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Police image dented over complaints of misconduct

State Police Accountability Commission receives 182 complaints against cops, 30 are of ‘serious’ nature

By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Sept 13: In a clear reflection of the police’s overall poor image among the masses, altogether 182 complaints of police misconduct were received by the State Police Accountability Commission (SPAC), Assam in 2016, of which 30 pertained to “serious misconduct”. This was stated in the Commission’s Annual Report 2016.
The report also states that the Commission had taken up five suo moto cases last year. The cases that did not qualify as “serious misconduct” were taken up as miscellaneous cases by the SPAC and were disposed of with direction to the Director General of Police (DGP) and the Assam government to take remedial actions.
Of the alleged police misconduct complaints received by the SPAC, 91 pertained to police inaction, negligence and delay in investigation, while 31 were related to harassment or atrocities. Further, 15 complaints pertained to non-registration of FIR by the police. Similarly, there were petitions against blackmailing or demanding money (8), misbehaviour (7), misuse of power (9), illegal detention (6), corruption (1), custodial death (2), threatening (2), land grabbing (1) and return of complaints (9).
Meanwhile, in a serious indictment of the upper echelons of Assam Police, the Commission has observed that many police officials “at the cutting edge level are unaware of ethics and values to be maintained by them while dealing with the public”. The SPAC further stated that there is a fear psychosis among the people over visiting police stations and to appear as complainant or witness.
“The police are often seen to follow colonial practice and procedure in investigating cases of crimes. The lower level functionaries are unaware of relevant Acts, Rules and Procedures, as a result of which there are serious misconduct. They are not trained in adequate soft skills required for good and friendly behaviour, towards responsive and accountable administration. Thus there are misconduct of police. The 2nd AR Commission laid emphasis on equity, rules of law for government functionaries. Although induction training is imparted to police, yet there are some gaps that remained to be filled up,” the report states.
The Commission has suggested induction level and mid-level training for the police and asked the DGP to take necessary steps in this regard.
Further, the SPAC also noted that there is “half-hearted approach” by the State government to strengthen the Commission, and adds that the District Police Accountability Authority is yet to be set up, while its annual reports are not placed in the Assembly. It also states that there is always a delay in release of grants to the Commission, and asked the government to address these issues.
The Commission also recommended that the government should take immediate steps to provide necessary infrastructural facilities and sanction adequate number of permanent staff to run the office.