Police Planning and its Importance for South Asia
As policing in a modern world has grown increasingly more complex, police services throughout the world have found it necessary to develop strategic plans in order to ensure that they are able to efficiently and effectively deliver their services to the public. Policing plans enable the police to think strategically about how they can do more with less. Given the significant resource constraints of police in South Asia, policing plans take on greater import for this region.
The need for police planning:
Before getting to the finer details related to police planning it is important to consider why, especially in the South Asian context, comprehensive police planning becomes so important for the police to be transformed into a more humane, effective and most importantly, an efficient service. The need for police planning is self-evident especially in the South Asian context wherein the police is widely seen as a corrupt and inefficient arm of the State. Police plans, with achievable targets and goals clearly set for the police in the region, is a pre-requisite for a democratic police service. Any police plan for South Asia should address the need to:
- facilitate a shift in policing paradigm from crime detection to crime prevention
- arrest rampant abuses of power
- improve working conditions of police personnel
- improve on existing mechanisms for police training and place special emphasis on development of soft skills for police personnel
- facilitate scientific methods of investigation through proper planning and implementation
- deal with emergency situations or times of national crisis or natural disaster
- Increase the overall manpower of the force and ensure that they are utilised to the optimum
- control crowds during major festivals and holy occasions
- make the workings of the police more transparent
- provide for systematic records and maintenance of archives
- battle the rising scourge of violent fundamentalist and insurgent activity throughout the region
- import best practises from around the world and adopt them to suit the needs of the local police area
This list is not exhaustive by any means, as the needs of the police in the region could run into pages.
What is the scope of police plans in the region? Is planning a priority for South Asia’s police forces?
Inadequate funds, shortage of manpower, corruption, brutality, intimidation, low rate of detection- these problems are uniformly endemic in the South Asia’s police forces. There are also internal issues within the police with reference to state and federal level police cadres particularly in India and Pakistan. Police planning is not a statutory obligation in most of the countries listed below.
The Bangladesh Police’s reputation for using extra-judicial killings and torture as policing tactics is well documented . To address poor policing in Bangladesh, the Caretaker Government bolstered the Police Reforms Programme launched in 2005. The programme was an initiative launched by UNDP and DFID along with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Bangladesh Police. The success of Phase I has already been measured, with the Model Thanas being relatively successful in achieving a change in police culture in those thanas (police stations). Phase II of the programme is currently underway, wherein more Model Thanas will be created all over Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Police, along with the Home Ministry of Bangladesh, created a strategic plan for 2008-2010. When announcing the plan the IGP emphasised the desire to transform the police from a reactive force to a proactive service, and to ensure a more efficient, humane and effective delivery of police services to Bangladeshis.
The Strategic Plan 2008 – 2010 identifies five key strategic areas :
- The first strategy of Organizational Reform is the foundation for the implementation of other priorities as it deals with legal and organisation reform.
- The second strategic direction is Community Policing which will foster real partnerships with the community and develop operational priorities that will address community needs.
- The capacity to train and develop police personnel is critical to ensure appropriate service delivery
- Women Police and Gender Policy have been identified as an important strategic direction to transition the police into a modern policing service.
- Computerization is now the cornerstone of a modern policing service and the Bangladesh Police wish to position themselves to take full advantage of any advances in technology.
The question that remains unanswered is whether these forward-thinking and strategically important initiatives can (and will) continue in the absence of donor-driven efforts? Although the current government in Bangladesh included the need for police reforms in its election manifesto, it has neglected this issue since assuming office. Without the requisite political will, progressive policing plans may become the exception rather than the rule.
