is I believe a growing discomfort within police organizations
of today. Contrary to popular belief, more and more policemen
are shying away from the much sought after, high profile, public
interactive and 'lucrative' postings, and opting for less important,
non-controversial positions. The popular term in vogue like in
most departments government, is just to "time pass!"
Ever heard of over-reacting? ….enough to be one's own worst
enemy? …being victims of one's own adverse image?
perhaps is one among the major problems confronting the police,
knawing at the core of its very structure! And sadly, there isn't
an agency - government or academic, or a social scientist in our
country, concerned or interested, to make it a subject of study,
an area for research and remedy.
police themselves are too busy to be bothered, or to study the
rot setting in. There are too many of those pulling strings even
now for the District and Traffic postings as compared to those
who don't, so why care! For the police unfortunately, it is a
matter of crisis management daily, as one day rolls into another.
No time for any long term perspective; enough to just survive
for today, in the belief that tomorrow will take care of itself.
the police aware of what's happening? What is affecting its rank
and file? Leading to each going his/her own way - to survive the
day? Individually, each cunning enough, shrewd and contriving,
along the way? With rampant reliance on short cuts, and an eagle's
eye for opportunities for a fast buck! …why not! To hell
with ethics, the requirements of the job, or those of the department;
of the service expected, or the over all interests of the victim
or the victimized, the robbed, oppressed or the distressed.
crisis of identity, a crisis of attitude, a crisis of image!
police are perceived as a bad lot! …and so, no wonder much
aligned! The ones at the cutting edge levels, never doing the
right in people's eyes - at least in the eyes of those that matter,
or give it its image. And then, however can the media sell itself
without badgering and maligning!
the rot that's setting in? ….an acquiescence, or resignation
to an inevitable fate. Kind of "…why should I bother.
Whether I perform or not, I am at fault! If I do not get results,
I am incompetent, inefficient! ….if I act, and correctly,
the boss has no guts to stand by me! Depending on whose toes I
have trod on, whose interests I have harmed, or who is hurt, and
what is the clout behind him, determines my fate. So why at all
venture, why at all bother! Let me not stretch my neck beyond
limits that are comfortable, and let me make my buck wherever
it's possible!" That, I believe, is the predominant motto,
across the board!
in all this, what is the role of those at the higher levels? …those
who supervise and Lord over the ones at the cutting edge levels?
I'd say there is also the crisis of total "institutionalized
cowardice" all around, especially at these managerial rungs.
Are the police finally the victims of their own image?
aware of the weaknesses in the system - be they systemic or human,
the police hierarchy tends to believe the worst, at the sufferance
of truth or facts - especially about their own rank and file.
All that one has to do today is to point a finger at the police
- rightly or wrongly, and the tendency within the police management
is to believe the worst! Resulting in the whole exercise turning
'inquisitorial' rather than 'accusatorial' as it ought to be!
The onus of proof shifting totally to the one in the police alleged
of misdemeanor, and not on the one pointing the finger needing
to prove. It is, "believed to be guilty, until proven innocent,"
if it's a policeman that is alleged against! And who else better
placed to point fingers, than the media! For the upper echelons
within the police, it is safer to believe and victimize the subordinate!
Institutionalized cowardice, nothing less!
my mind the rot set in the day one of the erstwhile police chiefs
thought it wise strategy to feed and leak to the media his dressing
down asking the officers and men to "pull up their socks"
- and the press lapped it! Good masala for the columns, positive
publicity for the chief! An in house matter cunningly contrived
to be made public, with mutual scratching of backs. This media
scoop of one, positively bettered by those that followed, to make
it the order of the day. No concern to the demoralizing impact
on the force or its officers. The art of self survival at the
cost of running down subordinates and their actions.
is danger round the corner, of a backlash from the rank and file,
over the 'political correctness' sought to be practiced by superiors
in their dealings in matters concerning subordinates and their
interests. Or in the matter of applying the same standards of
conduct equally to all sections within the organization. It is
high time the Indian Police take heed from a recent study in England
by Sir Bill Morris on race and sex discrimination within the police,
whose focus though different, nevertheless addresses candidly
the growing problems of institutionalized cowardice within the
Metropolitan Police Agency.
words: 21.12.2004: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23,
Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and email@example.com
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