Friday, September 18, 2009

A Matter of Attitude

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has called for a ‘‘new-age’’ policeman who is better trained, more professional and suitably empowered to tackle the modern range of crimes. Addressing the conference of DGPs and IGPs in New Delhi on Tuesday, he said that ‘‘the police station has to be the fulcrum around which this (modernization) needs to take place’’ and ‘‘a large increase in the number of police stations along with raising the strength of police stations has to be undertaken’’. Arguing that capacity building for the ‘‘new-age’’ policeman ‘‘who places greater emphasis on technology for investigation and other tasks’’ should be the focus from the police station level itself, Dr Singh said that ‘‘each police station should aim at being self-sufficient and needs to be given the required resources in terms of anti-riot gear, better weapons, the nucleus of a mobile forensic unit and be connected to a networked criminal data base management system’’. So far so good. But what about the colonial mindset of the policeman, his disinclination to be friendly with the people, his bullying tactics against the hoi polloi, his reluctance to effect a change in his anti-people attitude? What about his attitude when it comes to dealing with criminals with political connections? What about his lack of integrity and courage when it comes to resisting political influences and interference? What about the architecture of corruption he is so essentially a part of? This is not to say there are no exceptions. There are — policemen of high values for whom the khaki means a very special and dedicated way of serving the people and protecting them from criminal elements. However, a vast majority of policemen have a mindset that makes them a very hostile entity and candidates fit only for VIP security cover. Will — or can — the ‘‘new-age’’ policeman ever be a different species in this sense too? THE SENTINEL

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