HYDERABAD: Retired IPS, IAS and IFS officers, and civil society organisations came together at a workshop on Wednesday to discuss the need for police reforms. Speakers said the Police Act of 1860s, enacted during the colonial era, does not hold relevance now. Also stressed was the need for change in training imparted to police, keeping pace with changing crime scenario.
The workshop on police reforms was organised by the Forum for Good Governance. C Anjaneya Reddy, retired IPS officer, said policing in colonial India started as an adjunct to revenue department and an early duty of police was to assist officials in collecting revenue, besides maintaining law and order.
“In other words, it started as a coercive arm of the government and it continues to be so even now,” he said, adding police are forced to do what the government says.
“Unless the police department is brought under a non-political agency and unless it is made accountable, things will not improve. For that purpose, we require a new Police Act. The existing Act is colonial,” he said.
About the recommendations made by commissions formed for police reforms, former CBI director K Vijaya Rama Rao expressed doubt if the quality of policing will improve if the suggestions are accepted. “The reason is we are chasing what has been done, rather than look at what is happening, what is changing in the law and order scenario,” he said.
He said the picture of crime and the nature of duties to be performed by police have changed a lot and a complete change in the Police Act should be taken up.
Former home secretary K Padmanabhaiah said according to the Kerala Police Act, police can audio and videograph their works. Secretary of the Forum for Good Governance M Padmanabha Reddy said resolutions passed at the workshop would be submitted to the chief ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.