Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday emphasised that a progressive, modern India must have a police force which meets the democratic aspirations of the people and called for a renewed thrust to implementing reforms in the police forces.
Addressing a gathering after releasing the book titled ‘The Struggle for Police Reforms in India’ written by former IPS officer Prakash Singh, the Vice President stressed the need to upgrade the skills of policemen to effectively tackle the 21st century crimes such as cybercrimes and economic offences which require special investigative expertise due to their sophisticated and often transboundary nature.
The Vice President highlighted issues that need to be addressed on a war footing, including filling up of the huge number of vacancies in the police departments and strengthening the police infrastructure in tune with the requirements of modern age policing.
Stressing that the behaviour of policemen towards the common man should be courteous and friendly, the Vice President said, “A visit to a police station should be a hassle-free experience for a person who goes there seeking help. The first thing to reform for this is the attitude of the police – they must be open-minded, sensitive and receptive to each individual citizen’s concerns.”
Noting that police reforms is a highly important and sensitive subject, the Vice President said that although there have been various attempts at introducing reforms over the years, progress has not been made to the desired extent.
He called for a political will in the states to properly implement the reforms, according to the Supreme Court guidelines. Naidu said that over the years following Independence, the police force was perceived to be increasingly politicised with significant erosion in values and practices.
“Instead of being seen as a people-friendly force, it was seen as being elitist and power-friendly,” he observed.
Referring to the instances of misuse of police force during the infamous Emergency, Naidu said that it was used with impunity to suppress human rights and imprison thousands of people, including all the political opponents of the ruling dispensation.
He also appreciated the Prime Minister’s call for making the police a SMART force –standing for a force which is Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive, Tech-savvy and Trained.
Calling for reforms in all walks of public life, including politics, legislatures and judiciary, Naidu stressed the need for speedy disposal of criminal cases against politicians and civil servants to retain people’s trust in the system.