Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF)

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    • To improve the quality of forensics, policing and weapons, the Centre has approved the continuation of a mega police modernisation scheme for five years (up to 2025-26) with a financial outlay of Rs 26,275 crore.

    About

    • Scheme for Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF Scheme) has been implemented by the union government since 1969-70 for reforming the state police forces.
    • The government has approved the continuation of the umbrella scheme of Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF).
    • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is responsible for implementing the Modernization of Police Forces (MPF) Scheme.
    • It also aims to “strengthen the criminal justice system by developing a robust forensic set-up in India”.
    • It is a centrally sponsored scheme. 
    • More than Rs 18,000 crore of this money will go towards security related expenditure in Jammu and Kashmir, Left Wing Extremism areas and the Northeast.

    Police Reforms (Modernization of Police Forces)

    • Meaning: 
      • Police reforms aim to transform the values, culture, policies and practices of police organizations so that police can perform their duties with respect for democratic values, human rights and the rule of law.
      • It also aims to improve how the police interact with other parts of the security sector, such as the courts and departments of corrections, or executive, parliamentary or independent authorities with management or oversight responsibilities.
    • History:
      • The police reforms were introduced in the pre-independence era by the British government in 1902-1903. 
      • After independence, in 1977, the Indian government set up a committee “National Police Commission”. This was the first committee at the national level set up by the Indian government to report on policing. 
      • The NPC produced eight reports between 1979 and 1981, suggesting wide-ranging reforms in the existing police setup.
      • One of the most important recommendations is about the Model Police Act but it was not accepted by the government. 
      • In 1996 one former DGP of Uttar Pradesh filed public interest litigation in the Supreme Court and demanded police reforms. 
      • In a landmark judgment, Prakash Singh Case, the Supreme Court in September 2006 had directed all States and Union Territories to bring in police reforms. 
      • In this judgment, the Supreme Court directed States and Union Territories to comply with seven binding directives which would kick-start the reforms.
      • Post-2006: Supreme Court created Justice Thomas Committee to review the seven directives (stated by Supreme Court).
      • In 2012-2013 Justice J.S. Verma committee was constituted to recommend amendments to the criminal law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminally accused of committing sexual assault against women – after nirbhaya scandal. 
        • This committee has recommended certain steps to reform the police, which include the establishment of the State Security Commission to ensure that the state government does not influence the state police, which should be headed by the Chief Minister or Home Minister and also stated the seven directives of the Supreme Court.

    Issues with Police System in India

    • Colonial Law: 
      • Even at present, the police system in India is based on colonial law.
      • Sometimes the British used the police as their instrument to suppress the voice of people and for their personal functions and at present our respected government is doing the same.
    • Huge vacancies:
      • While the sanctioned police strength was 181 police per lakh persons in 2016, the actual strength was 137 police.
      • This is way too low when compared with the United Nations’ recommended standard of 222 police per lakh persons.
      • Further, a high percentage of vacancies within the police forces exacerbates an existing problem of overburdened police personnel.
    • Custodial Death: 
      • There are many cases on custodial death means Death by torture/pressure in police/judicial custody. 
      • During 1996-1997 in D.K.Basu judgment, the Supreme Court (SC) issued a guideline against custodial death in India.
    • Police Infrastructure (weapons, vehicle etc):
      • Modern policing requires strong communication support, state-of-the-art or modern weapons, and a high degree of mobility.
      • Even the fund’s allotted face Underutilisation.
    • Law on Torture: 
      • India has only signed the “United Nation Convention on torture” but yet to pass by the Parliament. 
      • India does not have a specific law for torture.
    • Political Interference: 
      • Police officers are not able to do their work due to the interference of political leaders. 
      • There is no minimum tenure security for officers at the higher post and not even place posting security.
    • Promotions and working conditions: 
      • Qualifications and training of police personnel are not up to the mark, especially for lower levels of officials.
      • The lower ranks of police personnel are often verbally abused by their superiors or they work in inhuman conditions.
      • This non-harmonious work environment ultimately affects their relationship with the public.
    • Structural issue: 
      • Police constables hired in the class 4 category are expected to use modern scientific technology without proper administration of training.

    Significance of this new scheme

    • Provisions made: Under the five-year plan, provision has been made for internal security, law and order, adoption of modern technology by police, assisting states for narcotics control and strengthening the criminal justice system by developing a robust forensic set-up in the country.
    • Forensic sciences facilities: It includes development of operationally independent and high-quality forensic sciences facilities in States/Union Territories for aiding scientific and timely investigation through modernization of resources.
    • National Policy and Action Plan: With the implementation of ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ for combating LWE, the LWE violence incidents have come down drastically.
    • For the raising of India Reserve Battalions or Specialized India Reserve Battalions.

    Way Forward/ Suggestions

    • Limit political control: 
      • Ensure that the state government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police.
    • Appoint based on merit: 
      • Ensure that the Director-General of Police is appointed through a merit-based, transparent process, and secures a minimum tenure of 2 years.
    • Fix minimum tenure: 
      • Ensure that other police officers on operational duties (Including Superintendents of Police in charge of a district and Station House Officers in charge of a police station) are also provided with a minimum tenure of 2 years.
    • Separate police functions: 
      • Separate the functions of investigation and maintaining law and order.
    • Set up fair and transparent systems: 
      • Set up a Police Establishment Board to decide and make recommendations on transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of police officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.
    • Establish a Police Complaints Authority in each state: 
      • At the state level, there should be a Police Complaints Authority to look into public complaints against police officers of and above the rank of Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt or rape in police custody. 
      • At the district level, the Police Complaints Authority should be set up to inquire into public complaints against the police personnel of and up to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct.
    • Set up a selection commission: 
      • A National Security Commission needs to be set up at the union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of chiefs of the Central Police Organizations with a minimum tenure of 2 years.

    Source: IE