From 2018 onwards Common Cause, in partnership with Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), has been publishing a series of reports focussing on policing in the country. 'Status of Policing in India' or SPIR is a one-of-its-kind academic project which uses survey as a primary method to understand different aspects of policing. SPIR 2018, the first report, focussed on people’s perception of the police; whereas SPIR 2019 was about police’s perception about their working conditions, infrastructure and their attitude towards various sections of the society.
According to the initial plan, SPIR 2020 was designed to understand the status of policing in conflict states, or states where some form of extremism, insurgency or militancy is taking place and a large number of paramilitary or armed forces are present. However, the lockdown imposed because of COVID19 and the role played by the police during that period couldn’t go unnoticed. Considering the importance of policing during the ongoing health emergency, the team decided to widen the scope of the study. Now, along with policing in conflict states, SPIR 2020 will also focus on policing during COVID19.
Like the previous two editions, the report will be using survey as a primary method of the study this year as well. This will also be supported by analysis of official data.
Common Cause and CSDS have held several brainstorming sessions with IPS officers, academicians, journalists, and civil rights activists to finalise the themes of the questionnaires. Subsequently questionnaires have been designed based on inputs of experts.
Owing to the challenges posed by the pandemic, the survey work has faced severe hurdles. As per the current schedule, the survey has started in many states and is likely to be completed in most states by the last week of October 2020.
Photographs courtesy : Rahul Kotiyal