The development of a society depends upon its stability. If the society is at
constant chaos, nothing productive can be expected towards its growth and
prosperity. The only thing it would be involved in is exhausting its valuable
resources. Therefore, every state across the globe has this specific machinery
of people that is responsible for maintenance of law and order and peacekeeping
in the society and is most commonly known as the 'police'.
The term police has been derived from the Latin word 'politia' meaning 'the
condition of a State.' The term 'police' refers to a system of regulation for
preservation of order and regulation of law. It broadly refers to the purposeful
maintenance of public order and protection of persons and property from
commission of unlawful acts towards them. It also refers to the civil
functionaries charged with the duty of maintenance of public order, safety and
enforcing the law including the prevention and detection of crime.
Although, police is an instrumentality of the State in discharging the 'police'
obligations of the State, the people employed in the system are the people
living in the same society. The police personnel are the part of the same
society which they are policing. However, the Police has always been viewed as
merely an instrumentality of the State by the people which is oppressive. The
people fail to understand their relationship with the department in its true
sense, hence this feeling has created a divide between the people and the
For these reasons, whenever the functioning of the police or the role of the
police is discussed, the only perspective one talks about is that of the
citizens' rights and freedoms and their encroachment by police actions. There
have been many police reforms committees formed till date and the substance of
each and every committee has always been citizen centric. This gives a negative
impression about the police.
However, it is pertinent to note that even policemen are human beings, they also
have a family like any other citizen of the country and they are also born with
the similar human rights as any other person in this world. Therefore, when the
perspective to view the police is changed, we will be able to recognize or at
least acknowledge the fact that even police personnel faces problems. Like any
other person or any other citizen, they too may be the victim of something or
In this article, this virgin territories of victimizing the police in the
rightful manner is explored. Absence of any concrete and authoritative data or
statistics in this behalf becomes immaterial because this area is hardly touched
upon by any government in India so far. Although, some articles pertaining to
the issue are present, but they are of little help as they explore the problems
faced by the Police forces of foreign countries. However, personal interviews
and certain reports prepared by NGOs gives a perfect first-hand account of the
problems faced by the police personnel in India.
Rights Available to Police
Whenever the phrase "Police as a Victim" crosses our mind, it seems very
unrealistic because there are illimitable number of incidences of the opposite,
which is, of police in an atrocious role towards people or the police making
people the victim of its behavior or practices or exercise. However, the
problems faced by the Police are real and it is saddening to note that their
problems have been long ignored by the authorities. Ignorance is still a better
term to suffice the situation, in reality the authorities do not even
acknowledge these problems as problems at all. This makes the police personnel a
victim of the system of which they are a part of.
In order to dive deep into the topic to understand the real problems faced by
the Police, it is first necessary to understand what problems cannot be
understood as problems faced by Police, because Police is a special class of
citizens having special role to play and in pursuance of this situation they
have to be treated quite separately from other members of the society and
citizens. But the extent of the ripping off of their rights must be determined.
It has to be first looked into that how much of the rights has been permitted by
the law to the police personnel and how much of them has been restricted. With
this information, it will become easier to analyze whether the rights available
to the police are actually available to them or if it is no more than a paper
assurance. Moreover, when we talk about victimizing anyone, it is important to
first look at whether the person who claims to be a victim possess any real
rights or not. If there are no rights at all, then the question of being a
victim does not arise at all.
It is known that Police is also the part of the same society that the other
citizens are. Just as the citizens of India possess the fundamental rights
enshrined under Part III of the Constitution, similarly the Police forces also
do. The only difference is that the Police is quite immunized as well as
restricted in the exercise and enjoyment of the same to a certain extent. This
has been determined by Article 33 of the Constitution itself, which provides for
certain exceptions for the Police Forces. The provision provides for the power
of the Parliament to modify the rights conferred by this Part in their
application to the Forces, etc.
Under the exercise of the powers so conferred, the Parliament of India enacted
The Police Forces (Restrictions of Rights) Act, 1966, section 3 of restricts the
fundamental right of the Police Forces to the extent of forming any
associations, or to be a part of any association, except if it is a religious or
a charitable association, and also provides for a restricted exercise of the
freedom of speech and expression. Apart from these restrictions, expressly
and not impliedly, the other fundamental rights should be read as available to
the Police Forces at par with other citizens of India.
