SMART Policing
Internal Security

India needs ‘SMART’ Policing?

The past decade has witnessed a steep rise in crime statistics in India. As per the data of the National Crime Resource Bureau, cognizable crimes under the Indian Penal Code have shot up from 18,78,293 from 29,49,400 a drastic increase of 63% and cognizable crimes under the Special and Local Laws have gone up from 32,24,167 to 43,76,699 an increase of 73%. To understand the reason behind it, it is important to look into the two facets of criminal justice: police and the judiciary.

 What is Smart Policing?

The concept of SMART Policing was articulated by Prime Minister in the DGP / IGP Conference 2014 held at Guwahati. Broadly, smart policing involves interventions incorporating application of evidence-based and data-driven policing practices, strategies and tactics in order to prevent and control crime.

Sensitivity and Responsibility towards people with Modern Equipment that can Adapt to a constant change where the Role of Artificial Intelligence is growing. It all needs Training as an enabler with Technology.

Full-Form of SMARTStrict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive; Techno-savvy and Trained

What are the Benefits of SMART Policing?

  • It promotes pro-active policing by preventing criminal activity through enhanced police visibility and public engagement.
  • Smart policing encourages a system-wide and strategic view of police operations.
  • It encourages focus on outcomes i.e. reduced crime & safer communities in cost effective ways. Smart policing paradigm promotes integration & interoperability of information & communication systems.
  • These initiatives help to protect civil rights and to make police force more citizen friendly.

What are the problems? Why do we Need of Smart Policing in India?

  1. Police stations not upgraded for a very long time.
  2. Vacancies from 25%-30% at the state level and 7%-8% at the central level. This indicates that existing workforce may be overburdened, which may have negative consequences on their efficiency and performance.
  3. Trust in the police is low. According to a survey, only 25% people trust police compared to 54% trust Army.
  4. Expenditure on Police Reforms is not a high priority. Budgeted expenditure on police 3%-3.5% which is low.
  5. Political parties don’t seem to bother about police reforms.
  6. Skewed men/women ratio in the police forces also weakens the police to public relationship esp. in crimes and investigations related to women.
  7. Police still in the mindset of the British raj. In our country police personnel is an epitome of non-friendly and oppressive nature.
  8. Lack of political and police relationship and Political interference.
  9. Crime rate between 2005-15 was increased by 28% but the conviction rate for IPC crimes in 2015 was only 47%. Law commission pointed out low conviction is because of the lack of good quality investigation.

State/UT-wise Police-Population Ratio and Sanctioned Strength of Police As on 1.1.2017 (From Ministry of Home Affairs)

Sl. No State/UT Total Police per lakh of population – Sanctioned Total Police per lakh of population – Actual Sanctioned strength of Police Personnel
1 Andhra Pradesh NA NA 52271
2 Arunachal Pradesh 995.5 878.4 8538
3 Assam 200.8 169.6 34663
4 Bihar 107.7 74.8 92422
5 Chhattisgarh 269.7 228.6 45478
6 Goa 417.5 352.4 5630
7 Gujarat 168.9 120.2 84476
8 Haryana 230 164.8 59044
9 Himachal Pradesh 237.5 225.4 10606
10 Jammu and Kashmir 679.8 627 52225
11 Jharkhand 251.4 175 63215
12 Karnataka 183.2 145.1 102301
13 Kerala 178.2 174.5 53998
14 Madhya Pradesh 147.3 125.4 87366
15 Maharashtra 198.7 186.5 220126
16 Manipur 1252.5 962.7 18527
17 Meghalaya 549.2 442.7 7840
18 Mizoram 916.5 702.1 3858
19 Nagaland 900.8 965.8 9086
20 Odisha 155.7 132.9 40404
21 Punjab 299.6 275 68902
22 Rajasthan 142.1 121.7 89191
23 Sikkim 934.1 822.6 2482
24 Tamil Nadu 195.4 184.2 121168
25 Telangana NA NA 52074
26 Tripura 712 619.7 12537
27 Uttar Pradesh 187.8 90.4 377009
28 Uttarakhand 197 186.3 16122
29 West Bengal 143.4 102.4 107777
30 Andaman and Nicobar Islands 803.6 705.9 3747
31 Chandigarh 369.9 325.4 5794
32 Dadra and Nagar Haveli 82.9 79.2 354
33 Delhi 390 383.3 75207
34 Daman and Diu 147.9 113.6 500
35 Lakshadweep 685.4 492.7 562
36 Puducherry 249.5 220.1 3305
All-India Total All-India Total 192.87 150.75 1989295

