K. J. VAISHNAV
Department of Law, Saurashtra University, Rajkot 364 002, INDIA.
In recent years national and states attention has been directed to the topic of the police and the nature of policing. Although there are few occupations which are subject to the intense public scrutiny given the police in contemporary Indian society, those concerned with the historiography of the development of police work would no doubt note that concern with the organization and problems of the police can be traced through the centuries. The police function within a unique frame of reference. While, on the one hand, they are seen by the public—and by themselves—as law enforcers/crime preventers and as a visible extension of the legal system, on the other, most of their duty-connected activities are confined primarily to order-maintenance of peace-keeping. It is apparent that the police mandate is more than the basic requirement of stopping crime and enforcing laws. The police, in addition to being responsible for the enforcement of laws and ordinances, routinely do many things that have become their “duty” through default, such as handling problems for which no other agency is available.
Assigned as the protectors of law and order, no other executive wing of the Government, has come in for as much criticism as the police force. It high visibility, is the main factor, responsible for the focus on it. The citizen wants quick and ready justice at his doorstep and is not interested in legal niceties of the present system based on western ideas. The poor man can neither understand it, nor put his faith in its infallibility. What succor is there to a litigant, when his case lingers on, indefinitely for years? The number of old cases pending decisions in courts is going up year after year. How can the society, then protect itself, from the nuisance of antisocial elements, without either taking the law into its own hands, or helping the police to use brutal methods?
The improvement of police services is a major strategy that has been the concern of many, including several national commissions. It has generally been assumed that the improvement of police organization, operations, and management is a much more difficult task than improving training or raising personnel standards. Coupled with this assumption is the popular notion that the upgrading of educational standards will result in significantly greater performance by police officers.
Although politicians, police, and others have often advocated the expansion of police employment to control crime, the empirical relationship between crime rates and police employment has seldom been systematically explored by social scientists. The analysis suggests that crime rates and police employment are reciprocally related.