Although policing in TN ranks higher than many other States, there is scope for improvement in the work space, find status of policing report.
“Police reforms should be taken seriously by this government,” advised D Mukherjee, former DGP of Tamil Nadu. He disagrees with the suggestion of some experts to bring State policing under the central government saying, “It will destroy the federal structure of the country and the State government will stop taking accountability for solving the local law and order problems of the State.” Mahendra Reddy, DGP, Telangana, said, “World over the police force is localised, under local and regional administration.”
SPIR 2019 is also the first of its kind in India and South Asia, where close to 12,000 police personnel were surveyed inside police stations or at their residences across India (21 States), including an additional sample of 10,595 of their family members, in order to get a holistic picture. This study also uses official data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) to construct the big picture of policing and its resources in the States and to show the need gaps in various vital areas.
Where Tamil Nadu stands
Although the police work force strength is significantly lower than sanctioned, as per the last published government data (2016), Maharashtra has the highest total actual strength (2,25,475) followed by Uttar Pradesh (1,98,919) with Tamil Nadu in third position (1,28,197). Tamil Nadu had the highest representation of women at 12.9 per cent of workforce, compared to 7.3 per cent at the National level in 2016. Mukherjee is expecting the percentage of women in the workforce to move up drastically with the government relaxing the norms for women to meet the requirements of the physical tests. In the past, women were not able to clear the physical tests of the recruitment process. “Our police force has the highest percentage of women in the country,” said J K Tripathy, DGP, Tamil Nadu. “It is the common people on the street that should say how good is the police in Tamil Nadu, not police officers. Tamil Nadu police is one of the best in India. Modernisation of the State police is an ongoing process in the State.”
While the police in India worked at 77.4 per cent of its sanctioned capacity, Tamil Nadu worked with an overall strength of 84.4 per cent of the sanctioned strength, with a constabulary strength of 85.4 per cent against sanctioned, and was ranked six. Officer strength (ASI to DGP level) stood at 76.5 per cent against sanctioned, thus making it approximately 9.3 constables per officer (Padmanabhaiah Committee on Restructuring of Police recommended in the year 2000 that the teeth-to-tail, or the officer-to-constabulary ratio should be 1:4). “Looking back, constable recruitment was decentralised with the monthly recruitment by the SPs, starting at the district level till 1979, when CM MGR brought in a centralised recruitment system for the State police. But an IG in the DG’s office was trying to bring in people of his community. Then on complaints, MGR halted the process and no recruitment happened for four years, till the system was modified. In 1991, CM J Jayalalithaa formed the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Service Recruitment Board (TNUSRB) for this purpose that continues till today. The backlog of those days has cascaded over the years since then, “added former DGP Mukherjee.
Delhi and Kerala topped the list, with the actual strength at 98.3 per cent and 97.9 per cent of their respective sanctioned strength. The largest State in India, Uttar Pradesh turns out to be the worst, with its police force functioning at 48 per cent of its capacity, less than half its total sanctioned strength.
“There is a definite need for police reforms. There is no single aspect but many factors that need to be taken into account for this. It is the police leadership within the police force that has to bring about this reform.” said Reddy
As per the report, in a survey across 22 Indian States, 70 police stations do not have access to any wireless devices, 214 police stations do not have access to a single telephone, and 24 police stations have access to neither wireless nor telephones. Tamil Nadu reported no such case.
A challenge that must be addressed is that of basic resources such as drinking water and clean toilets, as one in 10 police stations or units do not have proper drinking water facilities and one in five has no access to clean toilets, even today.
The average expenditure on police training in India is dismally low, amounting to just a little over one per cent of the total police expenditure-budget. Tamil Nadu, ranked 5 in the list, was placed better with expenditure on training amounting to 1.93 per cent, nearly double the national average, but falling behind Delhi at 2.49 per cent, Telangana 2.42 per cent, Chhattisgarh 2.09 per cent, and Madhya Pradesh 1.96 per cent, taking the 2012–2016 average.
Over 37 per cent of police personnel are willing to quit for another profession, if given a chance.
Gautam Sawang, DGP, Andhra Pradesh, said, " There is an absolute need of the hour for police reforms, going by the pace of transformation and the expectations on the ground, that is putting a lot of pressure on the police, be it training, proper orientation, and also in terms of delivery expectations from police.”
