Public uneasy in dealing with the police: Study

A significant proportion of the public does not feel at ease in dealing with the police, a study has revealed.

Last Updated: Sep 02, 2010, 21:01 PM IST

Bangalore: A significant proportion of the public
does not feel at ease in dealing with the police, a study has
revealed.

The fear of police probably reflects psychological barriers
which have been nurtured over the years through the conduct of
the police or lack of self-confidence of citizens, according
to the study "Police Work Culture: A Bottom-up Assessment"
conducted by city-based Public Affairs Centre (PAC) at the
request of Karnataka State Police Department.
This is well brought out by the fact that in Eastern Range
which has the largest population of SC/ST members, the
percentage of people not at ease is the highest (66 per cent).
It also perhaps has to do with the low percentage of literacy
(24 per cent literates), Director General of Police Ajai Kumar
Singh said, sharing the study`s findings with reporters.

Even as the study put the percentage of corruption in
police as low, it was fair to point out that low percentages
emerging from the study could be partly due to a
misinterpretation by complainants on definition of a bribe.

Many ordinary citizens are likely to consider paying for
investigation expenses not as a bribe but a legitimate expense
by the police to which they should contribute.

The study highlights a major problem of limited awareness
of citizens about the procedures at the police station
regarding registration (42 per cent), whom to approach (40 per
cent), getting an FIR copy (53 per cent).
Here again the low social and educational status of the
complainant may partly explain this lack of awareness. But as
far as the perfromance of the police station is concerned, it
is clear no proactive steops have been taken to inform and
educate the public about the steps involved in accessing a
police station.

While the study revealed a high degree of loyalty and
trust of police personnel in their department, it also pointed
out to the downside of police culture pertaining to the
rigidity of the internal structure of the department (89 per
cent).A highly hierarchical structure and discipline does not
permit any openness of ideas to float from the filed to top.

On the complainants` side,one of the main problems faced
was to do with the efficiency and responsiveness displayed by
the police when their complaints were being taken,(an average
of 2 1/2 hours for lodging of complaint and four hours to get
the FIR copy.)

While only 47 per cent of complainants indicated full
satisfaction with their interaction with the police, the
satisfaction of police personnel is much higher (89 per cent).
"In fact, public satisfaction will drop significantly if the
feedback of those who failed to get their cases registered is
also taken into account," the study said.

According to the study, there needs to be a better
work-life balance which to some extent can be improved by
filling in sanctioned posts and through better human
resource management.
Part of their dissatisfaction could be dealt with through
better implementation of norms regarding leave compensation.
In a psychological sense, their perfromance could also be
improved by increase in responsiveness to their ideas.

Announcing some of the steps which have been taken or
will be taken in the wake of the study that covered 100
randomly selected police stations, Ajai Kumar Singh said a
toll free number 1800 425 0100 has been installed in the
office of the DG & IGP Bangalore for easy acess for the public
to voice their problems and has been advertised in the media.

Information boards are being put up in front of all police
station in order to assist the public with information that
will help them to register cases or other complaints.

Desks have been installed in District Headquarters to
receive compliants from public who are unable to lodge a
complaint at the police station in their jurisdiction.

To deal with the problem of repeated visits by the public
to the police stations for follow up of their cases, a new
system of holding meetings with the complainants every third
Sunday of the month has been organised in all police stations.

Every station now is reimbursed the expenditure incurred
on investigation of cases. It is therefore unnecessary for the
public to offer funds to the police for investigation of their
cases and this has been widely advertised for the benefit of
the public.

Keeping in mind the workload, all officers have been
instructed to give weekly off to Police Constables, Head
Constables and Assistant Sub-Inspectors.

It is also proposed that Inspectors in-charge (SHOs) of
police stations should hold monthly meetings.

A one-month outbound course for a month has also been
newly initiated for Deputy Superintendents and Superintendents
for which an amount of Rs 40 lakh has been sanctioned by the
state government, Singh said.

PTI