Therefore, the right to equality consisting of the principles enshrined therein,
that is, the equality before law and equal protection of laws, reasonableness in
actions towards the Police Forces, rationality, the right to life and personal
liberty and the consequentially recognized rights therein, are all available to
the Police Forces at par with other Indian citizens. Any violation of those
rights and no recourse to them shall ultimately make the Police Forces a victim.
Police as a Victim
Thinking about this topic itself seems to be unrealistic at certain moments.
However, the problems of the Police personnel are for real and the fact that
they have not been addressed so far by the responsible authorities and that the
problems continue to remain makes the police personnel a victim of their jobs.
Police reforms in India have been traditionally seen from two extreme
perspectives: either from the standpoint of the oppressed who seek to limit
police's monopoly over violence and end misuse of power by the State, or from
the perspective of professional autonomy of the police as an institution,
particularly from the political class, and their right to decent working
conditions. However, it is important that the same should also be viewed from
the perspective of the police personnel.
To start with, and the highly complained of problem amongst the police personnel
are their long working hours, lack of weekly rest and basic resources as well as
external pressure in their work. This shall be explained in detail further.
- Unjustified Salary
The salary of any employee is decided based on the nature of the work they
perform. If the work requires hard labor coupled with skills, the same has
to be compensated accordingly. In the police services in India, it is
commonly seen that the recruitment procedure itself is very hard for the
police personnel. The procedure requires them to be both physically as well
as mentally fit, and not just fit but tough so that they are capable enough
to deal with any unforeseen and critical situation. But the salaries that
they are paid does not compensate their services justifiably.
The average pay scale of a Constable in Delhi Police is Rs. 21700. If the
same is compared with a Primary School Teacher in government school of
Delhi, which is approximately equal to Rs. 46000, it is far less than
what the efforts of the Police Constable pertaining to the nature of his
work should be paid off. Although this comparison is nowhere justifiable but
it prompts one to think about the plight of the police constables with
respect to the compensation they are paid for the nature of their work
performed in the service of the people.
- Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors are Non-Gazetted Officers
The Police forces consist of the four Grades of employees. These are Grade A
which includes the Civil Servants like the Indian Police Service Officers
and the others recruited by the Central and the State Government in the
Upper Rank category. These constitute only 1% of the total Police forces in
India. The second category is the Grade B officers which are the Upper
subordinates and constitute 13% of the total Police forces.
In the Grade B category, the officers are again of two types, one those are
gazetted and the others those are non-gazetted. In the Police forces these
consist of Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors and Assistant Sub-Inspectors only, all
of which are non-gazetted posts. Gazetted post simply means that the Public
servant so employed is employed under the seal of the Governor or the
President as the case may be, and consequently all the appointments,
transfers, postings, promotions, and superannuation is done on merits of the
employee by the Government.
Whereas on the Non - gazetted post, the appointments, transfers, postings,
promotions, and superannuation are all subject to the satisfaction of the
senior authorities. The Inspectors, sub-inspectors and assistant
sub-inspectors perform similar kind of administrative task as any other
Grade B gazetted officer, yet their services and perks are all dependent and
thus evaluated on the whims and fancy of their seniors and not on the merit
as in the case of other similarly situated officers. The police officers of
this rank have been constantly demanding that their post should be made a
gazetted post so that they can work independently of fears and favors and
beyond the constant fear of being demoted in case of an unsatisfactory
result to the senior officers.
This problem however, has been long ignored by the government but has been
taken into due consideration by Police Reforms Commissions that were formed
in India by the Union government from time to time. A solution to this
problem has also been provided under the Model Police Act, 2006 wherein the
provisions for making recruitment and transfers in the Police forces has
been entrusted upon the Police Recruitment Board.
However, modifying the path of recruitment does not simply end the problem
unless it is rectified from its very source. The fearless source of exercise
of power by the senior most police officers in these regards flows directly
or indirectly from political influence and pressure or intervention and
there is a huge possibility that the same shall continue even if the
recruitment and transfers are handed over to the Police Recruitment Board.
- System of Orderly
The system of Orderly is prevalent in the Armed Forces as well as the police
forces of the country. However, Police forces of many states have abolished
this system formally, but informally the same continues to live in the
system. As per this system, the subordinate ranked Police Officers are
required to work in the Houses of Higher authorities. The tasks that they
are required to perform are not at all at par with their skills and
expertise as well as not justifiable to the post that they hold. This system
can simply be equated with pure 'slavery' wherein the slave cannot say 'no'
to the orders of his master.
There can be no justification at all to such a system. Also, this system
demotivates the persons of the lower or subordinate ranks to remain in
service or to work efficiently because in off-duty hours when they're meant
to train and rest, they perform these meagre tasks at their seniors' homes.
