Dragging its feet on reforms

Updated: Jan 22 2007, 05:30am hrs
While the Andhra Pradesh government takes great pride in saying it was the first state to obtain ISO 9001 certification for its spanking new police stations, when it comes to police reforms, the state resists tooth and nail. This, despite the Supreme Court ruling on implementing police reforms on schedule. According to highly placed sources in the home department, the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to wait and watch for now. "We are awaiting the Supreme Court directives for further action," a senior official told FE. Sources said political leaders had reservations about implementing police reforms. For example, the government has a problem with constituting a state security commission, since it has to appoint the opposition party leader as one of its five members. Also, the police would report to the commission thus reducing the importance of the cabinet, home minister and the chief minister. Sources said the government had already moved the file to constitute the commission.

Similarly, the government is also against a fixed tenure for the director-general of police (DGP) as it would hamper the promotional prospects of subordinate officers. It may lead to demoralisation of the cadres, a senior official said. However, with regard to other recommendations like the constitution of a police establishment board, the government says that it has already constituted a police recruitment board, which is looking exclusively at recruitment, training and promotional aspects. About the proposed police complaints authority, the officials point out that the state has already established a state human rights commission, which is expected to look into complaints from the public about police excesses.

Hence, there is no further need to establish a separate complaints authority, they argue. On the issue of separating investigation duties from law and order, the officials said the state has already implemented this right down to the police station level.