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More than half of police officers in Punjab “are depressed”, a Vidhan Sabha committee has reported while noting that their duty hours are long because they get “irritated”.
As a remedy, the committee has suggested that there is a great need for police officers to undergo “meditation”. It has also recommended simplifying the process of authorizing permits for police officers “as it was very complicated and if there is any domestic problem they do not get permits” and “lower officials felt that they were not being listened to.” .
The report was presented by the Vidhan Sabha’s evaluation committee in the House recently.
The report states that manpower issues at police stations will be addressed and the duty hours of each employee will be adjusted. The committee was told that there was a penal strength of 34,867 in police stations against which 23,216 officers were posted. Reasons given by department officials for reduced manpower in police stations included “police family work”, “increase in litigation”, “establishment of special branches in districts” and “tremendous increase in paperwork”. The department said it was working on recruitment for the district police and would address the problem of manpower shortage in police stations in the future.
The report suggested that detectives who will be posted at women’s police stations, which cater specifically to marital disputes, should be calm and should be counseled themselves first so that they can reach reconciliation between two families. “But on the ground, it has been observed that approaches (between husband and wife who are in dispute) were affected (at such police stations) by causing fear and intimidation, leading to renewed clashes”.
Regarding hate speech, the commission recommended that appropriate action be taken against anyone who “engages in hate speech against religion first and then demands security”.
The committee said, “It has come to light that CID and Secret Service officials have been sitting in one place for up to 10 years and ended up in the hands of miscreants. They should move out between six months and one year. High-ranking officials will be deported, but lower-ranking officials such as police officers are not. We have to move officials at the grass root level, only then these problems could be addressed. High-ranking officials are only supposed to issue orders, but the actual work must be done by grassroots officials. So the committee wants transfers at that level. This will make a big difference.”
Regarding the court case inquiry, when asked how responses to defendant’s pleadings/statements (jawab dawa) were prepared, the committee was told that “no attorney for the state has prepared responses to the pleadings” and instead directed to “go to so and so lawyer”. The committee was told that to prepare the draft, officials had to approach private lawyers who “demanded Rs 5000 to 10000 more”.
It further noted, “A department official said there was an even bigger problem at the time of the inspection. The committee was told that at the grassroots level, officers sometimes did not claim refunds as “they don’t know the paperwork” and which had resulted in the budget allocation for the same falling in the last two years.
Other key recommendations
* Inquiries made by any department of the department should be completed in a timely manner and inquiry report received by the competent authority within a maximum of six months. If the inquiry is to take longer, the approval of the competent authority must be obtained by justifying the delay.
* Inquiries pertaining to disputes and controversies should be concluded within 60 days by ensuring that witnesses record their statements in a timely manner.
* Security cameras installed in central jails across districts of Punjab should be reviewed and as required, latest cameras will be installed.
* The amount of fuel used in a vehicle in each wing, district or police station shall be determined and should be subject to review every year. The committee should also inform about the judicious use of fuel by officials.
* Promotions in the police should be carried out strictly according to the rules and not by anyone’s whims and ideas.
* Strict action will be taken against any police officer/employee who consumes drugs on duty and misbehaves with the public.
* Scrap vehicles and those related to discarded cases should be immediately auctioned.