The Police Act 1861 does not contain any provisions within it to necessitate the preparation of annual, or long-term, police plans. The lack of planning became glaringly apparent on 26/11 in Mumbai when the city was held siege for a little under three days. According to the Pradhan Committee Report, “an overall assessment and proper analysis of these reports would have revealed a strong indication that some major terrorist action was being planned against Mumbai. The existing mechanism to make such an overall assessment was inadequate “. In one unfortunate turn of events, the police lost three senior IPS officers in the same incident, and this raised many questions as to the police’s inability to protect even their senior officers in command posts. It eventually took a federal security agency, the National Security Guard, two days to liberate all the hostages being held by the terrorists and subsequently clear the terrorist threat. This was the clearest signal that urgent reforms were needed to improve state security. Unfortunately, subsequent reforms have focused only on weaponry, equipment and enhanced training to deal with urban warfare. The post-Mumbai reforms have largely neglected the basic issues that plague the Indian Police like manpower, poor pay, insufficient external accountability and the need for fixed working hours.
Police strategic planning was made mandatory in the Model Police Act 2006 drafted by the Soli Sorabjee Committee under Section 40  The Supreme Court directives issued in Prakash Singh v. Union of India also direct the police to plan and budget according to their needs. These directives have either been partially complied with or entirely ignored and no strategic plans exist for policing in crucial states of India. Such planning becomes critical in areas like the Naxal-affected districts where police stations are ripe targets for the insurgents. The police in these districts are unprepared, inadequately armed and suffer from poor police leadership. Although deaths of security personnel in these areas is reported with alarming frequency, positive change is yet to be seen.
Some good examples of policing plans in India include the Rajasthan Police who recently concluded a joint project with MIT whereby reforms were initiated in soft skills training and the construction of Model Police Stations, the first of which is located in Jotwara, Jaipur. Rajasthan police released its strategic plan (5 year period) for 2008-2013. The objectives of the plan in brief are outlined below:
- improvements at the police station level (the main target of this strategic plan)
- district police and a supervisory coordinating unit over police stations
- strategizing crime prevention
- specialized intervention/SOS units
- law and order
- new initiatives required at CID of Police Headquarters.
- re-organize the State Special Branch
- improved police-public interface
- measure for increased transparency
- legal and administrative reforms
- enhanced training of the police
The Rajasthan Police Strategic Plan also contains a provision which divides the implementation stage of the plan between various branches of Police Headquarters.
The provision reads:
“Since above initiatives would require augmentation in Manpower, Buildings, Infrastructure, Legal and Administrative changes in laws and procedures and in Training of police personnel to be dove-tailed to achieve the objectives of The Plan, therefore:
- I. Manpower plan would be submitted separately by H.Q. Branch of PHQ.
- II. Building, Machinery & Equipment, Resources and Infrastructure plan to be submitted separately by P&W Branch of PHQ.
- III. Training Plan to be submitted separately by Training Branch of PHQ.
The Punjab Police also released a strategic plan in 2009, as per the statutory requirement under Section 29 of the Punjab Police Act 2008. This plan is much more comprehensive than the abovementioned act as it lays down specific plans relating to complaints redressal mechanisms, community policing protocol and provides reasonable amount of data collected and budgets calculated for the implementation of the plan. The Punjab Police Strategic Plan 2009 can be viewed here.
The Delhi government has created a special plan in view of the upcoming Commonwealth Games, 2010. The special plan consists of a multi- layered security cordon and includes:
- helicopter surveillance
- snipers, ambulances, quick response teams on standby
- experts to battle chemical and biological warfare
- escorts for all games vehicles
Pakistan is the only country in the region to have a statutory obligation to create an annual policing plan contained in Section 10(4) of the Police Order of 2002 (PO 2002). Under the Order, the plan must be drawn up for a province by the Provincial Police Officer and submitted to the Provincial Public Safety Commission (and Police Complaints Authority) (PPSC) for approval. However, this statutory provision carries no language compelling authorities to prepare this plan or even seek approval of it from the concerned parties. Thus, in terms of the implementation of police plans, not much has been achieved in Pakistan. The PO 2002 was largely disregarded and many of the institutions created under the Order are now defunct or non-existent. However, there are some positive examples from Pakistan.
The Islamabad Capital Territory Police issued its annual policing plan for the first time in 2010. The plan deals with the following:
- Shortage of police personnel (10950 police personnel protecting 1.5 million residents  ). In January 2010, 600 personnel were recruited to the Islamabad police. The Interior Ministry of Pakistan accused the police for not conducting the recruitment through a transparent process and declared all appointments null and void.
