The police in Karnataka show a marked improvement as the government's initiatives to streamline the force begin to yield results.in Bangalore
WHEN Karnataka's Director General of Police and Inspector General of Police Ajai Kumar Singh announced at a recent function that in 2009 no civilians were killed either in police firing or in naxalite attacks, he was underlining the fact that the police force in the State had had a satisfying year.
No doubt, the police force could do with more professionalism, less interference from its political masters and an enhanced morale, especially among the lower echelons. But things have certainly begun to look better. Various facets of training have improved and rules are followed meticulously. In short, pride in policing has received a boost with police personnel becoming more effective, efficient and people-friendly.
These and similar thoughts were echoed by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa when he spoke to Frontline. He said the globalised world presented enormous opportunities for India and Karnataka in particular. In the past decade Bangalore had come to be known as the information technology (IT) capital of India, with even successive American Presidents referring to the city in their speeches, he said.
Karnataka is a rapidly developing State and my government's mantra is development. We are striving hard to bring the fruits of development to all the people of Karnataka. For this to happen people must have a sense of security. The Police Department is charged with the responsibility of providing the people with this security. But to enable the Police Department to function effectively and efficiently, upholding the rule of law, we have to create the right environment and provide them with men, material and skills to achieve this, he said
Towards this end, the government has taken numerous steps. It sanctioned 30 civil and five traffic police stations in the past two and a half years and purchased 2,766 new vehicles for the police force in the past year. It gave approval for the appointment of 15,568 constables, and the process of recruiting 4,070 of them is currently on. Also, 611 sub-inspectors were recruited.
The Yeddyurappa government has enhanced the powers of police officers of various ranks for a more effective utilisation of budget provisions. This year, the budget of the Police Department has been increased by 23 per cent instead of the usual 10 per cent for the past many years. Funds have been sanctioned for specialised training of police officers. This includes soft skills training for policemen of lower rank and courses in the Indian Institutes of Management for senior officers.
According to the Chief Minister, a number of public-centric initiatives have been taken up by the Police Department in a bid to reach out to the public and establish a rapport with them, which in turn will help in the maintenance of communal harmony, law and order, and prevent and detect crimes.
The government's initiatives to boost the morale of the police force have led to better service delivery. The government has allocated Rs.20 crore in the budget to defray the cost of investigations. In an effort to improve the general well-being of policemen, the annual grant-in-aid for welfare measures has been enhanced from Rs.50 lakh to Rs.1 crore.
To address the controversial issue of political interference in determining postings, the government set up the Police Establishment Board in August 2009. It handles promotions, postings and transfers up to the rank of deputy superintendents. The Chief Minister said the Police Department had evolved a transparent, automated and largely efficient system of recruitment, which so impressed Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram that he recommended that other States study the Karnataka model.
The Chief Minister emphasised that the Department made use of technology to maximise efficiency. Computers have been installed in all offices and police stations, with the software to network these computers in the final stages of installation.
Yeddyurappa said the Karnataka police had initiated steps for gender sensitisation with help from UNICEF and private players in an effort to change the attitudes of both the police personnel and the public at large.