Police Reforms using Technology – UPSC GS2

  • Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) earmarked about Rs 20,000 crore for the modernisation of police (2017-2020), for schemes such as crime and criminal tracing networks and systems (CCTNS), police wireless and e-prisons, but there is a lack of prioritization of technology.
  • Supreme Court-mandated police reforms of 2006 are not implemented fully in all states.
Implications of inefficient Police:
  • Delays in settlement of criminal, labour and civil disputes. The economic cost is reflected in the reluctance of foreign companies to set up manufacturing and commercial ventures in India.
  • Social implications: As per “Crime in India 2019”, published by the National Crime Records Bureau 25,023 cases of assault on women, 11,966 rape cases and 4,197 “dowry deaths” have been pending trial for five to 10 years.
Why is there a need for technology to enhance the efficiency of police?
  • Overburdened police:
    • Along with prevention and detection of crime and maintenance of law and order, police stations in India undertake numerous daily tasks.
    • For example, providing verifications and no objection certificates of different kinds to citizens. They supply crucial documents too.
    • The Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D) had identified 45 such tasks in 2017.
  • Ease of business:
    • The procedures are non-transparent and timelines are often blurred which encourages corrupt practices.
    • For instance, in Maharashtra, where a former home minister and top police officers, including former Mumbai’s former commissioner, are facing allegations of extortion.
  • Time-bound delivery of services: 
    • The India Justice Report (IJR) 2020 has studied the e-portals of various state police organisations that provide citizen-centric services.
    • Punjab, Himachal, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh seem to be doing well.
    • But, despite the push for digitisation, no state offers complete services.
    • Users face numerous problems of accessibility to these services.
  • Ease of use:
    • The language of e-portals needs attention.
    • IPJ 2020 found that “most sites were available in English or Hindi, but not necessarily in the state language”.
Way forward:
  • E-governance:
    • It can reduce the burden of police officers.
    • User-friendly citizens portals for obtaining passports and driving licences have been game-changers.
  • Improvement in investigation and prosecution: all criminal trials must be completed within a year.
  • More Investment: The IJR 2020 audit confirms that states need to invest more resources to upgrade their e-portals for providing basic services to the citizens.

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