including family life. Nothing interests them outside the police except specific popular entertainments to counterpoise the tension of the quotidian police work. The officers being result is the family life of most police

disoriented and their children more then often betraying criminal

tendencies because of the lack of paternal care and attention. The lack of attention to

7 personal habits manifests in very few police officers leading a happy and normal retired life.

It is in the interests of the police to come out of this pernicious grind of the style of functioning, to breach the accretion and break out to the fraicheur of the invigorating open world of endless possibilities. But the adnate growth over the police system is so thick that no trickles of fresh air survive through it. Anything ab intra cannot ruffle the complacency of the constricting system. This is general experience and concomitant conviction, that something cataclysmic from outside should shake the system and bring it to its senses to show it how and why it is wrong and what retards the growth of the police to its full bloom to efficiency and excellence and how returning the style of functioning can flush new life to the Indian police. We can only hope that such a development comes soon and saves the Indian police from further degradation.

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