Does political pressure hinder probes? Police reflect in survey
This article pertains to the ‘Status of Policing in India Report 2019’ prepared by Common Cause and the Lokniti programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).
A brief note on Lokniti-CSDS-Common Cause Status of Policing in India
The Status of Policing in India Report (SPIR) 2019 sets out to ask hard questions on law enforcement in 22 states across India, and tries to study and evaluate policing in India. The report is a combination of performance and perception about policing through an analysis of official data and an elaborate perception survey.
It also aims to spark national conversations around police-community relations as they exist in various Indian states. As a matter of fact, the analysis in this report is arranged primarily in terms of best or worst-performing states. The information is also given on parameters like age, gender, caste, community, urban/rural or economic/educational status. The survey provides snapshots of levels of fairness and responsiveness of the criminal justice system to distress and crime, and the levels of accessibility and impartiality with respect to the society’s vulnerable sections.
The SPIR 2019 has listed out the working conditions of police in India and a finding in this report is about the political pressure faced by police, and the extent to which this affects their investigations. The key findings of this report are:
Nearly 28% police personnel are of the opinion that pressure from politicians is the biggest impediment in a crime investigation. By taking into consideration various kinds of obstacles, 2 in 5 police personnel opine that political pressure is the biggest barrier in crime investigation. Issues related to society, legal systems and internal working systems in police were listed out as some other hindrances.
As many as 38% police personnel are reported to have faced political pressure from politicians in cases of crime involving influential people. Approximately one-third of them are always facing pressure from their seniors in the police force. In terms of facing pressure from the media always, the proportion decreases to one-fifth and about 14% reported that they ‘always’ faced pressure from human rights organizations/NGOs, judiciary and the common public in cases involving influential people.
The report prepared by Common Cause and the Lokniti programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) has brought to light the fact that Indian police personnel are handcuffed by various sections of the society which affects their performance. Therefore, in order to rid the police system of unwanted pressures, proper reforms must be put in place so that they can perform their task without any kind of unwarranted pressure.