Humanising Police Bureaucracy

By Prabhakar Timble
02 July 2011 23:53 IST


The dying declaration of a police driver of mental harassment, ill-treatment and abuse by superior officers resulting in suicide should not be viewed as a stray and isolated accident. This is a warning bell for the entire police bureaucracy to take stock of the job stress in the police wing which nurtures insensitivity and culture of violence in dealing with public and fellow officers. A few days back, the recently posted captain of Goa police exhibited the height of intolerance and immaturity saying that the agitation of SC/ST community at Balli was a fit occasion to order firing. The PRO of Police expounded his hypothesis that the agitators were drunk and kept the wounds burning.  A citizen visiting a police station mostly returns with bitter memories.

Painting the police as cold and criminals is the easiest thing to do. At the same time, we should underline that this law enforcement department is the worst victim of job stress. This job stress manifests in alcoholism, divorce, other family problems and suicide. The police force is more vulnerable to these than others.  There may not be a crime documented in the Indian Penal Code which is not committed within the four walls of the police station or outside by these men in uniform. The exposure to violent incidents, mobs, workplace discrimination, job dissatisfaction, lack of cooperation among fellow officers, balancing political pressures, odd and long hours of work and falling in line with corrupt officers are the realities to be endured and managed. Discrimination in promotion, posting and transfer, verbal violence and mental harassment would be more in case of employees falling under the category of women, minorities and lower castes. Most of the times, this depression and anger due to the system itself make the police bureaucracy insensitive to the public and the colleagues at work stations.

The job stress affects personal life and the family stress would definitely bear on the workplace. A lot of issues can fall in place if the police bureaucracy looks at its functioning and delivery mechanism with principles of scientific management and emotional intelligence. Though I understand that stress is inevitable; orientation, re-orientation and training can open the channel of stress management. The minimum expectation is to answer suicide caused directly by insensitive police administration. Even a corrupt police officer does not deserve to die on account of suicide.

I see clearly the need for a human resource management cell for the police administration to humanize the bureaucracy. Employee assistance programmes for police personnel and their families in collaboration with hospitals and professional bodies should be worked out. Recreational activities for personnel and their families would reduce stress levels and boost morale. Professional counseling services for the employees and families is a must for personnel in police department. A police officer suspended pending an investigation for disciplinary action requires to be referred to a counselor as much as any other police officer. It is advisable that police personnel visit counselors at regular intervals instead of camping at houses of politicians. Visiting counselor should be treated as the requirement of the job, not a sign of weakness. The Department of Art & Culture, Govt. of Goa,  has initiated employee counseling at workplace and it is promoting healthy inter-personal relations and enables the employee to solve HR and family problems in a better way. The benefits are visible in the interface of this department with the community.

Such support services for the employees would have saved the lives in the police department. They would have also saved the police officers from media and public bashing. The end objective is to humanize the public-police interaction. The starting point is to make police sensitive to police first. 

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.

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Previous Comments

Nothing will change with Goa Police unless and untill Ravi Naik heads the Home Ministry.Every Goans know that he has given free hand to Police personals specially those who head the Police Stations and various cells to indulge in whatever criminal and corrupt activites they desire and that is the reason criminals in Police uniform sell drugs,openly take bribes ,creat goondagiri in mining belt,murder(Cipriano) as well probably commits robberies across Goa.Check the crimes committed by Goa Police personals during Ravi Naik tenure and rest of former Goa Home Ministers.

- Mario Rebelo, Margao | 05 th July 2011 20:16


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