Two contrasting events have taken place, recently, that show up the challenges police face in their everyday functioning. There is the George Floyd death that threw the US into turmoil and some kind of closure has been achieved with the conviction of the erring police officer. However, the bigger issues remain. Then there is a currently viral video of a Delhi couple abusing police officials in the most entitled manner possible for being asked to wear masks. Imagine if they had done that in the US? What kind of a policing system would encompass such trials and tribulations if there is to be effective law and order?
Solutions need to be provided by those who have perspective, are distanced enough to the see the entire picture and identify what needs to be done. In the case of repeated instances of the Indian Police failing to exhibit professional behaviour in a variety of circumstances, it has become imperative that the force is provided help through outside intervention. This could involve obtaining the services of consultants, or sending personnel to other countries to work with and learn from some of the reputed forces of the world.
Every time the subject comes up for public debate after the latest blunder committed by police, it is recalled that several commissions, as well as the Supreme Court, have made recommendations to improve the functioning of the force, but the political establishment has lacked the inclination to comply. The reason for this is obvious – politicians are happy with the way the police functions at present. Many of them would be in jail if the police were to do its job properly.
However, reform need not necessarily come from the top, or in a widespread manner. Even a determined individual can, particularly in this day and age, use the resources available to make a change. The police, today, are functioning so far removed from the existing procedures and rules, that even a return to the norm can be considered a major reform. Even a determined constable can set off a tidal wave of correction by merely acting according to the letter and spirit of the law. All it needs is confidence in the supremacy of the law. Even as the woman in the mentioned video challenged the cops regarding the law under which she had been stopped, they ought to have been able to mention the chapter and verse related to their functioning. Quite obviously, training has to be modernised and made more technical, rather than remaining dependent on the ubiquitous lathi.