The country’s People-to-Police ratio is witnessing a change leading to the number of cops per one lakh population fast approaching the figures being reported in many countries of the West. The not-so-subtle point to be noted is that the world’s second most populous country is on the cusp of having the second most, if not the world’s most, number in the Police force. The factors contributing to this exchequer-draining feature have not been meaningfully debated in any forum. From a lay person’s understanding of the matter, the sequence of law-makers adding to the already-in-force God-knows-how-many laws in the land year-on-year, increasing the numerical strength of the country’s Police force to implement the laws, and most importantly the bulging of the sections in the country’s population violating every law with disdain giving the cops a run for the outlay to meet their wages is well-defined. The citizens as a mix of law-abiding and law-violating entity don’t seem to be sensitive about the unrewarding spend on maintaining the growing army of Police.
Mysureans in their advanced age can recollect the unattractive attire of the personnel until the beginning of 1970s and also the dilapidated and ramshackle buildings of the Police Stations, not to forget their fire arms of a last century, all adding to a none-too-flattering public image of the cops. All that has changed for the better lately but there are other points relating to Police force with the citizenry that await ironing out.
Even as the people are posing challenges to law-keeping fraternity by not maintaining orderly conduct in both scale and diverse ways, the old unified Police Department has branched off into sections that call for distinct actions such as nabbing those committing serious crimes like murder, disciplining urbanites commuting on their automobiles, implementing uncomplicated laws such as riding two-wheelers wearing helmet, crowd control using minimal force and so on. These branches of law and order, crime, traffic, intelligence and so on, each with far less number of staff than needed to meet various contingencies created by unruly sections in society mirror the conflict between cops and citizens.
Not to have laws as integral part of administration and lawlessness are different kettles of fish. Catching the offending flock and levying penalties by deploying personnel has turned out to be a lost cause for the Police. In this context, the measure taken by the chief of the force in Mysuru to make traffic cops People-friendly is to be lauded. If the motorists change their ways to be Police-friendly, the day is done for both.
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