The police has always had its own unique image in the minds of the public. There is an old saying about police in Hindi which is very popular among the people ‘n inki dosti achhi, n inki dushmani achhi’ (neither friendship with police is good nor animosity). This proverb, in fact, expresses the opinion of public about the police.
It is true that the police has not been able to make its place in the heart of the people so that they can be revered by the common people as their protector. Then the bitter truth is also that they have not made much effort to improve their image and change the mindset of the public towards the police. After all whatever police does, it does to protect the people of the country and to maintain the law and order so that peace can prevail in the society. Then what are the reasons behind the lack of trust between public and police ? Why the common people is still hesitant to befriend with their ‘protector’ ?
The answer to the above question is not very difficult to find. Corruption, non- cooperational behaviour in some cases, etc. are some of the many reasons of the uncomfortable relation between public and police. For example, if a victim of sexual assault goes to police to file an FIR, there are a lot of insensitive questions are asked to her which she may not be able to answer with comfort. The sheer humiliation in the society is one of the reasons of less reporting of such heinous crime. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report of 2006, about 71% of rape crimes go unreported. This does not happen only in India. A UN study of 57 countries estimates just 11% of rape and sexual assault cases worldwide are ever reported. However, because of the increasing awareness in the society, the number of cases being reported are increasing day by day. The hesitation to report case is not only limited to the victims of sexual assault. After being robbed if a person goes to file the complain then police starts to interrogate the victim itself initially. This is the reason that many people avoid going to the police.
The other big demerit in the police system is corruption. Because of the widespread roots of corruption in police system, wealthy and powerful people think that they are above the law and they can do whatever they want. Exploitation of weaker section of the society is an easy job for them. They think that they can get away easily after any wrongdoings. The support of corrupt police officers to these anti-social elements widens the lack of trust between public and police.
It would be injustice to the police if i would say that each and every police personnel is corrupt, uncooperative and disrespectful. If any police personnels tries to do good for the society and earn the trust of the people and hence shorten the gap of mutual trust and respect by bridling those anti-social elements who are threat to the society then political pressure from big politicians to the honest officers proves to be the last nail in the coffin. Honest police officers are threatened by the powerful politicians, who are the saviors of these high profile criminals, of transfer-posting of the place or service. If they still stick to their honesty then either their department is changed or they posted somewhere else or they are forced to resign. So the nexus of criminal, corrupt police personnels and the corrupt politicians need to be rooted out in order to create a growing, peaceful society and to develop a friendly public-police relations.
In these challenging times of Corona pandemic, we have already witnessed the human aspect of police personnels where they not only do their duty by keeping their life at stake but they have also seen feeding the hungry and unprivileged people, migrant labourers, students and pilgrims who were stuck away from their home in lockdown. In some cases they even spent their own money for the treatment and food of the poor. This has increased the respect immensely for the police in common people. We can never laud enough for their benevolent job that they do. In return, the least we can do is to respect them and their family too.
The humanitarian behaviour of police in modern times strengthens the idea that the friendly relationship between public and police is not something which is unachievable and it is not far away.
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