India’s law and order matrix needs a reboot

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    In News

    • Recently, the annual All India Conference of Directors General/Inspectors General of Police was held.

    About the Law and order in India

    • ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects under the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India 
    • Role of State Government:
      • It is the primary duty of the State Government to prevent, detect, register and investigate crime and prosecute the criminals
    • Role of Central Government:
      • Central Government, however, supplements the efforts of the State Governments by providing them financial assistance for modernization of their Police Forces in terms of weaponry, communication, equipment, mobility, training and other infrastructure under the Scheme of Modernization of State Police Forces. 
      • Further, intelligence inputs are regularly shared by the Central Security and Intelligence Agencies with the State Law Enforcement Agencies to prevent crime and law and order-related incidents.
    • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):
      • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a nodal agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs, is engaged in the process of collecting, compiling and analysing the crime statistics with a view to help the States to evolve appropriate strategies for better prevention and control of crime. 

    Changing face of Law and order in India

    • Today’s security threats have an all-embracing character.
      • In India, in addition to its traditional spheres of activities which included extortion, seeking protection money, contract killing, boot-legging, gambling, prostitution and smuggling, now added is drug trafficking, illicit arms trading, money laundering, transporting illegitimate activities based essentially on its readiness to use brute force and violence.
    • Complex law and Order problem: 
      • law and order problems are becoming more complex with every passing year. 
        • Organised crime has acquired international dimensions. 
        • Arms trafficking and drug trafficking do not observe any borders. 
        • Cybercrimes are increasing in geometrical progression. 
        • Criminal-Politician Nexus:
          • The deadly combination of criminals and politicians provides the base of organized crime.
    • Crimes against specific sections:
      • Crimes against Children:
        • 1,49,404 cases of crime against children were registered in 2021 of which 53,874 — 36.05 percent — were under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
        • NCRB data on cases registered under POCSO show a steady increase in the rate.
      • Crimes against SCs & STs:
        • Cases registered for crime against SCs rose from 42,793 in 2018 to over 50,000 in 2020, and of crime against STs from 6,528 to 8,272 in the same period.
          • The figures are sourced from the National Crime Records Bureau.
      • Online abuse of Women:
        • The dangerous trend in online abuse was forcing women out of jobs, causing girls to skip school, damaging relationships and silencing female opinions, prompting him to conclude that “the web is not working for women and girls”.

    Suggestions

    • Efforts on futuristic themes in policing:
      • There is a need for efforts on futuristic themes in policing, such as cyber crime, the dark web, crypto, maritime security, the threat from drones, and also problems stemming from an unchecked social media. 
      • These are in addition to subjects such as left-wing extremism, counter-terrorism, drug trafficking and border issues
    • Data war & technological changes:
      • Emerging challenges would require greater innovativeness and agility as well as a demonstration of newer cognitive skills to meet the challenges posed by swift technological change and the rise of data war fighting
    • Mob management:
      • Managing today’s angry, and often unruly, mobs requires a fresh set of skills and inherent abilities, apart from mere technology.
      • Understanding the psychology of agitating mobs and, in turn making them realise the dangers of their own predilections before matters get out of hand, is not an innate, but an acquired skill. 
    • Personnel selection:
      • The selection of personnel to security agencies, especially the police, also will require a total makeover. 
      • The 21st century is proving to be vastly different from the 20th century, and the choice of personnel to man security agencies requires more high-level attention than has been devoted to this task. 
    • Splitting the annual conference of DGPs/IGPs:
      • It is suggested that there is a case for splitting the annual conference of DGPs/IGPs into two separate conferences:
        • A higher level conference of DGPs/IGPs to discuss policy related issues, and 
        • A separate conference to be held of intelligence and security specialists (IGs/CID) to discuss the finer points of methodology, techniques and acquisition of new skills for current and future problems. 
      • Outcomes would then become more relevant to current and future security needs.

    Police Reforms

    • Supreme Court’s Prakash Singh judgement on police reforms: 
      • In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court in September 2006 had directed all states and Union Territories to bring in police reforms.
        • The ruling issued a series of measures that were to be undertaken by the governments to ensure the police could do their work without worrying about any political interference.
      • Fixing the tenure and selection of the DGP:
        • Fixing the tenure and selection of the DGP to avoid situations where officers about to retire in a few months are given the post. 
        • In order to ensure no political interference, a minimum tenure was sought for the Inspector General of Police so that they are not transferred mid-term by politicians. 
      • Police Establishment Boards (PEB):
        • The SC further directed postings of officers being done by Police Establishment Boards (PEB) comprising police officers and senior bureaucrats to insulate powers of postings and transfers from political leaders
      • State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA):
        • There was a recommendation of setting up the State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA) to give a platform where common people aggrieved by police action could approach. 
      • State Security Commissions (SSC):
        • The SC directed separation of investigation and law and order functions to better improve policing, setting up of State Security Commissions (SSC) that would have members from civil society and forming a National Security Commission.

    Way ahead

    • There is a very real need to take a look at not only improving the nature of the security discourse in regard to the range and varieties of threats but also on how to bring about changes in regard to intelligence techniques, investigative methodologies, improving the ground situation, etc.
    • Technological upgradation: 
      • There is enormous scope for technological inputs into the functioning of the police.
      • These inputs would act as a force multiplier.

    Daily Mains Question

    [Q] Critically analyse the major challenges the Law and Order have in India.