The system is equally inhumane as well. Moreover, no additional salary or
allowance is paid to these subordinates for this extra chunk of work that
they do. Hence, justification for this system comes from nowhere.
The Second Administrative Reforms Commission recommended that this system
must be abolished. The same has been implemented by many police forces
across the country but still the practice continues to operate unofficially
without any checks. Officially also, this continues in the Armed Forces and
central Police forces like the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
- Vacancies and Overburdened Police
There has to be a balance between the number of police personnel per
hundreds or thousands of population. As per the report compiled by the PRS
Legislative Research on Police Reforms in India there is remarkable 24%
vacancy in the overall Police Forces in India as against the sanctioned
strength for India. This situation not only hits adversely on the efficiency
of the police forces but it also affects the existing police personnel.
The burden to discharge additional duties or to discharge duties
additionally lies on the personnel already employed. This comes at the cost
of their mental, physical and psychological health and results in various
long-term health issues. Overtime working of the personnel without any
legible breaks in between their heavy duties exhausts the personnel
physically as well as mentally. Lack of proper sleep and rest and limited to
no time available for their families make their conditions not only
personally but also socially deplorable. However, neither the government
sees this as any potential problem, nor the members of the public recognize
this plight of the police personnel.
The Second Administrative Reforms Commission recommended to reduce the
burden on the police personnel by outsourcing or redistributing the non-core
police functions like the traffic management, disaster rescue, relief, etc)
to other departments or private agencies. 
- Constabulary Related Issues
The police forces in India consists largely of the constabulary. A total of
86% of the forces comprises of the constabulary and among other police
officers or personnel, these are the first point of contact with the members
of the public. However, being lower in rank and subordinate to the other two
categories of police officers in India, their problems are not even
The constables are recruited at the minimum educational qualifications with
no proper training but it does not imply that they are recruited to perform
any meagre jobs. Instead, they are vested with wide range of
responsibilities and in various situations they are most likely to exercise
their own judgment while performing tasks like intelligence gathering,
surveillance work, assisting in investigation, etc.
As stated earlier, they are the first point of contact with the public and
in any contingency they are the first officers of the police forces to deal
with it. Thus, it is important that they must have analytical, reasoning and
decision making abilities which can be inculcated or improved with proper
adequate training only. Due to lack of such training, the constables often
become the victims of violence in situations like terror attacks, chasing,
investigations, arrest, etc.
Other major problem that the constables face in the police forces is that of
the 'promotion'. Promotion in any service is the just expectation of any
hard working employee. It not only keeps the employees motivated but also
improves their working capacity and efficiency. However, the constables in
the Police forces have nil to only one promotions in their entire service.
This not only demotivates the constabulary to perform their duties but
certainly it may have some psychological impact when moving out in the
society. Due to lack of promotions, their pay scale and salary does not
enhance much and their social status also remain the same throughout their
lifetime. Because of this they are unable to cope up with the fast paced and
developing society, which makes their family feel inferior to their
neighbors and other members of the public.
- Mental and Psychological Trauma
Another major yet unrecognized problem of the police forces of two
subordinate ranks is the mental and physical trauma that these officers face
during their entire service tenure. The working conditions of the Police
forces in India as well as elsewhere across the globe are almost similar
with the only difference being that the forces of the foreign countries are
way more advanced and technologically enabled than the Indian forces.
As per a research published on the National Library of Medicine, owned by
the government of the United States, the police officers are subjected,
daily, to critical incidents and work-related stressors that negatively
impact nearly every aspect of their personal and professional lives.
The research examines the deleterious outcomes on the mental health of the
Police Officers, specifically on the correlation between years of service
and change in worldviews, perception of others, and the correlation between
repeated exposure to critical events and experiencing post-traumatic
symptoms as a result of the post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Another study conducted by the University of Cambridge over 12000 police
officers suggested that the rates of trauma-induced disorder Complex PTSD
are exacerbated by factors such as too little time and support, and lack of
say over working hours.
Having considered these reports pertaining to the deplorable mental and
psychological conditions of the police forces in the UD and the UK
respectively, the situation is much worse and incomparable with the
deplorable working conditions of the police forces in India. This is enough
to make anyone believe in the mental and psychological trauma faced by the
police forces in India.
