Police Research and Development?
Soon after taking up her new assignment as DG/ BPR&D, Kiran Bedi sent out a floater to the IndiaTopCops Forum about her intention to make this bureau for research and development a real vessel for precisely that. True to form, the lady’s ability to enthuse and excite proved infectious, and a host of ideas poured in from police officers all over the country - with their own dimension of what should be, what can be!
Among major suggestions – first and foremost the necessity to reflect the research and developmental angle. Research at this bureau hitherto confined to individuals within the organization needs to be made broad based, to make it a platform to those with an academic bent of mind within and without - to all researchers in the country, from the police fraternity or the academic world... for research on police related subjects. An appropriately designed 'proposal format' for people to submit R & D Proposals with focus on research, development, or evaluation/ standardisation of police equipment/ methodologies/ procedures. Not ad hoc, but through proper research acceptable to the community and the legal framework of the country.
Research project proposals to fit one of the categories: for – i) Operational effectiveness: fighting crime, gathering information, intelligence and evidence; ii) effective prosecution: analysis of existing laws, changes required, impact of changes/ new enactments; iii) use of information technology to improve operational efficiency/ effectiveness; iv) Protecting the public: traffic, custody, crime prevention; v) Health and safety: protecting the police in hazardous situations - a totally neglected area currently, a crying need envisaged in the days ahead.
Guidelines for establishing priorities for research proposals - How does it make a difference? Based on a review of factors like: progress/innovation: Operational effectiveness and innovation; Operational impact: how widespread is the need in the community? Risk factor: frequency of potential use or occurrence. Financial implications: resource saving potential/financial cost; Attainability: technical risks and costs; Partnerships: potential for risk and cost sharing, degree of commercial viability; Obviously, projects with potential to save significant resources, those which could be applicable throughout the community, to have higher priority than a project that may protect only a police officer in a hazardous situation that occurs infrequently (though the need for the latter not to be treated lightly). Similarly, protecting the public with a procedure or device against violation of their human rights, or a device that controls high speed chases or in encounter situations within city limits (which unfortunately is not uncommon now in Mumbai and Delhi).
The BPR&D website to be a resource for Indian policing. To benchmark itself with similar sites of police agencies abroad in developed communities. Over a period of time, to aspire to become an e-learning portal for different categories of law enforcers. An archival databank of relevant Commission's Reports, laws etc. to be available; and to incorporate regularly updated resource page/s that allow downloads of common (and frequent) requirements like bare Acts and amendments, research papers/approach papers etc of use to police officers at various levels; and a newsletter that gives briefs on, and links to, cutting-edge research on police subjects, resource institutions/ labs/ websites etc that police officers would find useful. Like what CBI academy’s website has – substantial database comprising of all relevant laws like the PC Act, IT Act etc; a good collection of important case laws, CBI Crime manual, Admin manual… and seven training modules on specialised investigations - Investigation of DA cases, Trap cases, Abuse of official position, Cyber crimes, Special crimes (conventional crimes), Investigation abroad and Investigation of Bank frauds A section for uploading information too, on best practices/ important/ achievements/ etc. - to be moderated for use only by police officers with username /password.
Valuable suggestions from an officer of Tamil Nadu acclaimed for his forward thinking innovative zeal – were to have windows, for: i) Training- where training policies, initiatives are delineated; ii) Research- where research reports and current and future research concerns are accessed; iii) Development- where developments in soft and hard areas of policing are explained and innovations are showcased; iv) Opportunity - where new openings in training, research, development are highlighted; v) Learning: where individual or groups of officers can directly post case studies of success and failure in the police to provide and share learning experience without having to pay the personal and professional cost of such learning.
A word on financing research projects: The business of expecting the Government alone to fund research should be given another thought.
Universities fund research, so do a lot of public Trusts and Foundations. The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation for one and scores of similar. A proposal could be floated to the country's major corporates to fund research - institute specific 'chairs' hosted by established big players, industrial houses, philantropists - be it Infosys, Wipro, Tatas, Birlas, Modis, Bajaj, Mittal, whatever.... Like Bangalore has paved the way in a major example of corporate involvement to improve police infrastructure, there surely will be a flood of involvement if the idea is floated correctly. I can think of no better person to do this effectively, than the current DG/ BPR&D.
Midst the current excitement there is need not to forget or ignore the contributions made to police research and development by the doyens of yester years who steered the destinies of this Central Police Organization since the years of its creation. The union Home Secretary after viewing a presentation on BPR&D recently, is said to have made the right noises on the current proposals. It is hoped the generated excitement is translated into concrete action early – especially in the light of the recent directives of the Supreme Court on police reforms in the Prakash Singh case.
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