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Post at: Jan 14 2022

Commissionerate system in Bhopal and Indore

Recent Context

  • Madhya Pradesh government implemented a police commissionerate system in Bhopal and Indore on 9th December, 2021.

More on News

  • The system was implemented nine years after the first announcement by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was made in 2012.
  • The ADG rank officers will be appointed as commissioners. 
  • Two officers of inspector general of police will be appointed as additional police commissioners and eight officers of superintendent of police ranks will be appointed as deputy commissioners.
  • Now, the commissioner will have powers under Police Act 1861, Prisoners Act 1900, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967, Poisons Act 1919, Motor Vehicles Act 1988, MP State Security Act 1990 and Official Secrets Act 1926.

Police commissionerate system

  • To begin with, a background into what is meant by police.
  • As per the Black‟s Law Dictionary, police is :

“the function of that branch of the administrative machinery of government which is charged with the preservation of public order and tranquillity, the promotion of the public health, safety, and morals, and the prevention, detection, and punishment of crimes.

  • Under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution, ‘Police’ is under the State list, meaning individual states typically legislate and exercise control over this subject. 
  • In the arrangement in force at the district level, a ‘dual system’ of control exists, in which the Superintendent of Police (SP) has to work with the District Magistrate (DM) for supervising police administration.
  • At the metropolitan level, many states have replaced the dual system with the commissionerate system, as it is supposed to allow for faster decision-making to solve complex urban-centric issues.
  • National Police Commission in the 6th report recommended that a system of Police Commissionerate should be introduced in cities with population of five lakhs and above and places where special conditions like speedy urbanisation, industrialisation, etc. demand it.

  • In the commissionerate system, the Commissioner of Police (CP) is the head of a unified police command structure, is responsible for the force in the city, and is accountable to the state government. The office also has magisterial powers, including those related to regulation, control, and licensing.
  • The CP is drawn from the Deputy Inspector General rank or above, and is assisted by Special/Joint/Additional/Deputy Commissioners.

Rationale of commissionerate System

  • Initially, the Commissionerate system was introduced in some metropolitan areas like Calcutta, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Madras. 
  • But over the years, it has extended to fast growing cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack, Pune, Nagpur, Vishakhapatnam, Ahmedabad, Mysore, Kochi, Trichy to name a few. 

  • As compared to police in districts, Police in commissionerates in small areas had given better accounts of themselves as per the 6th Report of the National Police Commission. 
  • It noted that changing dynamism and growing complexities of security threats required a swift and prompt response leaving very little time for discussion and debate. 
  • It found that having a direct and not a mere supervisory role of a senior police officer in the daily functioning of the police was a great advantage. 
  • The Commissioner needs to be a senior, mature police officer with adequate expertise having full authority over the force and functional autonomy. 
  • Though resisted, this can be started in urban areas with population of 10 lakhs and above, metropolitan areas and any other notified area as mentioned in the Model Police Bill, 2015. 

What will change by this system?

  • Policing is based on the Police Act of 1861. Under the colonial system, the overall in-charge of a district or region was the district collector; the SP reported to him.
  • The powers of the executive magistrate, such as issuing orders for preventive arrests or imposition of Section 144 CrPC, were vested in the district collector. 
  • This was called the dual system of police administration.
  • Under the commissionerate system, the commissioner does not report to the DM. In Mumbai and Delhi, he reports directly to the government. 
  • It gives an integrated command structure.
  • It helps fix responsibility with the Commissioner and eliminates blame game between civil administration and police when something goes wrong.

Way Forward

  • In the present context, with the Central Government keen on pushing the Smart Cities Mission, a professional and autonomous yet accountable police force is needed. 
  • Further, it would be helpful to take inputs related to safety, security and policing needs from the Commissioner of Police while planning any major developmental activity in an urban or metropolitan area as suggested by the Model Police Bill, 2015.
  • In order to introduce this system, the State or UT Police Act can be amended empowering the state governments or Central Government in a UT to create a Police Commissionerate and empower police officers to exercise powers of the District Magistrate and Executive Magistrate. 
  • This can be done on the lines of the Delhi Police Act, 1978 and the Orissa Urban Police Act, 2003.

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