The West Bengal Police,one of the oldest police forces in the country,has identified its weaknesses. They include excessive politicisation,poor image in the society,corruption at different levels and low self image.
A senior police officer told The Indian Express that a policy document titled Vision 2020,prepared by the West Bengal Police,stated that its not only the acute manpower shortages, which is hindering the day-to-day functioning of the force but inadequate financial support from the government is also a stumbling block to carry out reforms needed.
Undue political considerations in important postings and in daily functioning in the police stations is something that police officers have witnessed over the decades.
Another area of concern is the police budget,which is inadequate and funds meant for modernisation remain unutilised,the document says. Field-level officers are under constant physical and mental stress,which leads to lifestyle diseases like diabetics,hypertension and alcoholism. Because of such problems,police personnel occasionally misbehave with their subordinates,public and family members.
The state police also suffers from low self image,according to the document,which further revealed that the image of the police in the society is poor. What is a matter of concern for the police is corruption at different levels and inadequate reward for honest work. The punishment system for corrupt behavior is also inadequate. Such is the order of the day in the force is that subordinates find it difficult to say no to their bosses,which allows illegal and unethical orders to be carried out sometimes.
Another grey area in the state police is gender imbalance. The male dominated work force reduces empathy in cases of crime against women.
Despite having these problems,the document says,the state polices strength is its can-do attitude. A state police officer seldom says no to a task he or she is assigned. The pride of the force is that it is also free from communal or caste feelings. Ability to lead and stringent democratic roots add to the strength of the police force. The average level of education at the forces entry level is also rising.
The West Bengal police has perhaps the most educated police leadership cadre in the world,according to the document.