- A shuttle system contemplated for vehicular transport for police officers.
- The need for bullet proof vests to deal with rising urban terrorism. In 2009, 42 policemen in Islamabad were killed in the line of duty.
- The need for greater security at exit points of Islamabad. 8 police checkpoints and 24 officers were checking all entry points, but none at the exit points.
- Additional funds required to be released to dispose of pending investigations.
- Islamabad Police to repay debt to Pakistan Oil (PSO) for provision of fuel for police vehicles to the tune of 12 million PKR.
The process of planning itself is a step in the right direction for Pakistan’s police, especially in the provinces. Success was already arrived at with the National Motorways and Highway Police (NHMP), which was better funded, well trained, and a result of careful planning and implementation now serves as one of the best examples of a professional police service in the region.
Out of all the police forces in the region, due to the small size of the population and the relative modernity of the Maldives Police Service (MPS), the MPS has perhaps the best opportunity to rapidly professionalize the police. Backed up by a new Constitution and the establishment of the Police Integrity Commission under the new Maldives Police Act 2008, the goal of democratic policing in the Maldives is possible in the near-term. However, in recent times, the island has seen a spate of alcohol and drug related violence which threatens to engulf the island. Along with this, the rise of extremist ideology in the Maldives has raised concerns. This situation can be partially addressed with comprehensive and flexible planning of the MPS.
The Police Strategic Plan from 2007 to 2010 was formulated with vital assistance from officers of the Western Australian Police. They arrived in the Maldives for a year under a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between Western Australian Police and Maldives Police Service .
The main issues envisaged in the strategic plan were:
- the importance of delivering precedence for those receiving the services.
- human rights sensitisation of Maldivian Police via training.
- further development of services to meet modern requirements.
- the need to deliver acceptable services in the atolls.
- to deliver proactive policing in the future rather than a reactive model.
- the desire to enhance police responsibilities.
- reduce overall crime – including violent and drug-related crime – in line with the Government’s Public Service Agreements (PSAs);
- provide a citizen-focused police service which responds to the needs of communities and individuals, especially victims and witnesses, and inspires public confidence in the police, particularly among minority ethnic communities;
- take action with partners to increase sanction detection rates and target prolific and other priority offenders;
- reduce people’s concerns about crime, and anti-social behaviour and disorder; and
- combat serious and organised crime, within and across force boundaries.
- since 2003, the baseline for overall crime has fallen by 11%
- 43% more cases brought to justice
- public satisfaction increased as people were found to be less worried about violent crime and anti-social behaviour in their areas
- drug use dropped by 28.4% since the last plan
- greater rehabilitation of offenders has also shown greater success
-  International crisis group (2008), Report No. 182 Bangladesh- Getting police reforms on track
-  Police Reforms Programme: Police Stategic Plan- http://www.prp.org.bd/MenuMedia.htm
-  Model Police Act 2006 (India) Section 40.
- Strategic Policing Plan and Annual Policing Plan
- (1) The State Government shall:
- (a) in consultation with the State Police Board established under Section 41 of this chapter, draw up a Strategic Policing Plan for a five-year period (hereinafter referred to as the “Strategic Plan”), duly identifying the objectives of policing sought to be achieved during the period and setting out an action plan for their implementation;
- (b) place before the State Legislature, within three months of the coming into force of this Act, the Strategic Plan. Subsequent Strategic Plans shall, thereafter, be laid before the State Legislature every three years.
- (c) place before the State Legislature, at the beginning of each financial year, a Progress Report on the implementation of the Strategic Plan as well as an Annual Policing Plan (Annual Plan for short) that prioritises the goals of the Strategic Plan for the year in question.
-  The Strategic and the Annual Plans shall be prepared after receiving inputs on the policing needs of the districts from the District Superintendents of Police who, in turn, shall formulate the same in consultation with the community.
