Gurgaon: Police should be seen by the common man as “credible and fair” and if it fails to enforce the law, democracy fails, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval said on Thursday while addressing young police personnel from across the country.
The NSA asked police officials to ensure that impressions, such as the police only serves the privileged, which sully the image of the organisation are removed.
“Law-making is the most sacrosanct job in a democracy. It is not done by an imperial ruler or from the pulpit of a religious leader but by the representatives of the people and you are the enforcers of that law,” he told the gathering.
“If you fail, democracy fails,” Doval said while inaugurating the ‘Third young Superintendents of Police Conference’ organised here by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), a police think-tank under the Union home ministry.
If the police personnel are not able to enforce the law, then framing of that law is immaterial. A law is as good as it is executed on the ground, he said.
The comments by the NSA assume significance in the wake of the recent Delhi riots where the role and effectiveness of the police in controlling the violence has been questioned.
Doval said he had an over 50-year association with policing and intelligence since he joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1968.
“In a democracy, it is extremely important to be totally dedicated to the law. You should be doing things fairly and objectively,” he said, adding it is also important that you are seen as credible.
Doval said perception about the police is important as people tend to latch on to a “stray” abberation involving a wrong policeman and then they think that to be the standard prototype of policemen and that is what Indian police is all about.
“Perception gives confidence to the people, which enhances their trust level and makes their lives psychologically more secure,” he said.
If the common man feels that they have got a police that is efficient, alert, honest, objective, professionally competent and friendly, the society gets a sense that all will be secure, Doval emphasised.
He urged the young police officers to understand the psychology of the people in the place of their posting and work for them sincerely.
The NSA asked them to work for people in the society who feel “most neglected, unprivileged, those who feel there is lack of safety and security for them and who feel that their complaint will never reach the police”.
“You should ‘disabuse’ the people from the impression that police is only there to serve the privileged,” he said at the event.
The NSA said India being “enslaved” for long is sometimes linked to people’s disenchantment with the police.
“Basically, we have been a society which has been enslaved for a very long time and an enslaved society always has a contempt for the people who are in authority and police is an instrument of government which has to enforce the law on the ground, which otherwise is only a scrap of paper,” Doval said.
“Police bring teeth to the law. Since they have to do that unpleasant work and since it is the mindset that the man who enforces the law is the ruler and we are the ruled or the slaves… that brings certain amount of aversion,” he said.
Doval said in a democracy, when people themselves feel politically empowered, which they rightly should feel, they probably like it. This also takes the form of resistance and as part of that one sees police vehicles being put on fire during protests or violence, he said.
“The day the society starts realising that the property of the police or the police vehicles one has burnt is actually people’s money, it will bring about a societal change,” the NSA said.
People will have to realise that it is the police for which they are paying, it is the police which is there to serve their best interests. That realisation will take time, and it has already started, he said.
Doval rued that despite India being a powerful country that has the technology to hit a target in space with an anti-satellite missile or has got plans to go to the moon, does not has “adequate technology for policing in a village or a town”.
There was no dearth of leadership in the police forces, he said and urged the young police officers to innovate and find solutions to new challenges and problems that they face.
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