Stagnant Police Force Stinking Up Morale

It bothers me when I read only negative reports about the Delhi Police. Yes, there are elements which are corrupt. Yes, they are boorish, lacking the courtesy of the British Bobby. And yes, they are no match for the police officers we see on Crime Scene Investigation.

But despite all this, the larger percentage that makes up the force consists of people like you and me, working to their best ability in the job they have. It would be difficult to be urbane and empathetic for me too, if I had been working round-the-clock shifts, not seeing my family for days on end, dealing with the worst face of society. And on top of that, if I knew that I was in a dead end job, what motivation would I have to respond above and beyond the call of duty?

The educational qualifications of people joining as sub inspectors is going up – you have management graduates and even doctors and engineers joining up. So why isn’t the quality of the force improving? Because the majority of the force is de-motivated and stifling under extremely indifferent cadre management.

I started working as a reporter in 1995 and by the time I quit in 2010, I had got six promotions and been the editor of a daily and the deputy editor of a news channel. In the Delhi Police today, there are more than 170 inspectors who have not got a single promotion since 1994. Can you imagine the frustration of being in the same rank for almost 20 years?

The law says that they became eligible for their promotion to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police after three years of service as inspectors. They should get at least three promotions during their career. But in the case of most of the inspectors, this will not happen. The last Pay Commission was compassionate to their case and allowed for a pay grade increase after a specified number of years of service. But no promotions. Why? Because there are no vacancies.

This ‘no vacancies’ excuse, however, does not apply for the IPS cadre. As the number of IPS officers looking for promotions increased, so did the posts. In 1994, there were nine police districts headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police rank officer. Today, there are 12 districts with an Additional Commissioner of Police rank officer doing the job. Over the last decade or so, the new posts of Joint Commissioners of Police and Special Commissioners of Police have been created to take care of the career progression of the IPS.

Why can’t the same be done for the Inspector cadre? Why can’t present posts be upgraded as in the case of the IPS cadre, and why can’t new posts be created?

Proposals to this effect are pending and there is also a directive from the Central Administrative Tribunal giving the Delhi Police six months to set its house in order. Let’s hope that action is taken by those concerned and we are able to finally get a police force that is willing to serve us better because they are better taken care of.

Soni Sangwan has reported on Delhi-warts and all- for several years. She is now a Journalist-in-Retirement, dividing her time between watching her two-year-old daughter grow and seeing the city she loves evolve
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