Learn from the British; humanise the Indian police force
We first had officers from the British Police force coming to National Police Academy at Hyderabad and getting us acquainted with the British system of policing and now I am here in Manchester, UK, getting first-hand experience of British policing on the ground.
The first thing that I see is the huge difference between the manpower, infrastructure, facilities and resources between the police from the two countries.
When I go to the Rochdale Division office at Manchester, I have before myself a huge six-storeyed building. In front of that building there are nearly two dozen modern vehicles of all kinds. Inside, I see every Constable (the lowest rank in British police just like in India) having a nice desk with a Computer over it and all sorts of modern gadgets spread around.
But no less important is the work culture here. In India whenever I enter my senior officer’s room in the Police department, I have to stand erect in a rather servile manner as long as the Boss does not “order” me to take a seat.
Similarly, whenever I attend a Crime meeting in a district, the moment I enter the room all my subordinate officers stand up in the most docile manner. In the same crime meeting I can go on behaving in the most discourteous and obnoxious manner with the staff members , showing a lot of superiority and worth of mine, and humiliating the subordinates who would even accept my abuses because that is how they are used to being treated.
But here in Britain, when I attend a workshop in the police Training Center of the Greater Manchester police at Sedgley Park Center, I find the Deputy Chief of the Police, Simon Byrne entering the room without any of his Constables or Sergeants even noticing his entry.
They all sit down together, address the gathering taking turns, and again when the Deputy Chief has made his speech, he bids us good-bye and quietly leaves the room, with no one accompanying him. No tantrums, no show-offs, no hoopla.
At other places also, we see officers of various ranks behaving like friends and colleagues and not like people belonging to two different worlds.
We attend one of their daily briefings where they all talk in the most relaxed, albeit professional manners, an experience that’s so much different from our high-pitched dramatic versions.
It is this learning and first hand exposure that matters more to me than all the other budgets and gadgets, because policing is first and foremost a human activity for the human beings.
Hence as long as we don’t regard our own colleagues as human beings and as our friends, how is it possible for us to create an atmosphere where the different ranks and file will act as a team by formulating their policies and strategies through free flow of ideas and information?
We now need to understand that while in countries like UK the primary focus is on the work and its proper execution, much of our focus remains on how much we are being able to assert ourselves, and how much we are being ‘feared’.
Time has come when our thinking process needs to be reviewed and seriously altered. We don’t seem to have an alternative out there.
The author, Amitabh Thakur, an IPS officer from UP Cadre is currently undertaking a Fellow Program from IIM Lucknow. (The views expressed in the article are the author’s personal views.)