Status of Policing in India Report 2019: Police Adequacy and Working Conditions

Common Cause and Lokniti Programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), launched the Status of Policing in India Report (SPIR) 2019 on the tough working conditions of the police in India at the India International Centre today. The release was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Indian Police and the Rule of Law in Practice.’

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The participants of the panel discussion were Aruna Roy, social activist and founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Prakash Singh, Former DGP, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Border Security Force and Vrinda Grover, human rights lawyer and social activist. The discussion was chaired by Justice Jasti Chelameswar, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India and Former Chief Justice, Kerala and Gauhati High Courts.

The report examines the conditions in which the Indian police function across the country and shines the spotlight on their resources, opinions, experiences and attitudes. The report is based on data analysed from two sources -- official time-series data released by the government agencies to measure state-wise adequacy levels of the State police as well as data from a comprehensive face to face survey of police personnel across 21 major Indian states.

SPIR 2019 is a first of its kind study in India and South Asia, exploring the trying working conditions of police personnel, and the views of their family members, their poor record of gender and social diversity, meagre infrastructure of crime investigation and day to day policing. It is also a nuanced depiction of links between policing and marginalised communities, as well as people-police contact and police violence. Besides a survey of 11,834 police personnel inside police stations across India (20 States and Union Territory of Delhi), the study includes another sample of 10,535 family members of police personnel who were interviewed inside their homes. The surveys were coordinated by a network of academics at the universities and research institutions across India who are part of the Lokniti Programme of the CSDS. 

For the first time the official data has been analysed to show the rates of improvement or decline in the indicators of the performance of police forces over time and on several parameters. Comparisons have also been done state-wise to bring out the variations across India. The report works on the intersections of the official data and direct human contact. The data has been dissected for hidden trends and complemented with human responses. Special care has been taken to involve men and women at the lowest rungs of policing hierarchies and from different social backgrounds.

SPIR 2019 aims to create a comprehensive database on policing in India and highlights the need gaps for policymakers and serious researchers. The display of state-wise variances will hopefully encourage healthy competition among states and their political leaderships.