TAMIL NADU

Kiran Bedi calls for more investment in policing

SUGGESTING REFORMS: Kiran Bedi, Director-General, Bureau of Police Research and Development, New Delhi, at the V.R.Krishna Iyer Endowment Lecture in Chennai on Wednesday. E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, Rajya Sabha MP, is in the picture. Photo: S. R. Raghunathan

SUGGESTING REFORMS: Kiran Bedi, Director-General, Bureau of Police Research and Development, New Delhi, at the V.R.Krishna Iyer Endowment Lecture in Chennai on Wednesday. E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, Rajya Sabha MP, is in the picture. Photo: S. R. Raghunathan  

Special Correspondent

She also favours mandatory tenure for police officers

: Kiran Bedi, Director-General, Bureau of Police Research and Development, has called for more investment in policing, ensuring the safety of tenure for police officers, grooming leadership and conducting research in the police and criminal justice system.

Delivering the Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer Endowment Lecture at Madras University, Ms. Bedi, well known for prison reforms she initiated, said: "As far as policing goes, we are still in the 19th century." Only a multi-pronged approach of reforms would produce a force that would meet the taxing demands of the profession.

Her primary recommendation was for more investment in rural areas, where the poor had little or no access to a police station. Tamil Nadu was among the better performers when it came to funds allocation for the police. She also recommended that the States collect a `security cess,' even if it meant only Re.1 a person. Equal importance should be paid to preserving the rights of the personnel. Under outdated rules, policemen were supposed to be on duty for 24 hours, were ill paid and overworked, had no training and were unable to spend time with their families. The rules would have to be changed to make the conditions of work friendlier for the personnel.

Ms. Bedi made a strong case for mandatory tenure for police officers, especially those holding top positions. Currently, in most States, officers were the victims of politicians' whims and fancies and often shifted out for no fault of theirs. "This has to change. There has to be greater neutrality in the employment and tenure of police officials."

Public audit

Separating investigation from law and order duties, Ms. Bedi said, would reduce the workload and allow officers to develop their own specialisation. The force should centralise biometrics, provide a national identity card and record fingerprints to identify and track criminals easily. She also called for a public audit of the police budget. Sundarsana Natchiappan, MP, and Chairman, Parliamentary Committee for Law and Justice, Personnel and Public Grievances, said he would consider a plan to introduce criminology as part of the IAS/IPS officers training course. He also favoured new training methods so that the personnel could come to grips with the changing nature of crimes

R. Thilagaraj, head of the Department of Criminology, said that earlier a meeting had been held with the registrars of different colleges from the State to discuss research in criminology and police reforms.

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