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Feb. 6, 2017 - Feb. 10, 2017
Organised by Centre for Criminology and Justice, School of Social Work & Nodal Centre for Excellence in Human Rights Education, School of Law, Rights and Constitutional Governance
A Concept Note
The issue of a crisis in police leadership becomes a matter of public debate whenever there are major incidents involving breakdown of law and order or violation of human rights of marginalised sections and citizens at large. At such times, charges are made that the system for producing top police leaders is too closed, with too few – and arguably too similar, candidates applying for the top jobs. The overt challenges before the police leadership are symptomatic of a deep-seated malaise and indicative of a sweeping generalisation of the expectations of policing in the country. One of the principal issues relates to the operational autonomy of police which makes it difficult to ensure impartial action and fair play during times when such behaviour is expected of them. The lack of operational autonomy impedes police efficiency and impacts the quality of police leadership. Policing can never be wholly divorced from politics but recent events have shown how easily a situation can develop into a toxic mix of politics, power and public scape-goating. In this light, it is clear that police will be unable to deliver 'neutral practice', thus impacting on police accountability towards the citizenry in a democratic polity.
Some of the challenges that the police face today can be categorised at two levels - thematically and in terms of organisational issues. Thematically, the challenges pertain to responding to emerging crimes and social conflicts plaguing contemporary society, for example, naxalism, terrorism, communalism and majoritarianism, cyber-crime, pornography, human trafficking, rising crimes against women, children and dalits, and ethnic violence. At the organisational level, some of the tensions include those arising from the structural divide between the state police and IPS, police accountability to the public and political control of police leadership, top-down communication and its impact on innovative ideas and police morale, and an organisational structure built by the colonial masters to rule and the dictates of a democratic State.
In this context, the question that should be asked is not whether there are problems of police leadership, but whether and to what extent are these problems systemic. Despite current rhetoric, many stakeholders engaging with the system are of the opinion that as with any organisation, the issue of individual performance at the top leadership level, needs to be examined. They suggest that while there is evidence that police handles some of the challenges it is confronted with satisfactorily; many a time, there is tremendous scope for improvement. It is time to institute the police reforms and cadre based assessment to ensure that the police get the best available leaders.
The issue of training of police officers at the cutting edge and top levels is also an important one. The current status of training and its impact on policing needs examination and analysis. The need of the hour is to put into place a broad based strategic training model, exposing leaders to current academic debates in economics, political science, sociology, human rights, organisational theory and management, and international police developments.
As for the response to the issues, there is a need to review whether the police is structurally suited to address the issues confronting them. It needs to be emphasised here that it takes time to move from essentially "normal" policing to the large-scale deployments required to deal with the extraordinarily dynamic, widespread and potentially violent situations of any type. In these circumstances the test of leadership is how quickly it adapts to the new circumstances and how effectively the leadership protects human rights in the crisis situations. The recent events in the country illustrate that the police have to deal with a range of social, legal and organisational issues of great complexity and sensitivity and hence require a lens to buffer their current leadership strategies and capacities.
This course will create a platform for the participants to discuss and debate some of the issues and aspects highlighted above. It will inform and sensitise them to the current trends and best practices in terms of responding to the challenges before the police leadership in a democratic context.
The objectives of the course are as follows:
About the participants
The participants will include mid-career to senior level IPS officers from across the country, thus allowing for peer exchange and learning.
The course will be conducted and anchored by a team of resource persons who will be a mix of academicians, field practitioners and experienced personnel from the CJS. The course is designed keeping in mind a good mix of classroom inputs with group discussions, space for sharing of experiences, open discussions, field visits and interaction with students, faculty and practitioners.
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