New Delhi: A study released in the national capital Tuesday stated that 72 per cent of police officers have experienced political pressure while investigating cases involving influential persons.
The chief guest at the event, former Supreme Court judge Jasti Chelameswar, also alluded to political pressure on the justice system, saying: “We were talking about police officers being transferred… how many of us know why chief justices are being transferred in this country?”
The study, titled ‘Status of Policing in India Report 2019: Police Adequacy and Working Conditions’, has been conducted by the NGO Common Cause, and the Lokniti programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).
It relies on a survey of 11,834 officers from police stations across 20 states and the National Capital Territory of Delhi. It also includes responses from 10,535 family members of police officers.
Chelameswar referred to a few cases that he adjudicated upon as a judge to highlight shortcomings among police officers, such as ignorance of law and lack of adequate training.
However, on the issue of independence of the police force, he said: “That is a problem which needs to be handled carefully, because in a system of representative democracy, to say that the government should have no say in these matters perhaps is an extreme proposition. But at the same time, to what extent they should have a say is a matter to be regulated.”
The other speakers at the event were Aruna Roy, founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Prakash Singh, former DGP of UP and Assam, and Vrinda Grover, human rights lawyer.
50% policemen feel Muslims prone to committing crimes
The police’s attitude towards vulnerable communities was found to be problematic, with 50 per cent feeling that Muslims are naturally prone to committing crimes.
The survey found that three in four police officers feel it is justified for the police to be violent towards criminals, while four of five believe there is nothing wrong with the police beating up criminals to extract confessions.
Working 11-18 hours
As for working conditions, the survey found that except for Nagaland, the average working hours of police officers were between 11 and 18 hours.
About 46 per cent personnel frequently experienced situations where government vehicles were not available when they needed them.
More than 50 per cent were found to have spent on stationery from their own pockets.
The study also found a decline in the total strength of women in the police from 11.4 per cent in 2007 to 10.2 per cent in 2016.