• Former President Ram NathKovind gave the message that an ‘ideal police system’ indicates that the job of a police officer is full of responsibility and accountability.
  • Life and liberty are fundamental moral values and are held to be so in all human societies, and the police routinely have to decide whether to arrest, i.e., whether or not to take away someone’s freedom, and at its extreme, sometimes they must decide whether or not to take away someone’s life.
  • While making any moral decisions, the police have to consider a complex array of actions.
  • They have to consider the goodness and badness of a person before they can consider whether their actions are wrong.
  • For any action taken by a person, they have to see the motivation and intentions of the action and its consequences.
  • The police may be required to face danger or hostility in order to do their duty, and predictably, in the course of their work, police officers are likely to experience a range of emotions including fear, anger, suspicion, excitement, and boredom to a far greater extent than people in other occupations.
  • To act effectively as police, they must be able to respond to these emotions in the right way, which requires them to be emotionally intelligent.

Various Issues with Ethical Policing in India

  • The rule of law in India, the frame on which justice hangs, has been “undermined by the rule of politics”.
  • The major reasons for the politicisation of the police is the lack of a proper tenure policy for the posting of officers at different levels and the arbitrary transfers and postings that have been used for political interest.
  • Politicians use transfer and suspension as weapons to tame police officers.
  • These punitive measures affect the morale of the police and damage the chain of command within the organisation, thereby undermining the authority of those of their superiors who might be honest, competent, and fair-minded, but not sufficiently supportive or politically useful.
  • Bayley and the authors of Ethical Issues in Policing in India say that the rule of law is being replaced by the rule of politics, which is a cause of concern for establishing good governance in the country.
  • According to them, mindless denigration of the police is irresponsible because it is counterproductive in terms of assisting those honest and competent police officers who are trying to renovate Indian police institutions.
  • Though corruption is prevalent in every part of the world, India ranks 85 out of 180 countries in the corruption perception index, 2021
  • The police department is not untouched by the corruption that is prevalent in the department at almost every level and in different forms.
  • There have been instances where high ranking police officials were found to be indulged in corruption activities and there have also been instances where low ranking police officials were caught red-handed taking bribes.
  • The total number of custodial deaths in India increased from 1,940 in 2020-’21 to 2,544 in 2021-’22, according to government data.
  • Uttar Pradesh has reported the highest number of custodial deaths among all states and Union Territories in the last two years.
  • The term police coercion can best be defined as when a police officer uses undue pressure or intimidation in an effort to secure a confession from a suspect to a crime.
  • Police coercion can take many forms and police officers have been accused of using different types of coercion in an effort to get a suspect to confess.

Way Forward

  • The National Human Rights Commission, in 1998 has said that in a democratic society, the police must be “low in authority and high in accountability.”
  • Also, the police ethics and police institutions exist to serve the highest of moral purposes, to protect the rights to life, liberty, and property of citizens in a democratic polity. So, the protection of human rights is a core police function.


About ChinmayaIAS Academy - Current Affairs

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