Calling for a renewed thrust on reforms in police forces, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today said the behaviour of policemen towards the common man should be courteous and friendly.
Emphasising that senior police officers should lead by example, he 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.”
He was of the view that a progressive, modern India must have a police force which met the democratic aspirations of the people.
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 21st century crimes such as cybercrimes and economic offences which required special investigative expertise due to their sophisticated and often transboundary nature.
He specifically highlighted issues that needed to be addressed on a war-footing, including filling up of the huge number of vacancies in police departments and strengthening the police infrastructure in tune with the requirements of modern age policing.
Naidu called for particularly strengthening the police forces at the grassroot level since they were the first responders in most cases.
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 also reiterated the need for police reforms to uphold law and order in the country and to sustain India’s economic growth. “Peace is the prerequisite for progress”, he said.
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 Emergency, Naidu said it was used with impunity to suppress human rights and imprison thousands of people, including all the political opponents of the ruling dispensation.
He appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for making the police a SMART (Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive, Tech-savvy and Trained) force.