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Need for proper utilisation of police resources

Curbing of expenditure by officers would help in redistributing the available resources to improve the efficiency of the force, feels Prashant Pandey

Many of the ills of policing in the Capital are often attributed to overworked manpower as well as lack of financial resources at the grassroots. While enhancing the budget may be the obvious solution, curbing of expenditure by officers at the higher level may help in redistributing the available resources to improve the efficiency of the force. It will also help the officers in forging stronger bonds with their subordinates.

Men and officers at the police station level say that they are practically always on the move during their duty hours. If not attending to a call, they could be in the court for hearing of various cases. Otherwise, they would be on a picket checking vehicles. At other times, they are busy with investigation. And, if nothing else, then they are supposed to be patrolling.

All this while, they often use their own vehicles and the allowance for fuel is not more than a couple of hundreds of rupees a month. The amount is not enough and ultimately they are forced to pay from their own pocket.

This, they claim, is something no one is ready to do. And, in due course, it is explained as one of the factors giving way to corruption. Further, they add, their morale -- and ultimately policing -- is affected due to such everyday problems.

The other problem is lack of manpower at police stations that makes for an overworked staff. Statistics have shown that the presence of policemen per person in the Capital is quite low compared to some of the better police forces across the world. What adds to their woes is that the official population under a certain police station can be quite low from the actual population. In some of the police stations, the difference between the official and the actual population can be as high as 50 per cent.

These are just two of the many problems that the well-meaning at the lower level face. To deal with these and other problems, the Bureau of Police Research and Development has already recommended provision of adequate resources and good remuneration.

But implementation of these recommendations is still nowhere in sight. It is in this context that some austerity measures, as it were, need to be exercised by the officers.

There is no denying that the officers need certain services and privileges to be able to function with ease and coordinate with their subordinates as well as higher ups. However, there are certain aspects where the expenditure can be curbed.

For instance, officers spend quite a huge amount on renovation of their offices. And this is true of the offices at Police Headquarters as well as those in the field. The amount spent on renovation often depends on the taste of the officer. If the officer is transferred within a few months of renovating that particular office, the new incumbent does not necessarily allow the set-up to continue. He or she may have their own whims and fancies and alter the setting accordingly.

This happened with at least one particular office at the Police Headquarters. More than a couple of officers were transferred within a few months and each of them got the office renovated or altered. It is also alleged that the officers use the vehicle allotted to them quite liberally and not always for official purposes.

Savings made on these two accounts may be diverted towards the fuel expenses incurred by lower subordinates while discharging their duties.

Of course, these measures will not help in solving all the problems.

Also, in a force divided along "Us" and "Them" lines -- primarily due to the habit of perpetuating hierarchy in the name of discipline over the past several decades -- the lower subordinates will feel that their bosses do care.

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