Addressing senior police personnel in Guwahati Prime Minister Modi said that his government would introduce smart policing. He said: “By ‘SMART’ policing, I mean S for strict but sensitive, M for modern and mobile, A for alert and accountable, R for reliable and responsive and T for techno-savvy and trained,” This certainly was smart phrase making. Whether it will lead to smart policing remains to be seen.
Contrast Mr. Modi’s vision of smart policemen with ground reality to assess whether he will succeed.
Mr. Modi’s visionary smart, sensitive, modern, reliable and techno-savvy policeman will have to emerge from the prevailing system in which poor rural youth pay a substantial bribe to get recruited to the police force. Their first priority after getting employment is to earn the money through petty extortion to pay back the loan with which they paid their bribes to get recruited. It is this underpaid, badly housed, badly trained police force from which Mr. Modi’s dream policeman must emerge.
Meanwhile Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh rightly emphasized the danger to India from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He said: “Though ISIS is born in Iraq and Syria…the Indian subcontinent is not outside its radar, especially as some Indian youths are also getting attracted towards it…the ISI of Pakistan is also involved in destabilizing India… I have seen in Israel how high-tech is being used to tackle cyber crime… the Israeli PM … is willing to help India.” It is good that the Israeli PM is willing to help, Home Minister. But before taking his help how about India helping itself? To fight terror by all means utilize high-tech but do not ignore simple systemic reform that could enormously help check terrorism.
This writer reiterates his oft made suggestion that a new primary level of the police force should be introduced to function directly under the executive of the local mohalla or village body. Local people are best positioned to spot any suspicious movement or entry of strangers in their locality. The central and state police should establish internet connectivity for two way information exchange with each local body across the nation. This would provide a powerful data base to monitor terrorist threats and the creation of any terrorist sleeper cells. The government does not need any foreign expertise to introduce such reform that would greatly enhance police intelligence. Why cannot the government think out of the box and act?
For Mr. Modi to realize his dream of creating a SMART police force he has to get REAL. By that this writer means R for radical, E for energetic, A for active and L for long-lasting. REAL!