Catering to over 1.3 billion people, the law enforcement agencies in India face a lot of challenges. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), India had deployed only 138 personnel per one lakh population in 2015. India ranked 67th out of 71 countries in terms of personnel deployed to population ratio (ET, 2015). According to the Bureau of Police Research & Development, as of January 2017, India had 15,579 police stations, with 10,052 stations in urban areas, 4,998 stations in rural areas and 529 railway police stations. Moreover, the transport resources available per 100 policemen were only 8 on an average. The shortfalls do not end on transport resources, as 273 stations in the country were functioning without vehicles, 267 without telephones and 129 without wireless sets (BPRD, 2016).
The state of law enforcement in India is far from ideal as a variety of problems revolve around it. The police force and infrastructure witness certain deficiencies which hinder their prolific duties towards the country. These problems lead to needless issues and an atmosphere of distrust towards the hard-working police personnel. Some of the problems are:
- Lack of Infrastructure: Police in India faces a scarcity of both personnel and defence equipment which are imperative to their line of duty. According to the government, India faces a shortage of police personnel with alarming statistics. India has almost 151 police personnel per one lakh population, whilst the WHO standards require the figure to be 222. India is short by 71 police personnel per one lakh population, which roughly amounts to 923,000 (The Hindu, 2018).
- Lack of Equipment: The police in India face an obsolete inventory and shortage when it comes to weaponry. In a revelation, it was revealed that nearly half the police force in the state of Uttar Pradesh was using .303 rifles, which were deemed superseded in 1995. Out of the 1.22 lakh rifles in possession of the state police, over 58,000 were of the .303 category (Indian Express, 2017). Similar inadequacies are seen in multiple states around the country, which show a grim state of the police infrastructure in India.
- Public Flouting Rules: What worsens the job of police personnel is the flouting of rules by the general public. Moreover, lack of public cooperation during investigation renders their job even more complicated. The unwillingness to report crimes and testify against offenders due to an environment of distrust also disrupts the police from efficiently doing their duty.
- The Criminalisation of Politics: The introduction of criminals to politics also obstructs police from performing their duties. The process provides professional offenders with an objectionable protection which results in pressures from all sides to drop the proceedings going on against the criminal politicians. This creates an environment of demoralization in the police force.
NRDMS and Law Enforcement
Even though there is a multitude of problems, it is necessary to identify and eradicate them, rather than complaining about how dismal the state of law enforcement in India looks. Natural Resources Data Management System (NRDMS), under Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India is using space technology to understand and mitigate the issues which surround the police force in India. The mapping of Police infrastructure with multiple parameters can help the police personnel exceptionally. The mapping also helps the police in understanding the crime patterns in the target area; helping them to deploy their personnel efficiently.
NRDMS deployed the technology in District Almora, Uttarakhand by using spatial data of police structures and boundaries, which include spatial location of Offices of Superintendent of Police, Kotwali and Police Line with non-spatial information, i.e., details of police working personnel, crime data and Office Assets etc: spatial distribution of Thana areas with their information; Spatial distribution of villages with information of each village Prahari with telephone number and village information details;spatial distribution of Thana and Kotwali Headquarters with their Office details; spatial distribution of villages in different buffer zones of 1 km from Thana Headquarters;spatial distribution of Police Chaukees with their information; spatial distribution of villages on different Police Chaukee buffer zones of 2 km; spatial distribution of Police Barriers with their information; spatial distribution of villages in different buffer zones of Thana Areas and overlay of all above spatial information layers. The peculiarity of the Almora NRDMS GIS Data is that this GIS Infrastructure of Police Department is developed in association of the Police Department.
Some of the maps generated by NRDMS in District Almora, Uttarakhand are given below
As shown above, NRDMS mapped the police infrastructure in Almora District. Similar maps can be created with different parameters, to resolve multiple problems that police personnel face. Using these maps, the authorities can take relevant actions to establish new police stations, deploy personnel based on the degree of requirement, provide the latest arms and ammunition as required and much more. These mappings act as a decision support system for the authorities.
NRDMS is constantly working towards employing ‘Geo-Spatial applications for Good and Transparent Governance’. Police Mapping is one of the several projects NRDMS has started to act as a decision support system for good governance in the country. You can read more about NRDMS and their work in different domains here.
Even though there are a few bad elements in the society, blaming the whole of humanity is incorrect. Similarly, a few corruption ridden elements should not be the reason for a bad name for all law enforcement agencies. It is important to understand the problems faced by the brave men and women in the force and provide them with adequate resources to help them perform their duties well. While they put their life on the line so that the 1.3 billion people in the country can have a sound sleep, the least we can do is provide them enough support and respect to help them carry out their duties successfully.
Inputs From: All images have been provided by Prof. J. S. Rawat, Centre of Excellence for NRDMS in Uttarakhand, Department of Geography, Kumaun University, S.S.J. Campus Almora, Uttarakhand