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A welcome amendment

The one-year term had come as a hindrance in many ways as officers, especially those at Inspector level, would be shunted out just as they were about to get familiar with their jurisdiction.
Last Updated 05 March 2024, 00:33 IST

The amendment to the Karnataka Police Act to enhance the minimum tenure for police officers in operational roles from one year to two years is welcome as it will go a long way in strengthening policing, while curbing corruption in postings at least to some extent. The new rule will apply to officers of the rank of Additional Director-General of Police who are on field duty, Inspector General of Police, Superintendents of Police in-charge of a district, Additional SPs on operation duties, besides Circle Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors in charge of police stations. The one-year term had come as a hindrance in many ways as officers, especially those at Inspector level, would be shunted out just as they were about to get familiar with their jurisdiction. This had taken a toll on effective policing, particularly in terms of maintenance of law and order, crime detection and intelligence gathering. At the same time, there are many influential officers who have managed to remain posted in preferred postings, including in Bengaluru, for years on end. Allowing officers to grow roots in particular locations is also not healthy as they tend to develop vested interests. Besides, all officers are required to gain experience of policing in both urban and rural areas. The government should immediately uproot such officers, though it may not be an easy task given the political clout they enjoy.

Perhaps the biggest curse afflicting the police force today is the corruption in postings. Though all transfers below the rank of Deputy SP are required to be handled by the Police Establishment Board, in reality, officers are posted based on the letters of recommendation issued by the local MLA. It is no secret that in most cases, these letters come at a huge cost, depending on how “lucrative” the station or posting is. This “system” also makes the police officer beholden to the MLA. While the two-year minimum term is welcome, unless the practice of posting officers based on the recommendation of elected representatives is stopped, there can be no professionalism in policing nor can corruption be curbed.

Home Minister G Parameshwara has taken a bold step by bringing in the amendment, considering that the transfer racket cuts across party lines and everybody involved has a vested interest in frequent transactions over these,   much more needs to be done to insulate the police force from constant political interference. The Home Minister should pull out the numerous reports on police reforms that have been made over the years and implement them. It is important to ensure that the police force is able to function independently of those holding political power. 

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(Published 05 March 2024, 00:33 IST)

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