Essay on Public Participation with Police in Crime Detection in India!
It is well known that crime detection is the first stage of criminal adjudication. Although crime detection and investigation are primarily the functions of police but it is rather difficult for the policemen to perform these duties efficiently without public co-operation. Therefore, the desirability for public participation in crime detection hardly needs to be emphasised. Public participation is possible in either of the following ways—
1. Certain provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure empower a private individual to arrest a person who in his presence commits a non-bailable and cognizable offence, and to hand over such arrested person to police without unnecessary delay.
2. The law enjoins a duty upon every person to assist a Magistrate or police officer in preventing the escape of a person whom they want to arrest or to help in preventing breach of peace.
3. People are required to inform the nearest Magistrate or police officer about the commission of an offence or about intention of a person to commit certain offence.
4. Every officer employed in connection with the affairs of a village or residing in a village is under a duty to report certain offences or matters relating to maintenance of peace and order and safety of person or property.
The lack of public co-operation in police work makes it difficult for the policemen to discharge their functions efficiently. It is common experience that law-abiding citizens have greater fear for police than actual offenders. The reason being that the offenders take it as a routine way of life to come into contact with police and deal with them expediently.
Knowing it well that the police are equally harassed and fed up with them, the criminals even do not hesitate to use threats violence, trickery or undue influence to secure their escape from police custody. The normal citizens, on the other hand, avoid contact with police and prefer to keep away from law courts even at the cost of slight suffering or loss of legitimate claims rather than reporting the matter to the police for action.
The real problem therefore, is to develop a closer liaison between the police and the public by inspiring people to think that police is not their enemy but a friend to help them in distress. It is gratifying to note that this aspect of police-public relationship is being emphasised through intensive propaganda and open discussions between the members of the police and the public. The co-operation of public in crime prevention is also possible by organising radio talks, lectures and giving intensive publicity to this campaign through the medium of press and platform.
The National Police Commission has pointed out that the internal discipline and morale of police is considerably weakened because of the political interference. The ‘Police’ as a governmental organisation has to serve two masters—one political head and the other departmental head. Politicians often consider police as their tool to meet their selfish ends and therefore, oblige police personnel by rewarding them in various ways.
The subordinates on their part sense the game and adopt an equally ambivalent strategy. The superior—subordinate relationship in police organisation is guided by the principle, “lick the above and kick the below”. Such mentality is the characteristic of authoritarian superiors and their dominance over subordinates.
Prior to Indian Independence the police was entitled to use coercive power against anti-social elements and political activists. However, after independence, the political leaders in power became the bosses who expect the police administrator to consider even their political opponents as the target groups for vengeance.
The police officers who are trained to obey the orders, have a dilemma; whether to obey wrong orders, and whom to consider their real boss, because those who are in power quite often change their place. The relationship of the policemen with the politician in the present political scenario has resulted into criminalisation of politics which has complicated the matter further and this is a major setback which hinders a healthy public-police relationship.
In a democratic set up the role of police is to protect individual liberties and civil rights. They are to be charged with the preservation of public order and tranquility including crime prevention and detection, and promotion of public health, safety and morals.
But unfortunately the public image of police is not very bright. Writing about unpopularity of police, Leon Ameline has observed that there is no human institution which inspires so much distrust and enmity as the police. Their unpopularity makes people shun them.