Human Rights and Police

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Guest Editorial

Police are here to protect our lives and property. For this reason to enable them to carry out their duty effectively they have been given some responsibility and some powers. But that does not mean that the police are above the law.

They are in fact bound by the law and have to act in accordance with the law. However in order to ensure that police do not abuse the powers given to them it is necessary and rather important for us to know our rights vis-à-vis the police.

Police are important building block of the criminal justice system that supposed to be worked in accordance with the rule of law. The credibility of the criminal justice system depends on the relative strength or weakness of the laws and procedures established for the police, the prosecution and the court system.

The police are an arm of the State vested with the primary responsibilities of law enforcement and prevention of crimes against the State and private citizens.

Enforcement entails taking notice of criminal infractions of the law as soon as they occur, ascertaining the facts of the case, apprehending the culprit who is subsequently presented by the prosecuting agency of the court, where the judge, considers the evidence brought before him during trial and decides whether the person so charged, is guilty or not. If found guilty the culprit is awarded punishment as laid down in law with adequate opportunities provided for appeal against the decision at a higher court.

The new concept for human rights that largely related to the police function as controlling iron bar is of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789; the following some basic points are ascribed to the declaration as the original philosophy of present human rights.

•           All men are born and remain free and equal in their rights.

•           All men are equal before the law.

•           All men should have the freedom from arrest.

•           All men are innocent until they are proved guilty, etc.

The human rights unfriendly behavior of the policemen most of the time, caused by the intrinsic character of the individuals like the aggressive and arrogant nature. Sometimes it is considered that due to such personal interest the individuals choose this profession.

However one broad social factor to be talked about is that the policemen are also the son of the soil, the breed of our corrupt society and a part of failed system; their negative action and nature are derived from the society itself.

Sometimes in order to avoid the victimisation from the powerful politicians, senior officers and their families and friends, the policemen prefer to breach the law and turn on bribery and favoritism. Policemen are dissatisfied on many counts. They work in conditions which abhor to many. The promotion prospects of middle and lower levels of policemen are far from being satisfied, they are statutorily required to work for twenty-four hours.

The people who retain police officers, at present, in their posts may be politicians who again suffer from lack of self-esteem and deterioration of value conscience. These police officers who are politician-friendly or servile make all attempts to please them and in so doing they violate human right. The studies show that so long as police officers cling to politician, to the affluent, to the influential in society, it is just not possible to have human rights friendly police service. Human rights friendly police may be a myth.

They think that they can do so for ensuring social welfare. We may call it ethical subjectivism. Protection of violating human rights is a legitimate and grave duty for police officers/men who have responsible concern over people’s life and property. If they do not show such responsibility, it shows that there is the defective formation of ego-concepts. Human rights-unfriendly police officers/men are those who suffer from defective ego-concepts and consequent status threatening.

“The police are an arm of the State vested with the primary responsibilities of law enforcement and prevention of crimes against the State and private citizens.”