- Lack of Proper Infrastructure
As per the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India for the
audits conducted during 2009 and 2014, it was found that outdated weapons
were used by the State Police forces. This in itself is a very big
problem that seems to being ignored because of the lack of the political
will of our political leaders who are in the government. Lack of weapons as
well as using outdated weapons makes the Police the victim of violence most
of the times.
Another issue faced by the police officers, especially women police officers
is that of the lack of transportation facilities. Apart from the police
vehicles, there should be available normal transporting vehicle for the
purpose of alighting the officers to and from their homes to the police
stations. Many a times, the postings of the Police Officers are done far
from their homes in the District. This makes it difficult for the officers
to travel to and from the home to posting station. The situation becomes
worse for the women police officers who had to travel at the odd hours of
the day from the police stations to their homes, causing them social and
Another major problems faced by the police personnel in India is that of the
health facilities. There is lack of proper healthcare facilities for the
police personnel in India. They are just required to work tirelessly without
letting them focus on their health. One of the major cause of the health
issues is the overburdened police force, because of which the police have to
work overtime compromising with their sleep, diet as well as physical
workout. This makes the police personnel lethargic, unresponsive and slow,
leading to failure in complying with their duties properly.
- Police as Victims of the System
As stated earlier, the rights of the Police personnel are restricted to
certain extent. This includes a restricted exercise of right to freedom of
speech and expression. If any police officer has to raise any voice against
any problems faced by him, he can do so directly to the senior officers in a
protocoled manner but not otherwise like by way of strikes or demonstrations
etc. If they still chose the restricted way of raising their demands and
voices, the consequences are directed on their jobs itself. Despite knowing
this fact, the police personnel in India are forced to do strikes in
For example, in June 2016, personnel from Karnataka threatened to strike in
a protest against low pay, no fixed weekly offs and abuse of power by senior
officers. Similarly, in May 2015, 53000 home guards from Bihar went on
the indefinite strike. There have been many other unreported instances
of such strikes wherein the struggling police personnel on strike were
charged with various offences against the State and were dismissed from
services as a consequence of resorting to strikes and demonstrations. This
way, the police is made a victim of the system itself.
- Accountability towards the Executive
Not the last but one of the major reasons for most of the problems faced by
the Police personnel in India are because of the police accountability
towards the Executive. This causes the police forces to work under constant
pressure of the Executive which is by and large commanded by political
vision and aspirations of the government. This not only puts up a bad image
of the Police in public but also makes the police personnel a handmaiden of
the Politics. Their services mostly depend on the whims and fancies of their
higher authorities which ultimately is commanded by the political will of
Police as a victim is really tough to imagine when viewed in the larger
perspective of the country, which includes the point of view of the citizen
centric approach. But in no way it can be said that the police personnel faces
no problems in work and life at all. It is unfortunate that these problems have
been left unacknowledged and sometimes ignored by the higher police authorities
and the government, because of which these problems also do not find any place
in most of the reports and police reforms commissions constituted so far as
well. But simply because they do not exist in the verified statistics do not
rule out their very existence.
Hence once the Police is viewed from the point of view of the police personnel,
the larger police problems comes to the forefront and in such a case should not
be left unacknowledged or be ignored. Having analyzed various problems that the
police personnel faces in India, there is no doubt in finding that 'police is
the victims of the system they are a part of'. The problems faced by the police
personnel are real and not illusory and hence should be acknowledged and must be
resolved for constituting a better and efficient police system.
- Section 3, The Police Forces (Restrictions of Rights) Act, 1966
- Common Cause, Status of Policing in India Report 2019, available at: https://www.commoncause.in/uploadimage/page/Status_of_Policing_in_India_Report_2019_by_Common_Cause_and_CSDS.pdf (last accessed on: 20-04-2023)
- Manual 10, Delhi Police Pay Scales, available at: https://delhipolice.gov.in/RTImanualFiles/Manual-10.pdf
- DSSSB Teacher Salary, BYJUS Exam Prep, available at: https://delhipolice.gov.in/RTImanualFiles/Manual-10.pdf
- PRS Legislative Research, Police Reforms in India, available at: https://prsindia.org/policy/analytical-reports/police-reforms-india, (last accessed on: 20-04-2023)
- Police Stress and Deleterious Outcomes: Efforts Towards Improving Police Mental Health, available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8575544/ (last accessed on: 20-04-2023)
- UK Policing: Psychological Damage among Officers Heightened by Bad Working Conditions, available at: https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/uk-policing-psychological-damage-among-officers-heightened-by-bad-working-conditions (last accessed on: 20-04-2023)
- Supra note 5.
- Supra note 2.