Monday, February 16, 2009

Police, as a force

Specialization is the name of the game, and this applies to cops also. Thankless, is the word which i can use to describe the life, and job of a cop. He is there attending to complaints of public, manning the corridors of power centers [politicians, i mean, making sure to keep the anti social elements at bay, day in and day out, and even after that, getting beaten up by the general public for not executing their tasks properly.

If the amount of tasks performed by one cop is taken into account, i could see that he is working for no less than 12-14 hrs in a day. Same cop might be involved in cracking a case on a chain snatching, murder, robbery et al. Policemen are trained to perform various activities, and they multi task on these.

This is where i wanted to open a topic of discussion. In this era of specialization, can a cop be a generalist [performing so many varied tasks]? Shouldn't there be a specialized force to tackle various activites? I do know that there exists intelligence wing, anti terrorist aquad, national security guards and others. But how are these helping the cop in cracking the day to day complaints of the general public? Bangalore has special forces like Hoysala and Cheetah. These forces help in arising fear in the minds of people who are indulging in anti social activities. But 
are they really effective? Do we have any statistics for that?

I believe it is high time, that specialization creeps into the profile of the cops. But these specialization should be to cater to the day to day needs of the general public, and not to only safe guard politicians [like the NSG]. So what can be done?

Specialists, not bound to any police station

An SHO is incharge of one police station, and deputes the tasks to cops involved with the police station. Cops pertaining to one station are differentiated by ranks, and not by what skills they posses. One constable would be put on duty to man a sensitive area one day, and the next day he might be deputed to interrogate a suspect. Just think of the varied nature of the two said tasks involved.

Complaints getting registered in a station varies from chain snatching, dealing with anti social elements, robbery, murder and many more. But is one policeman capable of handling such varied tasks, and solve them quickly?

If the Police department is to be seen as a force to reckon with, they would need to differentiate the cops based on they skills/mastery held in a field.

To start with, creating a pool of cops on specialized subjects has to be done. For ex: one of the most common cases reported is related with murders. Solving a murder case requires specialists who can interrogate, gather vital clues/intelligence, moves about dealing with the case stealthily, can deal with people appropriately [need to know people management skills], need to understand the psychology of people. Theseare some of the basic traits needed.

There should be a separate cell created for specialists. These cops report to the head of the cell. These cops are not bound to any police station.

If any case of murder is reported in any police station limits, the SHO of the station reports this to the specialists' cell requesting for cops to assist in solving the case. The SHO and the Specialists' cell head go through the FIR, and decide on the numbers of specialists to be designated to handle the case. From that moment onwards the specialists get deputed to the case, and start to work on that case, and report to the station SHO. The team would also have cops from the local police station, assisting in the probe.

Once the probe is concluded, case solved, the specialists are released from the case, and they go back to their department. If any such case gets registered in any other police station, above process is followed. The specialists travel to any police station, and get the case solved.

This way, administrative works in a police station is not impacted by the sudden call of duties. Cops working in a station, would be basically confined to administrative tasks, and would be great PR managers, attending to day to day queries of the general public.

Creating a hierarchy based on the skills/mastery, would greatly enhance the image of the police force.