Police in India is all about what the corporate sector calls ‘front office’. The ‘back office’ is minimalistic. The public face of police duties in crime detection, investigation, prevention and handling public order and the underlying to it all, the intelligence collection, all require tremendous support by way of post recruitment initial training and frequently repeated in-service training of the large police forces in every state. Further, there is need to look into motivational needs of such a large force, and these would range from basics like getting dues on time, to devising schemes which promote a feeling of bonding and contentedness of serving in the police.
The police organizations have their ‘welfare branch’ at the district levels to take care of the motivational needs. However, since its personnel are not specially selected for their aptitudes for this work, it is only effective if the district chief personally takes an interest in its working. All training, on the other hand, is typically centralized-in the police training schools and the state police academies. For example, Maharashtra has 10 PTCs for the constabulary, one Police Academy for officers, one Detective Training School, one Spl Security Training School and one Unconventional Operations Training Centre for its total current police manpower of 2,07,936. The centralized training architecture worked adequately in the times of the past when policing was not so perceptibly hectic with rising crime and law and order incidents, and it was feasible to withdraw personnel and send them for in-service training to the police training institutions for a duration of time. Today, this is difficult and therefore, in most states, the police training institutions only impart the basic post recruitment training, while the periodic in-service element, which is critical for the state of competence of the personnel in their regular as well as specialized duties, is neglected. An associated fallout is the lack of large scale skills development required for specialized work like in cyber crimes investigations or even use of IT in routine crime investigation. Due to the lack of periodic training, there is also no institutionalized learning from past incidents, which is much required in crowd control or public disorder incidents.
What then seems needed is a dedicated and suitably trained HR team at every district/commissionerate level to look into issues of personnel motivation and competency development. This would result in standardized, decentralized and regular conduct of in-service training across the entire police force, resulting in improving performance on handling law and order as well as investigating crime. It would also bring in fresh ideas from modern HR practices to keep up the motivational levels of the force.
This would involve restructuring the recruitment in police departments to recruit suitable personnel for leading teams in HR. Restructuring in an organization within government is a difficult task. But for organizations like the state police forces in India, which embody the largest manpower concentrations vis a vis any other government department in the state, and whose duties are more aligned to command and control, again unlike any other state government department, unconventional measures and outside the box thinking have to be adopted for improving efficiencies in police.