History of Police Reforms in India

Both pre and post-independence, several committees and commissions have been appointed and have deliberated upon various aspects of streamlining the effectiveness of police governance in the country. It all commenced with the 1st Police Commission which was set up soon after the 1857 Mutiny to deliberate upon the regulatory framework for police in the country. Set up in 1860, the recommendations of this Commission resulted in the enactment of the Police Act of 1861-a law that still governs police.

Post-independence with changing economic, political and social set up in the country, the need to revisit the police governance was felt several times. Post-independence, the first Police Reforms Committee was set up by Kerala in 1959.

Some committees on Smart Policing are: 

  • Committees and initiatives on Smart Policing
  • Gore committee on Police Training
  • National Police Commission
  • The Ribeiro committee on police Reforms
  • Prakash Singh vs Union of India
  • Soli Sorabjee Committee

Important reforms that are worth knowing about: 

Broadly, reforms are needed on three fronts: the first improvement in capacity and infrastructure of police forces, second revisiting the constitution of police forces in the country through legislative/ administrative changes, and third technological scaling-up.

Moreover, we have to read about Landmark Judgement on Police Reforms: 

In 2006, the Hon’ble SC gave a landmark judgement in the Prakash Singh case with seven directions. Constituted the Soli Sorabjee Committee which suggested a Model Police Act. The Court directed the setting up of three institutions, namely:

  • State Security Commission which would lay down the broad policies and give directions for the performance of the preventive tasks and service-oriented functions of the police;
  • Police Establishment Board comprising the Director-General of Police and four other senior officers of the Department which shall decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of departmental officers and men; and
  • Police Complaints Authority at the district and state levels to inquire into allegations of serious misconduct by the police personnel.

What is the way forward to improve Smart Policing in India?

We are still a long way from introducing smart policing in India in its full potential. However, some areas can prove to be a game-changer for this era of policing. Such as:

  • Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.
  • Big data analysis.
  • Real-time sharing of inteligence.
  • Better surveillance and monitoring.
  • Police reform and modernization.

Moreover, police image changeover is needed. Policemen need to come out of the colonial mindset and need to understand that police is for the people. Some convenient technological and local enhancement can come in handy. Such as:

  • Community policing, it improves interface with citizens and makes police more sensitive. E.g. (i) Janamaithri Suraksha Padhathi, Kerala (ii) Friends of Police Movement (FOP), Tamil Nadu (iii) Suraksha Setu – Safe City Surat Project
  • Use of fast technology like web forums, social media and WhatsApp. Lucknow police is a fine example of the implementation of the same.
  • In addition to that, reduced workload for the policemen will come handy in attitude and behaviour changes.
  • A thing as small as a feedback box in front of the police station will come a long way.

It all needs to take place in terms of legislative, financial and resourceful.

The needs for a fast-growing economy like India for safe environment particularly in light of the complex security threats in present times are imminent. Terrorism, Left Wing Extremism, crimes including cyber-crimes, law and order issues threats which call for strong and efficient police for internal security. A review of the police governance framework, the legal setup, the issues ailing the police force –all call from making police reforms one of the greatest priorities for the country.

It needs rethinking, up-gradation, innovation and state-of-the-art technology if we are to be delivered. Smart not about the image but delivery.

-Source: Niti Aayog

Do check out: Niti Aayog Report on Smart Policing in India

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