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Why is a visit to a police station seldom a good experience? Why are you frowned upon when uniformed police personnel visit your home? Answers to these and other uncomfortable questions can be now found in a well-reserached book penned by a man well equipped to address them all. Retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Jayant Umranikar's 'Police Reforms in India' is both a field guide and do-it-yourself manual for the gigantic task of bringing about the much needed change in the way the police force is perceived by the public-and vice-versa.
The book written by Umranikar is an outcome of the detailed study of the functional review of the police department done by him and published by the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA), Pune and Ford Foundation, New Delhi. Umranikar calls the task of police reforms a Sisyphean Saga. "Greek mythological king Sisyphus was punished and told to roll a huge rock to top of a steep hill. Before he could reach the hill, the rock would roll back down all the time," smiles Umranikar.
He points out that the use of the term police force, suggests that it is military in nature. "When we refer to police as police service, the meaning and perception completely changes. It must be understood that there is no alternative to the discipline and rules, as it is a uniformed organisation. But there has to be a change in the way police look at their duties."
The book stresses that police reforms are not possible in isolation. "The political leadership, bureaucracy, judicial system and even the prison department will have to undergo a change. One of the most important reasons behind the phenomenon of recidivism – criminals repeatedly committing crimes – is the delay in justice delivery system, which allows the accused to commit a crime even after the arrest till the verdict is delivered." He says.
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