-  The Strategic Plan, the Progress Report and the Annual Plan shall be made readily accessible to the public.
Police/Population Ratio in Commonwealth Nations
(1 policeman: Number of persons to be policed)
UN Norm: 1:450
India 1:1040 Pakistan 1:625 Bangladesh 1:1138 Australia 1:439 Ghana 1:1400 South Africa 1:348
-  (2007) Maldives police holds workshop in accordance with Police Strategic Plan on 27 May: http://www.police.gov.mv/?n=1564<=en
-  (2010) Government Campaign against Transparency International SL on March 9, AHRC-STM-046-2010: http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2010statements/2463
-  (2010) IGP presents his new plan to PM on 11thApril: http://www.lankaeverything.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1099:igp-presents-his-new-plan-to-sri-lanka-pm&catid=19:srilanka&Itemid=145
-  (2010) Colombo Police reaches out to Tamil Community, BBC News on 19th March: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8576330.stm
-  UK Home Office (2005), National Policing Plan 2005-2008: http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/national-policing-plan/national_policing_plan2835.pdf?view=Binary
With hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people (IDP’s) still suffering in Sri Lanka, many human rights agencies have criticized the Sri Lankan Police (SLP) for their complete disregard to the human rights of these IDP’s. The SLP is infamous for its brutality, particularly towards the minority Tamils, and have been accused recently of playing a prominent role in Government propaganda . Careful planning is needed in Sri Lanka to deal not only with the Tamil crisis, but also to deliver the police from the illegitimate political interference they currently suffer from.
As of now, police planning in Sri Lanka is infrequent. In a joint project between the Swedish Police and the SLP conducted in 2007, strategic planning was impressed upon but the project steering group was uncertain as to the SLP’s implementation of those plans. In a press release dated November 9, 2009, the new IGP of the SLP claimed to have set in motion a 5-year strategic plan to effectively deal with the Tamil situation and to make the police more “people- friendly “. A lot more can be ascertained on the priorities of the SLP if this plan we’re available in the public realm, either electronically or through print.
The Sri Lankan Government also recently ordered that the police in Sri Lanka, after 25 years of civil war, will finally record statements of aggrieved persons in Tamil. This brings some sign of positive change for the minority, who have previously struggled to have their statements recorded in Sinhalese .
Where has police planning worked? Have there been any measurable successes that can be attributed to proper police planning?
The UK is an example of where police planning has worked. The need for police planning first arose in the riots of the early 1980’s in England, which had plunged the country into chaos. Police realised the need to involve the community more in their activities and approach. Targets were set clearly and the opportunity cost of corruption was set very high so as to discourage corrupt activities.
National Police Plan and National Community Safety Plan
The Crime Strategy, and other related strategies and action plans, sets out the Government’s overarching strategic framework. This plan is intended to build on these with some further detail about the priority programmes and policies that will deliver those objectives, in order to inform local planning. The core role of the police is to prevent and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. Recent legislation has expanded and updated police powers to tackle the problems that concern people most.
This National Policing Plan lays out the five key priorities that should guide the work of the police service  :
It also sets them in the context of the over-arching importance of counter-terrorism and of community engagement. The plan allows for genuine local flexibility. It is for police forces and Basic Command Units, working with their community and local partners, to determine local priorities and how these will be tackled.
Success of police planning:
According to the national community safety plan, the previous national police plan had the following positive effect on the British Crime Survey 2008:
The above figures indicate that sustained and adaptable implementation of police planning can have a positive effect even in the most troubled of areas. The UK model illustrates ways to effectively use every resource at the disposal of the police while also enabling them to respond in a precise and lawful manner. The police in South Asia are usually not subject to any sort of performance indicators and this is definitely something the UK Police depend on while framing policy and identifying key issues that come within their purview. In South Asia, the NHMP in Pakistan, the Model Thanas in Bangladesh, and the efforts in Rajasthan under the MIT project are examples of where planning has achieved modest success and can be instructive on how other police services in the region can formulate effective strategies for better policing.