Crime, Policing and a few suggestions for improvement

Deeply saddened with yesterday’s rape and murder incident of a young doctor in Hyderabad. Police should certainly focus on nabbing the culprits and taking them to court to give them the most appropriate punishment for criminals of such a henious crime.

Unfortunately the punishment, candle light marches, introduction of additional legal laws alone will not necessarily stop the next incident to happen.

Nirbhaya incident in Delhi a few years ago and all the activities afterwards didn’t stop yet another similar incident by another set of young, drunk, illiterate truck drivers.

We need to address the root cause and not just the immediate postmartem and focusing on very similar activities. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insanity.

I think there should be some crowd sourcing of ideas on this topic and then create a focused group of experts for implementation to address the root cause.

Some of my quick thoughts in my blog here as well as series of tweets this morning.

Iam sure there are many other good ideas, please share yours as well.

1. We need to change the rules at the police station.

If we can pay our electricity and water bills at any e-seva center or even using my smartphone and laptop, why can’t citizens open a police case / facilitate FIR at any police station in similar manner?

Why even after reaching a police station, citizens are being told that a particular area doesn’t come under their jurisdiction and make people to run between the stations?

Reporting of crime should be centralised and then routed to the correct police station automatically.

The complainant should get a printout with the concerned police station detials along with driving directions. It is possible with the current technology and improves citizen services in a great way.

In cities sometimes there are 3 to 4 police stations close to each other. Thanks to police department, ordinary citizens fortunately do not need to visit these police stations unless when there is an emergency. Sometimes the police station far from their residence actually may have jurisdiction of that area. And if it happens there is confusion and loss of precious time.

2. Police/100 needs to learn best practices from the EMRI/108 program.

Citizens today look at 108 ambulances and believe it addresses their problem and remember to call immediately. How a 10 year old ambulance initiative got so much of acceptance compared to government/police initiative of 100. Some important lessons to be applied.

We need to make 100 similar to 108 or better. Best is to make it similar to 911 of the USA.

3. We all know the bad effects of alcohol especially on young aged, immature people and their loss of minimum common sense on its consumption.

If so, shouldn’t the wineshops be closed near the public places and specially at remote areas of public importance where there is less surveillance.

4. Do we have sufficient number of CCTV cameras installed at major points of interest like public parking places, toll gates and toll plazas, shopping places, petrol bunks, parks and other public places.

5. CCTV cameras being continuously monitored at each nearest police station as well as a central command center.

Or CCTV end up becoming high-tech-video-recorders for postmartem of a crime and to produce as legal evidence after the fact.

Police system should be proactive by monitoring a small set at each police station of that particular area and then at a central command center for random check and balance.

This task needs to be done by designated trained personnel focused on analysing such criminal activity from video for proactively addressing the issues. May be in the long run, we can have an artificial intelligence system built for such analysis.

6. Introduction of awareness programs including yoga and meditation at primary school level (both govt and public schools) where atleast some better thoughts are added into their impressionable minds before some of these kids move out to join labour workforce or higher studies.

7. We also as society needs to evolve. Media, social service organisations and civic leaders all have to play a role in this.

Everytime such incidents happen‌, unfortunately populist focus is more on punishment of culprits alone. Punishment is very much needed but it is only reactionary and doesn’t truly address the real issue.

Even if unfortunate, the public outpouring of sentiment at such times of crime should be funneled to shake the 3 wings (legislative, executive and judiciary) from lethargy for taking some proactive measures.

We should let the legal system to punish the culprits most appropriate for the crime and if required elected legislature should bring in new laws to reflect people ideas. Amendment of laws to reflect people ideas should be a continuous process in any democracy.

Few people are talking about public lynching and public hanging etc. Unfortunately we hear them not just in media by some emotional anchors, but also in parliament and legislative bodies etc.

First of all, technically speaking, no one should take law into their hands including elected individual legislature members. This has no place in a civilized society. Punishment should be based on the law of the land and not based on mob psychology.

To show fast-track and quick justice to appease populist emotional sentiment, it may force investigators to shortcut and make mistakes. Also prone for some powerful culprits to escape by pushing others onto death gallows. Its a delicate balance for all such scrime cases between speed and fact-finding.

Judiciary should not be forced to make mistakes for populism. Ofcourse, pending a case for years with no-end also removes confidence for common people non their judicial system. Its a delicate balance.

Secondly, if the focus goes only on the punishment of culprits and people get satisfied by public hanging/lynching, the real issues which needs to be addressed for stopping repeat of such crimes will take back seat.

It is ofcourse very disturbing in such incidents and more so for that particular family and friends. They are fully justified in seeking some quick reaction during this emotional turmoil phase.

But, whether those guys are hanged or life imprisonment or even publicly lynched, it has no effect on the future repitition of such crimes.

While people may emotionally talk about public hanging, iam sure no sane person enjoys any life to be hanged in front of them. It is sadistic and shouldn’t be encouraged in any civil society.

IMHO, whats needed is different set of actions in the government and civil society taking such incidents as an inspiration to get out of lethargy for reforms. As far as punishment goes, it is upto the law of the land.

Please add any other suggestions. May be some of them are already in place by the police systems, hopefully the most appropriate items will be discussed and taken by the law enforcement officials as feasible.

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