speaks to two of the city’s top cops, chosen to be part of the National Police Mission, to revamp policing
The National Police Mission was announced by the Prime Minister two years ago, to study policing in India, and suggest improvements. The mission is to be implemented via six ‘micro missions’, studying communication and technology, human resource development, infrastructure, community policing, process re-engineering and pro-active policing. Each of these micro-missions, constituted by the ministry of Home Affairs, comprise 10 police officers each, selected from all over the country. Their reports will be submitted to the Home Ministry in the next four months. Ahmed Javed, Additional Director General of Police (Addl DGP), Establishment (Estt); and Hemant Karkare, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS), are two police officers selected from Maharashtra to be part of the Process Re-engineering and Infrastructure missions respectively. Each an officer of great repute, they take a few moments from their busy days to sit back, and shed light.
Where should the Infrastructure Mission’s
The micro-mission on Infrastructure shall encompass the entire gamut of policing and there will be some overlap with the work of other micro-missions. Primarily our focus would be on empowering the police men on field with complete backup; he should have the all the necessary wherewithal which will enable him to discharge his duty effectively. So, the micro-mission on infrastructure will include not only brick and mortar that creates office and residential buildings but also vehicles for mobility, communication systems etc. Especially training facilities, because equipments and the system are only as good as the man behind the machine. One important mandate of the micro-missions is to make recommendations arising from outof-box thinking. For example, presently, residential accomodation provided to policemen is government owned. Instead, one could think of facilitating acquisition of accomodation owned by policemen themselves. This could be done by providing soft loans to policemen right in the beginning of service when they have lesser responsibilities. Another example could be outsourcing noncore police functions like housekeeping, canteens etc. One more possibility is that of suggesting structures which could achieve synergy between police and a very large private security establishment. All these ideas have potential to be ‘force multipliers’ for the police.
• What new challenges necessitate a re-look at policing?
Terrorism is the foremost challenge. It’s not that terrorism did not exist before, but now, thanks to the ever expanding reach of media, terrorist incidents are brought to your drawing rooms and played up again and again. So the impact of the incident is magnified manifold. Another challenge faced by the police today is succintly explained by Thomas Friedman’s concept: “The world is flat”. In this global village, we have to more than match the global connect of terrorists and organized crime syndicates. Unless we coordinate and network on the national and international level, neutralizing our adversaries shall be difficult.
• What about infrastructure needed to tackle cyber crime?
We have to look at systems in place to facilitate processes as well as prevent security breaches and criminal and terrorist cyber attacks. There is no national boundary to cyber crime as it occurs in an international virtual space. So, international cooperation is necessary to fight it. We must have systems in place for this.
• Will the 6th Pay Commission help correct corruption?
Corruption is greed based, not need based. Otherwise incidents of pay would have reduced it, or officials receiving higher incomes would be honest. Correcting corruption would involve correcting value systems, cultures etc. Also, there should be a ‘certainty’ rather than a ‘quantum’ of punishment. But the 6th Pay Commission should reduce the temptation for government servants to switch over to private sector jobs.
• In high pressure cases, how do you decide between respecting individual human rights and results? Some allege that the Gujarat Police has been more successful in the current terrorism investigations because they were given a free hand to crack down on a minority, which the other police forces didn’t have.
Your question suggests that human rights and results are on opposite sides. Violating human rights may yield short term results, but create anger and alienation, spawning more terrorists and criminals, in the long run. The Palestinian dispute, among similar flashpoints, stands testimony to this. Situations have to be dealt with firmly without resorting to rights violations. As far as the Gujarat Police is concerned, each police officer abiding by the Constitution and the law has a “free hand” to do his duty. His binding himself of his own accord is a different story, but not an excuse.
What does ‘process reengineering’ mean?
Generally it would mean looking at the existing processes in a different way and re-engineering the same by modifying, adding or deleting. The ultimate aim is to arrive at processes which enhance the response and image of the police through effective, efficient and positive service delivery. The bulk of our processes are inherited from the colonial era and hence are totally out of sync with the needs of present times. Re-engineering would involve, inter alia, multitasking, simplifying, greater delegation, increased use of technology, outsourcing and overall maximising of existing resources with an avowed focus on enhancing core policing functions and reducing if not eliminating non-core functions presently being tasked to the police (eg. guarding duties, service of summons etc.) A better and more scientific system of performance appraisal, re-looking at working conditions, greater and smoother public police interface practices will be the other highlights of this re-engineering. Our micro-mission will also be interfacing with other missions on overlapping issues.
• What significant changes in policing does the National Police Mission strive for?
We are hopeful of significant changes in the way policing is done: better and more prompt responses, enhancing professionalism, and citizenfriendliness in an atmosphere of transparency. What we are endeavouring to achieve is an improvement in the overall image of the police.
• In high-pressure cases, how do you balance individual human rights with results?
There ought not to be any conflict per se. As a matter of fact it’s under such situations that high professionalism and strong leadership will resolve any negative pressure. Ideally, human rights violations should never occur. When they do these aberrations should be dealt with most seriously and promptly.
• What is your take on the never ending corruption issue?
Decidedly it is an area of grave concern. It is all the more so when its spread is not only wide but at various levels. This is compounded when both material and intellectual corruption exists. I have some reservation about whether a salary raise will end this. There are many complex issues which will need the greatest will and determination to enable eradicating this huge malaise.
• There have been allegations of anti-Muslim bias against the force, especially from Muslim accused in terrorism cases. Being a Muslim yourself, how would you answer these?
I’ll try and answer all these questions. First, there is now a nearly ‘templated’ Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which an accused in a terror case follows just to stymie the police investigation and in an attempt to ‘misuse’ our democratic institutions and other agencies. Personally, I have never felt or been made to feel my identity as a Muslim during my career. We have been taught that ‘khaki’ is our religion, and ‘khaki’ it has been. But this is not to overlook the fact that there have been cases where bias against minorities have occurred.
This article appeared originally in Mumbai Mirror, Times Of India: http://alturl.com/trvg