Work culture and stress factors
Use of harsh and bad language by senior officers was quite common, and two out of five in the police force, reportedly experienced it. Over 25 per cent of the respondents in the SPIR survey said junior staff was being used to run personal/household chores.
About a third of the family respondents also agreed with the statement that compared to others, more police officers are badly behaved with family, and are more prone to alcoholism. Seventy-five per cent of police personnel agree that the workload is making it difficult for them to do their job well, with 80 per cent families reporting partial or complete agreement with the statement that policing is a very stressful job, 37 per cent reported too much work as the main reason for stress.
“Working hours in Tamil Nadu generally are normal, leave applications are seldom refused. Going beyond the prescribed eight-hour duty is only seasonal and only on some days it can stretch depending on some emerging situation. During CM Jayalalithaa’s reign a lot of extra perks were rolled out for them,” said Mukherjee.
Although policing is a State subject, most of the State Police Acts are influenced either by the central archaic Police Act of 1861 or the Model Police Act of 2006.
Adding to this problem is the lack of adequate recreation or rejuvenation - more than 50 per cent of the family members responded that they hadn’t gone on a holiday, and over 40 per cent reported, not having visited relatives out of town, and more than two third of the respondents among family members said they have not gone for a religious pilgrimage in the past two to three years.
On the housing front, 58 per cent of the respondents among the family members reported being satisfied with the government provided housing quarters. Many complained of the small size of the house (23 per cent), poor maintenance (19 per cent) and inadequate facilities (14 per cent).
While everyone agrees that reform is critical, it is not clear where it should begin. “Commitment to reform depends 90 per cent on the police leadership within and the rest 10 per cent on external factors,” said Reddy.
- The police in India work at 77 % of its sanctioned strength
- Over the last five years, on an average, only 6.4 % of the police force have been provided in-service training
- Delhi and Kerala functioned at 98.3 % and 97.9 % of their respective sanctioned strength. The largest State in India, UP turns out to be the worst at 48 %
- About 240 police stations across the 22 States have no access to vehicles
- Representation of SCs, STs, OBCs and women in the police is poor, with huge vacancies in the reserved positions
- SCs, STs, OBCs and women are less likely to be recruited/posted at officer-level ranks than general police personnel
- On the salary front, 51 % of police personnel feel that their salary is at par with the kind of work they do
- Vacancies in the senior ranks are higher than vacancies at the constabulary ranks
- Senior police officers are much more likely to receive in-service training than the constabulary-level personnel. ASI/SI, DSP (Deputy Superintendent) and IPS ranks, 17 %, 27.2 % and 38.3 % personnel respectively received in-service training
- While incidence of transfer of SSPs and DIGs in less than two years has declined significantly since 2007, as of 2016, at the all India level 12 per cent officers of the ranks have been transferred in less than two years
- Across 22 States, 70 police stations do not have access to wireless devices, 214 police stations do not have access to telephones, and 24 police stations have access to neither
- Tamil Nadu ranks 10 at 84.2 per cent (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems CCTNS) compliance score* as of December 2018
- As against an average of 6 computers per police station across India, Tamil Nadu had only 4.6. Delhi had 16.5, Haryana 12.6, Kerala 10.1 on the higher side, with Bihar being at the lowest at 0.6, Assam at 0.7, Jharkhand at 3.1 and Andhra Pradesh at only 3.7
- Tamil Nadu has the third largest police force of over 1. 2 lakh
- The state had the highest representation of women at 12.9 per cent, compared to 7.3 per cent women police personnel at the national level, as per last published government information, 2016
- Barring exceptions of Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand, in almost all the states, officers with a higher rank are given significantly more in-service training and the in-service training for constables is neglected
- Tamil Nadu and Haryana have the highest in-service training percentages, with about one in five personnel from both States being provided in-service training. In Tamil Nadu 20.2 per cent of total police personnel are given in-service training, with 44.2 per cent for constables, 108.7 for ASI and SI level, 8.2 for DSP, and 21.2 per cent for IPS officers. Gujarat has the poorest average with less than one per cent of its personnel having received such training in five years