UP Police! clean up your 'Thanas' first, commissionerate system later
Lucknow: A lot of animosity is being brewed up between IAS and IPS fraternities in Uttar Pradesh over appointment of station officers in the districts. It has been despite the fact that Police Regulation Act and Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) provide certain powers to district magistrates over appointment of police station incharges.
The fresh row between the two in the state is likely to snowball into another battle over long-pending demand of UP police to have commissionerate system in the state like we have in Mumbai , Pune, Bengaluru and some other places. The IPS cadre is peeved off over the attitude of its 'big brother' i.e IAS bureaucracy over this issue as they charge the latter has always been scuttling the claim.
Now a million dollar question- did the Uttar Pradesh police deserve it. You study it, observe it and experience it and conclude that it os a nig NO. UP Police is not yet ready for it yet .
Let us elucidate the pros and cons of the mega-decision without going into the merit or demerit of police commissionerate system prevailing in other places. It has been no secret that the entire bureaucracy ( police in this case) is highly politicised, witnessed most at the THANA level. Every single Station Officer (SO) or Station House Officer (SHO) is posted on the basis of political leanings, caste and above all the money.
The rampant corruption coupled with uncalled for arrogance( misbehaviour can be understatement ) at UP police stations has been order of the day. ''The SOs or SHOs have virtually converted themselves into islands with high degree of capricious attitude and more than often giving a damn to superiors,'' a senior IAS officer says adding '' let IPS cadre being able to control the thana before espousing the cause of police commissionerate.''
The apprehension is real because the UP Police Stations have not done anything worthwhile to deserve punitive and other powers in the form of commissionerate system , at least in UP. Can we take the risk of making SOs more powerful and power wieldy despite a plethora of complaints we receive everyday about corrupt and rude police stations.
It will be pertinent to mention, though unrelated, about 55-year old observation of Allahabad High Court in which a judge had equated the police force to an organised gang of criminals. Half a century passed since then but the situation remains the same giving a food of thought to all those who clamour for more powers to police, particularly in Uttar Pradesh ( Here we are talking about UP ).
Yes! we have to move forward and sooner or later this system of policing may be introduced in Uttar Pradesh but not before the police administration will have to keep its house in order or under check. UP is not yet ready for such police reforms despite all the rosy tweets and all those image-building posts on social media. Remember, police stations are unit of policing and they should be cleaned up first-sadly they are not upto the mark so let us wait for some time.