Andhra urged to speed up police reforms

India on 21 October 2013
Location : Andhra Pradesh, India | Source : The New Indian Express. Image Source: Flickr user Bopuc

Experts have called on the Andhra Pradesh government to speed up the process of police reforms in the state by implementing the Supreme Court directives in both letter and spirit.

Addressing a meeting organized here Friday by the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, they noted that the state is lagging in implementing the apex court directives.

Kamal Kumar, a former director of the National Police Academy, said the state is in complete non-compliance with the directive to set up a State Security Commission.

It has also not implemented a fixed tenure for directors general of police.

"While the state has established a Police Establishment Board, they do not conform to the court's guidance. It has also completely ignored setting up Police Complaints Authorities," he said.

Maja Daruwala, director of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, dwelt on the need for improving policing standards and why police reforms was so critical.

She highlighted that the deep resistance to police reforms primarily came from executive and bureaucracy who do not want to let go of their control of the law enforcement agency. She said the public also has a tendency to be short-sighted when it comes to police reform.

"The public often call for better police through the cry for tough policing. However, tough policing can be a euphemism for wanting the police to be high-handed so that their particular interests are taken care of," she said.

Daruwala said there was a critical need now to delineate and redefine the role of police and the executive keeping in mind that policing is a service and the citizens are entitled to better service.

Jacob Punnoose, a former director general of police of Kerala, reiterated the need for pre-legislative consultation and explained how it was done in Kerala.

The speakers noted that 15 states have passed respective police acts without any consultation and public input. They highlighted the need for citizens and civil society groups to add to the court's pressure on the state government to implement police reforms.

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