Police welfare in states a neglected subject: Rijiju

NEW DELHI, Dec 22: The welfare of the constabulary and adequate budgetary allocation for police forces in various states is a “neglected” subject and is not given priority, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Friday.
The minister of state for home said this while inaugurating a ‘Visionary Summit’ hosted by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD).
He asked the police brass to think of measures like having an independent police complaints authority, so that police credibility is enhanced and the common man does not have to go to a minister seeking justice and for getting a policeman to act.
“Whenever I go to the states, I see police is being neglected in terms of welfare… that is ignored and the budgetary allowance and financial support to the police personnel is not given priority,” the minister said at the programme.
Rijiju said he visited various police mess in states and the situation of their constabulary and training centres was also not up to the mark.
“When we say law and order is a priority then the support system for minimum facilities for police forces to act is found wanting (in states),” he said.
“While the priorities of the government are electoral, MLAs, ministers, and various social groups put in a lot of demands to the government. But when you see the budgetary support system, it is found wanting,” the minister said.
Rijiju said after the 14th Finance Commission, central funds for police modernisation and others have been delegated to the state governments but reports in this context were not “very rosy”.
He also asked the police to take steps and ensure that the perception that police only act after political intervention is changed.
“Why should people come to the minister to get justice? I don’t understand. People keep coming to my office… they say unless the minister tells, the SP or the DCP will not act. Why has this feeling come?
“Why should the society as a whole feel that unless some pressure is put (on police), justice is not going to come. Why is this perception developing?” Rijiju asked senior police officials attending the conference.
This kind of situation is not healthy in a democratic society. This means losing confidence in police. There should be no sense of loosing confidence in police officers, the minister said.
He said the police should have some “standard system within the organisation” so that a police officer who is supposed to act in a particular case will keep in mind that if he does not act appropriately, there is an authority and he will be a subject to scrutiny.
“That is very important,” Rijiju said, adding this will enhance the “credibility” of men and women in khaki uniform.
He said the police cannot be “complacent” anymore and it has to respond to challenges like advent of social media, terrorism and radicalisation of the youth.
“In a democratic model like India it is difficult to maintain or sustain good police image but you have constantly keep working on it.
“You cannot be indifferent about anything. Society has changed with the advent of the Internet and it has changed the landscape of entire social structure,” the minister said.
Rijiju said the “fear and respect” for the police must go parallel.
“Fear is for those who are law breakers and who think they are above the law. Respect is for ordinary and law- abiding citizens,” he said.
The BPRD is a think tank to work on police subjects and it functions under the command of the home ministry. (PTI)