By: Dr S. Ibocha Singh, IPS
Policing in Manipur now:
There was no systematic policing in Manipur before a standardized policing system was introduced in the state by British way back in 1894. The existence of a systematic policing came into existence with the opening of Imphal Police station and appointment of Shri Arambam Ramlal Singh (Meino) as the first Sub-Inspector of Police in January, 1894.
This is the first step to the emergence of a standardized police force in the state by doing away with the system of military duty of the people called Lallup which was abolished by the then political agent Mr. Maxwell – on 29/04/1892. From the establishment of the first police station at Imphal, Manipur Police reached by leaps and bounds to the present stage of having a total strength of 32918 (inclusive of civil police, MR and other units) from a Department headed by a Sub-Inspector to a Director General of Police now.
Before going ahead to the topic Community Policing in Manipur, let us know what Community Policing is first, so as to enable us to know where we stand now in terms of policing system prevalent in the state and also to know at what stage of policing the developed countries of the world are standing.
Community Policing : Defined
Community policing is the way of policing in which community renders their share and contribute ideas in the maintenance of law and order bringing orderly in the society by assisting the police in their efforts. Community policing is not a self contained programme but a method of policing where the community is treated not as a passive customer but as an active partner in preventing crime and disorder and promotions of security with the total involvement of the community or the local neighbourhood in the police in identifying and resolving issues that give rise to crime and disorder.
The effectiveness of this type of policing is measured by the degree of public co-operation received and the absence of crime and disorder in the society. In the traditional system of policing, the success of police is measured in terms of arrest made during the period of time and on conviction, but in community policing the success of policing is determined by the extent of co-operation received from people and the amount of success achieved in the maintenance of law and order.
Community policing is Manipur:
The act which governs the police functioning in Manipur and in other states and union territories of India and in consonance with it the rules and service conditions governing the Police Department are being made is the Police Act, 1861. In fact, it is the Act which was enacted by the British into India during their hegemony in the then colonial India. The Act still continues as the governing Act of Police in India even after 68 years of independence of this country. The police in India during the British rule was a force and the intention of the police then was to make the police look at the Indians as the enemies of the then government in power. It was to safe-guard the interests of the British rule and to protect British citizens in India at that time. The uniform Khaki was chosen to look the police like the armed force such as military whose personality as by the design of their actual performance have to look during and aggressive as they deal with enemy. They wanted police to be force not a service. Thus, the Indians who came across in front of police in those days were enemies. In order to achieve this and to alienate, the training imparted to them were more of physical aspects which included physical exercises, toughening, bayonet practice anti riot drill, lathi charge, etc.
The acts and rules governing the police have not been changed. The Assam Police Manuals (part I to VI) which was introduced in Manipur during the British time is still used as the Police Manual in Manipur in absence of a separate Manipur Police Manual till date. There is no change in the sequence of dispersal of unlawful Assembly u/s 129-131 of Code of Criminal procedure and Rule no.47 of AP Manual part-I. Thereby treating the public as rioter and enemies as was done during the period when India was not independent.
Police not a force but a service-
Indian police from Imperial Police (IP) has now, after independence, changed into Indian Police Service (IPS). But, there is no change in their way of functioning and in their dealing with public, etc. Police culture has not undergone any change from its colonial police, so is also Manipur Police. Police still is a force, not a service. They are more of status consciousness than of their role as a police in the society. People of the present era is more concerned with the consciousness of their role than the consciousness of their status. With uniform police acquire some social and professional status. But their social and professional status is of no value if their role as a policeman is not discharged to the expectation of the public. Police uniform and status alienate police from the public and this led to the failure of achieving the purpose of service oriented policing. On the other hand, as ego problem arises, police are in the habit of using filthy languages. This attitude is unbearable by the public. So, police station which remains as a place of public facility has become a place where young male and women do not like to visit even at times of their requirement.
With the advancement of modern technology in all fields in the world, the globe has become so small and the distance has been reduced. In the field of information also the happiness at one end of the world are reached to all parts of the world within minutes. So much so that the world has become on. The living standard, the taste of living, the value of life, the truth of everything including the sense of right or wrong in discharge of police duties are weighted and compare with treatment meted out by police in other countries under the same circumstances and conditions. As such, the acts of police are subject to people’s scrutiny in terms of such treatment as it happened in other countries. Failure to keep and maintain the right treatment leads to mass protest, agitation, etc. Under the new democratic set up, the people of Manipur would like to see a new police if possible more or less of a London Bobby type of police. The change context demands an active, alert, judicious service oriented and responsive police force and not indiscriminating and brutal one. Even if they use force, it should be for the larger interest of the society as they are protectors of life and property of the people at large.
Implementation of Community Policing in Manipur:
Soli Shorabjee seeing all the pitfalls in Indian Police has recommended Police Reforms and replacement of the Police Act 1861 by Police Act, 2006, making police more public friendly and service oriented. He has suggested for introduction of two tier-system of policing by bifurcating police into law and order group and investigation group. The system has been implemented in Manipur as an experimental bases in the two police stations of Manipur – one at Imphal Police Station and the other at Porompat Police Station of Imphal West and East Districts respectively.
The need for Implementation of community system of policing was felt in Manipur Police way back in 2005. Thus the Government of Manipur has included Rule-365 in the Assam Police Manual Part-III requiring the Superintendents of Police to associate the citizens with the police work, to identify problems and to collaborate in reaching workable solutions to such problems as to create enthusiasm amongst the citizens in the direction, thereby encouraging them to help each other in the better living of the society. However, the rule has not been implemented in any of the districts by the District Superintendents of Police nor is this aware of by the subordinate officers not to talk of the constables. Thus, community policing in the state of Manipur remained a far cry as a system of policing for Manipur Police Department.
To make police public friendly the attitude and mind set of the police officers and men are to be changed from adhering their functioning to traditional system of where primitive approach in the dominant system of policing to a preventive and pro-active system of policing. In fact a paradigm shift to its recruitment system, training and working style is required to make police public friendly. This will make police a service than a force. The officers and men are to be trained and seminars and workshop, particularly at the training level be organized at the training college, both in service and during their basic training period. As such, community policing programme may be taken up at all districts so that the police functionaries are aware of this system of policing.
In the curriculum of school education of high school level, the topic of community policing as a system of policing may be including to make the students aware of this system of policing, as it is done in Kerala in the name of Janamaithri Suraksha Project, which is a project enunciated by Kerala Government and which has become the predominant feature of policing system of Kerala state with exceeding success.
Note: Paper presented in ICSSR sponsored International Seminar on Movements in Recent Past and Present in Northeast India with special reference to Manipur, dt. 27-29 November 2015, organized by Centre for Manipur Studies (CMS), Manipur University when Dr. Ibocha was the DIG Range 2 of Manipur Police