Have you ever offered a bottle of water on a scorching afternoon to a police officer who stands under the sun, managing law and order on the streets? Most of you don’t even think on those lines.
An Assistant Sub-Inspector was recently arrested for allegedly raping his friend’s maid at gunpoint in North-West Delhi. It was a shameful act, notwithstanding the profession the rapist belonged to. But because the culprit happened to be a policeman, we automatically blame the entire community.
People like ASI Jaiveer Singh are not exclusive to the Delhi Police, they are present everywhere. To paint the police community in a bad light because one of its members committed a terrible crime, would be an unfair judgment. But unlike Indian politicians, the Delhi Police did not wait for the departmental enquiry to declare him guilty. Delhi Police commissioner, BS Bassi, was quick to announce his immediate dismissal under Article 311 (2) B, where a person is dismissed straightaway. He could have defended his officer on the genuine grounds that he would be held guilty only after a judgment is passed.
It was heartening to see, in the midst of such unfortunate event, the swiftness with which the Delhi Police swung into action, leading to immediate arrest and dismissal. “He will not be spared and we need not be told (this) by anybody. This is our determination… we are determined to take strictest possible action against any police officer who indulges in transgression of law,” BS Bassi said.
It’s a pity we look down upon the Delhi Police. We perceive them as mostly corrupt and unethical, devoid of human emotions. Most of us view them as machines built to serve the society.
Unfortunately, they are in the eyes of the public for wrong reasons only. Going through the news, I was forced to question myself. Are all police officers criminal-minded?
Police is responsible for law and order in the country. They are responsible for nearly everything, whether it is ensuring that a VIP gives his speech safely, or managing huge gatherings at Ganesha Chaturth or Holi. They respond to our call 24/7, nor caring whether it is deep into the night, or a scorching afternoon. We need police in every aspect of our lives.
They work under dangerous environment and are exposed to death almost all the time. The criminals carry weapons these days and don’t hesitate to kill a police officer. There is no guarantee that a policeman, who left his family and home for work in the morning, would return home at all.
So why are we so insensitive to their condition? Why can’t we imagine, and respect the pressure they work under? Although exceptions are everywhere, do we normally offer a bottle of water to a policeman at traffic signals, on a June afternoon? We are happy in our air-conditioned cars, blissfully ignorant of the plight of the cop on the road.
Why have we stooped to such levels of insensitivity?
Have we discussed the issue of their general working condition in depth? Have we understood why those who indulge in bribe-taking do what they do?
The problem is in the system itself. The issue starts right from the recruitment stage, stretching till professional training. The working conditions of more than half of the police stations have dissuaded them from wanting to continue further. The average salary of a police officer is INR 9,340-34,500. Is it enough for anyone to live a comfortable life along with his family? On top of this gross inequality, the hours are long, hard and unpredictable.
More than 83,000 policemen in Delhi, including the lower constabulary, sub-inspectors and inspectors, are forced to wear shoddy shoes to work as they have not been given uniform shoes from the department for the last three years. We don’t talk about that.
There is a grave shortage of resources. There is lack of police vehicles, stationery and most importantly, manpower. Multimodal traffic, rapid unplanned commercialisation along the roads and highways, and indifferent attitude towards road safety, are the reasons for a disturbingly high accident rate in Delhi. Delhi Police responds to each and every mishap reported. They are always on roads, risking their lives for people who are totally stranger to them. Yes, it is their duty to take care of us 24*7, but don’t we, as a civil society, have any responsibilities?
The Delhi Police hardly enjoys any privilege. The families of the policemen basically fend for themselves. Compared to army men, who deservedly enjoy special attention – there are dedicated army hospitals, army schools, army canteens for highly subsidised food, and various other benefits that not just the army personnel enjoys, but his entire family does.
If a policeman’s child is critical and is in need of special medical attention, the cop will have to go through the normal route, facing time-wasting inconveniences in the process.
High police suicide rates are an indication of the growing dissatisfaction among police personnel. There is an immediate need for special privileges to be bestowed upon our city’s police force, and forces across India!
A Delhi policeman, irrespective of the challenging circumstances he has to operate under, says, “While even one woman feels unsafe on the streets of Delhi, our task is incomplete.” They take the accountability even if there are dire consequences. There is also a helpline for women safety, initiated by Delhi police, which has extended to 181 women’s helpline for all states in India, preventing hundreds of thousands of offenses from occurring.
Delhi police has launched a police personnel complaint helpline number, on which you can call, text, or send a whatsApp message. If any police is caught taking a bribe, or is harassing civilians, such a video or a complaint can be communicated on the new helpline number, 9910641064. These are initiatives that will go a long way in reducing the incidents that puts all of us to shame. A force which self-examines and is pro-active in taking corrective measures is worthy of our kind considerations.