Police–Public Relation: Report on field survey (Oct-Nov.2016) Police Accountability Commission Tripura
Tripura was the first state in the country to have repealed the Indian Police Act 1861 and enacted Tripura Police Act, 2007 in accordance with the sixth direction of the Supreme Court judgement. Tripura Police Accountability Commission (State Police Complaint Authority) started functioning from August 2007 onwards.
Although the Supreme Court judgement does not lay down any direction for outreach efforts of the Commission/Authority,however,PoliceAccountabiliy Commission Tripura has pioneered efforts for Police-Public outreach programs. It has organized around 35-40 awareness programs annually, training workshops, two national seminars, trained law graduates of ICFAI,
made documentary film “Ek Saathe” and also conducted surveys on Police-Public interface/relations. This year a Questionnaire was prepared and given to 47 number of NGOs for inviting public response. A total of 33 NGOs participated and replies from 219 respondents (general members of public) were received. Twenty five questions (Annexure-‘A’) relating to police behaviour, work ethics, FIR registration, providing copy of FIR, arrests, searches, custodial torture, authorities designated for redressal of complaints etc were circulated. (It needs to be clarified that this is purely a Commission-NGOs’-Public exercise with no participation of anyone in the police hierarchy or any police station).
Responses recorded were as follows:
1. 90% of the respondents have visited police stations.
2. 90% of the respondents recorded that the police stations were reasonably neat and clean.
3. More than 95% stated that the uniform of the policemen was presentable.
4. Around 92% said that Mahila police was seen in the police stations.
5. The conduct of the police officers with reference to their attitude towards complainants/victims was very positive, the percentage being 95%.
6. 75% respondents said that police recorded their FIRs/complaints immediately while 25% hesitated, delayed and also denied. Complaints generally not recorded relate to mobile loss, some women-related cases, vehicle damage, domestic quarrels, street-fighting and such others.
7. 75% affirmed that a copy of FIR/GD reference was readily given.
8. Only 18.5% of the replies state that the police recorded the FIR at the place of occurrence.
9. The response of the police with regard to serious/heinous offences has been appreciated by the general members of the public. 85% of them confirmed that the police had arrived/acted promptly.
10. More than 85% mentioned that police patrols had been regularly seen by them in their concerned areas.
11. Only 20% replies indicate that local police have visited/spoken to senior citizens and enquired about their wellbeing/grievances.
12. Local police providing a copy of arrest memo to the accused has been confirmed by only 50% of the respondents.
13. Seizure memo being given after search/seizure has been noticed by only 20%.
14. In as far as cases of custodial torture, only 8% were aware/heard of any such incident.
15. Only 25% of the members of public have given advanced intimation to the local police regarding likely breach of peace, illegal and anti-social activities or crime-related information.
16. The local police took help of only 33% of the respondents for crime prevention, investigation or intelligence collection.
17. In as far as ‘PRAYAAS’ meetings are concerned, only 47% remember of ‘PRAYAAS’ meetings being held in their areas.
18. Knowledge regarding designated authorities who can be approached for relief from illegal search/arrest, custodial torture was limited to 5% only.
19. 63% respondents were aware of the existence and the functioning of Police Accountability Commission. 71% of these confirmed that police-public awareness programs have been held by the Police Accountability Commission in their respective areas.
20. 83% replied that the performance of the state police has reasonably improved since the enactment of Tripura Police Act, 2007.
21. A response was sought from the members of the public grading the police on a scale of 10. The replies grade them at 7.3. Thus overall performance of Tripura Police can be rated at 73% of satisfaction level.
The Commission had asked for suggestions from the respondents on the subject. The best three suggestions are as follows:
First: Not only the police but the public should also adhere to the law of the land. Violation of law should not be taken as a status symbol by the public. An attitudinal change is required at the cutting-edge of police administration for improved end-user satisfaction.
Second: The initiative of the Police Department in launching sms/whatsapp services is indeed laudable. Helplines relating to women and child are indeed helpful. It should, however, be ensured that it works on 24 x7 basis. Another helpline for senior citizens is the need of the hour.
Third: The present uniform of the Indian Police continues to be Khaki. This is reminiscent of British Colonial mindset and needs to be changed at the earliest.