No Measures for Safeguarding Police

City Crime

There are no existing measures to preserve the bodily safety of police personnel while they are on duty, despite recurring cases of assault.

According to the City Crime Record Bureau (CCRB) report, the registered number of crimes committed against police officers on duty in the year 2017 was 166.

The figure as of August 31 of this year stands at 78 cases. For August 2017, it was 105 cases. Responding to the question of whether there are specific schemes for safeguarding police personnel while on duty, Head Constable Kemperaju answered in the negative.

Questions over the safety of police personnel become all the more important, considering the fact that a January 2018 report suggested that 13 cops had been attacked in Bengaluru over a period of seven days.

The most recent of these attacks came in August 2018 with reports suggesting that two constables from a Bellandur police station were attacked with pepper spray by habitual offenders who were trying to escape from custody.

Police force, however, is resolute. “Police personnel are also a part of the public. It is not advisable to give them with too much immunity”, said Deputy Commissioner for Crime, S Girish. “We are doing our duty,” said Kemperaju. “The law itself will protect us.”

Replying to the question of whether police are insured by the department, Kemperaju replied no.  That said, compensation is provided to police members in case of injury or death. “The department  awards a compensation of Rs 30 lakh in cases of death and Rs 10 lakh if a disability arises from the injury or accident”, added Kemperaju

However, The Karnataka Police Manual lists the rules for the operation of a benevolent fund. The fund has been divided into three categories: Relief in exigencies, financial support to the deserving and activities provided to improve the quality of life provided to their family.

However, no measures for safeguarding police officers while on duty have been listed. According to Kemperaju, only officers above the rank of a sub-inspector can carry a gun.

There are various legal provisions that address instances of crime against police personnel who would be classified as public servants. Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) defines a public servant as every person who has a duty of preventing offences.

Section 332 of the Code lists the offence of “Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty”’. The punishment for violating Section 332 is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with a fine, or both.

Section 333 of the Code would apply to instances of grievous hurt to police personnel. Finally,  Section 353 would apply in instances of criminal force being used against police personnel.

The question as to why these crimes occur has many answers. Clinical Psychologist and Forensic Psychology expert Sunny Joseph believes that police personnel represent the government , these attacks are perpetrated by people who antagonize the government and its policies.

“Attacks against police personnel entail treating them not as individuals, but as objects,” said Joseph. Highlighting the role of hedonism in crime, Joseph said “Hedonism involves the freedom to pursue any activity that derives pleasure. The police seek to limit that pleasure and hence, they become targets of crime. ”

In reply to the question of whether safeguard measures must be allocated to police personnel while on duty, Joseph responded in the affirmative. “ Police personnel are required to be on duty 24/7 and face various challenges. There must be a revision in policy and various means to safeguard officers while on duty must be considered.”