The work of police-be it in fighting crime or in resourcing itself to fight crime, is increasing exponentially every year. And this trend is not likely to reverse or even slow down. Especially in times like the present, when there are upheavals in the social and political spheres, the police in the state, uniformly, across all its units, needs to be in a state of preparedness, not only mentally but also in the resources it needs for competent performance.
Currently, in any state in India, one sees islands of competence, not uniformity across police performance. Police inadequacies, however, become the highlights for ‘breaking news’ and are therefore, much retained in public memory. Competent performance of a police unit is presently very dependent on a single factor–that of leadership quality of the person heading that police unit. Such single factor dependency is not good for the organization’s performance output.
So what can be done to bring performance of all units to par at some satisfactory level (personal leadership will, however, continue to matter in creating excellence)?
For the functions of police in crime and public agitation handling, the way to meet this requirement for uniformity is by creating anew and reviewing the older SOPs for crucial activities in crime investigation and handling public agitations and repeated training in the same.There is already a felt need of lack of SOPs in collection of digital evidence (which would be required in most present day cases due to widespread use of cellphones and smart devices even in rural areas). Also, the existing SOPs for handling public agitations could very well use a review.
For resourcing the police to perform these functions, standardization in equipment requirements needs to be the policy. To understand this, lets take the example of supply of video cameras to police stations. Video cameras should be used in crime scene photography as well as in handling public agitations. However, video cameras are not uniformly available in all police stations. So two things happen: 1) where available, their usage for crime scene photography and filming of public agitations is not routinely monitored by the supervisors of police station functions, since video cameras are not a standard part of police station equipment like say weapons or lathis and shields are, and 2) due to non monitoring of usage, the camera, even if available in inventory, may not be used at all, since usage means responsibility and expertise of handling the equipment. As a result, crime investigation performs poorly and so does handling of public agitations. Since currently, equipment purchase is on the basis of demand raised by individual units, so if ‘X’ unit raises demand for video cameras, they may get purchased for that unit, and if ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ units don’t raise demand for this item, it is not bought for them. Standardizing the equipment requirements and fixing the yardsticks for quantities of the equipment, for each of the functions of a police station and also for the functions performed in specialized Units like CID, ACB, Armed Police Units, Wireless Units, Bomb Disposal Squads and other elite units like those dealing with Naxal and Terrorism crimes, will lead to 1) more equitable distribution of the resources across the state, 2) better usage and monitoring of usage of the equipment, and 3) reducing the organizational mind space occupied in buying routinely required equipment and enable devoting more thought only for newer specialized needs.
The fallouts from equipping all police stations and the specialized Units uniformly across a state with the basic requirements for their functions, instead of the present situation of indent based fulfilling of equipment need, and also from the much better usage of purchased equipment, since standard availability will lead to better supervision over usage, will surely lead to uniformly better output from the police in every state. At the same time, the third advantage mentioned above will permit time to the organization to concentrate on equipping itself for better specialization.
Further, a 2-3 year financial plan to meet the shortfalls identified by standardization can yield uniform resourcing to police units across the state and consequently to a better level of across the board performance output in crime investigation, public agitations handling and terror fighting capabilities.