The general consensus at the one-day workshop
on "Human values and Police" was unambiguous. Although
it appeared at a superficial level that it was idealistic,
if not utopian, to think of practicing values in the Police,
deeper analysis showed that there was, in fact, nothing more
urgently required and practical.
The workshop, which was attended by IPS officers of various
levels of seniority, including those who have retired from
the service, was held in the conference room of the Sai International
school at New Delhi. Lt. Gen. M.L.Chibber presided over the
proceedings and the guest convenor was sri H.P. Bhatnagar,
retired director general of BSF.
The workshop felt that the function of the Police was not
merely to maintain law and order. The police could transform
the dominant value system of a society and create a citizenry
with respect for law, justice and the rights of others. It
could be a catalyst of change, especially in times like these
when there was a great churning on. It could contribute in
a dynamic way to the restoration of the dignity of the individual
and the unity of the nation by taking the side of the poor,
the marginalized and the dispossessed in the society.
The argument that police officers could not be superior
to others in society because they also came from the same
general stock was rejected. A police man had to be better,
because he was charged with the sacred duty of protecting
the social order from various dangerous elements like criminals,
drug-peddlers, terrorists, communalists and so on. Society
trusted its policeman and gave them special powers to arrest,
to search, to size, even to kill. The policemen had to repay
the trust with honest, truthful and dedicated service.
There are, no doubt, various hurdles in the way of practicing
human values. There are corrupt and powerful people who like
to use the Police for their selfish interests. An individual
officer has to decide for himself how to withstand pressures
and still manage to practise the vocation of Policing in an
honest fashion. Each officer had to devise his own lakshman
rekha, demarcating the line he would not cross on any account.
There were many suggestions on how the practice of human
values by the Police could be facilitated. Suggestions ranged
from the need to modify laws and procedures, to providing
modern gadgetry for conducting scientific investigations,
to the grant of autonomy to the police as suggested by the
national police commission.
At the same time it was felt that a lot could be done even
within the present system. No one stopped a Police officer
from training his subordinates in the art of living, meditation
techniques, stress control or the art of dealing with the
public. No one prevented Police officers from changing the
entire organizational culture of the office they were called
upon to head or to provide the right kind of leadership to
Lt.Gen. M.L.Chibber summed up the discussion in the workshop
as exemplifying the dilemma of leadership. It was the essence
of leadership first to be and then to do. The hub of the universal
inner structure of the good leader was selflessness based
on an ideal or a vision. The potential of leadership was directly
proportional to the range of one's vision and the extent to
which one is capable of transcending the self.