Quick punishment, not guns, can ensure safety 4


 Achurch is attacked and the most obvious response is to deploy policemen at all churches. Some miscreants desecrate a temple idol and there is demand for giving police protection to all temples. Vandals target hospitals, ATMs, hotels and the knee-jerk reaction is to ask for deployment of police there too. There is a rape in public transport and there is an assurance of putting the men in khaki in each bus.
The supply of policemen is limited and demand unlimited! Basically, the same policemen keep getting shuntedfrom
churches to temples to mosques to hospitals to hotels and what not… standing as guards. Can society be made safer by putting gun-toting policemen to guard every stakeholder individually?
If so, then who will protect the common man on the street andensureelders,women and children walk safely at night? Who will attend to complainants who wait to be heard in police stations? Who will investigate the cases of murder, rape and cheating scientifically and professionally and go to courts to present evidence for trial? Instead of putting men in khaki everywhere, there has to be a disincentive for indulging in criminal activity by delivering quick and exemplary punishments. It is high time we differentiated between guards and policemen!
Innocents are brutally killed and public property is damaged under the glare of cameras (which are relayed endlessly) by known persons, and law takes its longdrawn course to establish the ‘truth’ which was obvious even to a blind person in the first place! Even after being arrested,they walk out on bail waving victory signs like heroes. Judicial delays and poor investigations leading to “honorable acquittals” defy logic for remaining a law-abiding citizen in our society and erode the credibility of the criminal justice system. Every time the perpetrators of violence go scot-free, it is an incentive for more lumpen elements to resort to lawlessness.
Society can become safer only by bringing perpetrators of lawlessness and crime to justice quickly and with certainty. Unfortunately, police areexpectedtodeliver within a legal system that runs on the premise that “everyone is innocent until proven guilty”, and proving guilt can take decades even in a simple case of theft. The principle of “bail is right andjailisexception” may reduce overcrowding in prisons but leaves society extremely vulnerable. Expecting a standard of proof “beyond all possibledoubt” instead of “clear and convincing” to declare any accused as ‘guilty’ places an unreasonable burden on the prosecution and ill-numbered and illequipped police. Not surprising that most criminals go scot-free. With a single-digit conviction rate in this country and endless levels of appeals, the victim is totally forgotten and neglected.
Thereis needfor a paradigm shift in the criminal justice system towards support and empathy for the victim instead of excessiveconcernfor the rights of the accused. Only then will criminals think twice before committing a crime, thereby making our society safer.
(The writer is additional
director general of police. The views expressed are personal)
DEFYING LOGIC: People are attacked under the glare of dozens of cameras but law takes its long-drawn course to establish the truth

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4 thoughts on “Quick punishment, not guns, can ensure safety

  1. Reply Farook Nov 22, 2013 9:29 am

    …and they talk of human rights. Does human rights apply to any these people who have killed innocent people in cold blooded murder, raped a few girls, involved in a couple of bank robberies and of course their usual business of Hafta Wasool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN2wAWQYqdI

  2. Reply Chandan Kundapur Nov 25, 2013 2:39 am

    Of all the comments and articles I have read on the topic, this is the only one that makes sense sir . Thank you for sharing this.
    Its almost given that the culprit would not start through such a major crime . Probably an intimidation somewhere, a mugging somewhere else that has gone unnoticed drives him towards taking up such larger activities . Lack of fear in the police and the justice delivery is a main reason for such escalating situations.

  3. Reply Chandan Kundapur Nov 25, 2013 12:28 pm

    Even as I write the post above , I realize the implementation difficulties at grass root level sir ! Today, one of my lady friend was snatched off her cell phone by 2 motor cycle borne youths . When complained to, the police refuse to acknowledge this and insist on filing a missing complaint only. I am not using this space to address this particular concern sir. But don’t instances like these build the complacency in the system ? In the same breath , I am also glad that systems like the IT initiatives you have put in place can address these issues to some extent

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