<%-- Page Title--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
criminal justice system and our police
in a changing environment
foremost duty of the state is to ensure security thereby ensuring the
protection of the individual's dignity and total development. These two
functions devolve on the police force also. The traditional police functions
have undergone considerable change in a democratic polity. Ours is a democratic
society in which people may participate in the policy formulation and
implementation at all levels of political and administrative system. The
politico-administrative system is accountable to the people. The effectiveness
of the administrative system in a democracy lies in its intimate relationship
with the people. The police being one of the most significant component
of the criminal justice system and an important segment of the overall
administrative setup is no exception to the foregoing reality. However,
a police system conceived and grown in a colonial ecology and planted
in a developmental, democratic and prismatic environment finds it difficult
to obtain and secure a close cooperation of the people for discharging
its functions and fulfilling the expected role efficiently. It is necessary
make an effort to understand the twin concepts of criminal justice and
environment so that the role perception of the police system in the changing
environment, challenges emanating from the systemic stress and strains
can be identified and as such viable response may be formulated.
of criminal justice system
The objective of the criminal justice system is to control arbitrariness
and guarantee equal status to all citizens, promote sense of security,
ensure rights of victims and the accused, motivate the public to participate
in the crime prevention process etc. It is needed to protect social values
and procedurally ensure fair play and justice to all. The criminal justice
system can be a barometer of civilisation in a society, an indicator of
the operational patterns of "due process model" against the
"enforcement model". It is intricately related to the legislative,
executive and adjudication systems. Police is a limb of the executive
system, the judiciary or adjudicate system which takes its energy from
legislative system. Out of this, police plays a very significant role
in the criminal justice system. Before analysing the role and functions
of police it might be relevant to understand the concept of the system
broadly in the context of the criminal justice system as all branches
of criminal justice work for a common goal.
The criminal justice system operates in socio-economic, political and
developmental environment in which a community lives. The social systems
and conventions, legal and constitutional provisions try to keep the society
in equilibrium. However, the environmental pressures, stress and strains,
change and dynamism often incite an individual or group to violate the
customs and convention, rules and regulations, laws and constitutional
provisions. The violation of law results in law and order situation in
which crime and criminals thrive. In such a situation, the aspirations
of the community is the maintenance of peace and prevention and detection
of crime. The police, courts, prosecution and correction are the four
arms of the criminal justice administration to fulfil the aspirations
of the people.
of police in criminal justice system
The police is the initial arm of the system mentioned hereinbefore. If
violation of law is input and reduced crime in society is the output,
then all the four arms of criminal justice are processes on whose efficiency
the success of criminal justice depends. The input is what that system
deals with, process is how the system deals with and the output represents
the result of the process. The output of judicial system may be societal
success with crime and the output of correctional sub-system could be
the corrected offender. One has to identify the linkage of the police
system with the other sub-systems of the criminal justice system. The
functions of police are largely enforcement of laws and maintenance of
order and investigation of crime, detection of criminals, arrest, collection
of evidence and getting conviction. On the preventive front the police
is to keep strict surveillance on juvenile delinquents and enforce the
preventive laws. This may be understood as per the following frame:
In the above context if the process is not earnestly followed the conviction
in the background of liberal, legal and judicial system is not possible.
This will, therefore, contribute to a growth in the volume of crime and
might tantamount to ineffectiveness of the system wherein the process
would appear unsuccessful in converting the input in desirable output
or translate constitutional values into realities. The constitutional
value depicts general spirit of service to people specially weaker sections,
women and children, handicapped, serving the people in natural calamity
and functioning as per rule of law and due process of law. Whether and
how our police system can successfully achieve all these values in the
larger context of criminal justice system demands a serious review.
Our police system as part of the overall administrative system functions
in an environment consisting of all the human and non-human phenomenon
that exist within a polity, meaning in our case the national political
system. The social configuration, cultural ethos, economic exercises,
political processes and psychological compulsions all form the part of
the environment. Their actions and interactions not only create but transform
the overall existing environment and as such the demands of the people.
In our context the environment has undergone significant transformation
and as in most countries of the world the development activities have
not succeeded in stalling the upward swing in crime, as evidenced in the
crime statistics. Serious crimes have not, however, registered an alarming
increase as some quarters would like to impress upon.
need for reform
The environmental change in post 1971 period has made the law and order
and crime scene very complex, Group tensions, increased number of unemployed
youth, industrial unrest, inadequately planned urbanisation etc. have
enhanced the crime figures. Economic crimes like adulteration, counterfeiting,
drug trafficking, hoarding, black marketing have increased. There is,
thus, a need of a skilled, expert and a talented police organisation which
can reduce the rate, volume and fear of crime. Each sub-system of the
criminal justice system should function in unison for a common goal. The
police has a primary role in the criminal justice system. The process
of police system demands close thinking and reforms without being oblivious
of the reality that timely and right registration of the case, a dedicated
investigation and effective prosecution will hopefully lead to the conviction
of the criminal.
The norms for checking the efficiency of the police could be as under
-Whether a sense of security prevails in the community.
-Whether people are willing to cooperate and participate in the programmes
meant for the prevention of crime.
-Whether police registers FIR promptly and officer visit the scene of
incident and conducts proper investigation.
-Whether law and order is being maintained with people's cooperation.
-Whether there is a feeling of service in police personnel towards woman,
children and handicapped.
-Whether police renders service to the people during natural calamities.
It is desirable that police personnel together with other sub-systems
of the criminal justice system make serious effort for converting the
input into desirable output mentioned hereinbefore, while sustaining the
criminal justice system. The state should update the Police Act to suit
democratic values and culture and equip the organisation with most modern
gadgets. The police should be guided in becoming effectively accountable
to the real sovereign -the people.
Muhammad Nurul Huda is former Secretary of Bangladesh Government and
former IG of police.