Outstretched police turn abusive: report

BANGALORE: A UK-based Human Rights Watch, calls for an overhaul of the Indian police system “to make it more human rights friendly”. It has brought out a first-of-its-kind report that documents the stressful and abysmal working conditions of the police beginning from the constable.

The 118 page report — `Broken System: Dysfunction, Abuse and Impunity in the Indian Police’ — was released by the NGO on Tuesday at a seminar on human rights at St Joseph’s College. It documents a range of alleged human rights violations by the police and also states that “police are outstretched and outmatched by criminal elements and are unable to cope with increasing demands and public expectations.”

The report is based on interviews with more than 80 police officers of varying ranks, 60 victims of police abuses, and discussions with experts and civil society activists.

While the NGO states that police who commit or order torture need to be dealt with by law like any average citizen, it also states “abysmal conditions of police officers contribute to violations”.

“Low-ranking officers often work in difficult conditions. They are required to be on call 24 hours a day, every day. Instead of shifts, many work long hours, sometimes live in tents or filthy barracks. Many are separated from their families for long stretches of time. They often lack necessary equipment, including vehicles, mobile phones, investigative tools and even paper on which to record complaints and make notes.”

The NGO has said conditions and incentives for police officers need to change. They should be given resources, training, equipment and encouragement to act professionally and ethically.

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