Director-General of Police (DGP) C. Sylendra Babu has instructed the police in subordinate ranks not to use physical force on suspects in the process of detecting a crime but instead confront them with facts.
With two months to go for his retirement from service, Mr. Babu has called for a meeting of station house officers (SHOs) in the rank of Inspectors/Sub-Inspectors of Police across Tamil Nadu in different batches here. The SHOs are being sensitised on the importance of a humane approach towards petitioners and other aggrieved persons walking into the police stations.
According to police sources, Mr. Babu advised the police not to use force on suspects as non-detection of a crime was much better than torture or death in custody. Investigators should confront accused persons with indisputable evidence rather than force to establish the truth.
Mr. Babu said deploying more human intelligence in the field would help in building a better police-public rapport. Even one instance of police excess or violation of human rights in any corner of the State would bring to question the credibility and reputation of the entire force, a situation which should be avoided at all costs.
Real videos showcasing instances where the police got bouquets or brickbats were shown to them to drive home the point on what was expected from them and what was not. “Among the videos was one which shows an old woman sitting at the entrance of a police station being shooed away by a head constable while another comes to her rescue and pacifies his angry colleague to calm down. The police man asks the elderly woman to come back the next day assuring her of proper action,” a senior police official said.
The incident, which happened at the Pallipalayam police station in Namakkal district, drew sharp criticism from civil society after the video went viral in the social media. The head constable was placed under suspension. More than 20 such videos are being shown to the SHOs, the sources said.
Though there have been no deaths in custody reported in the State in the last six months, the meeting of the SHOs gains significance in the backdrop of the alleged custodial torture of suspects in the Ambasamudram sub-division in Tirunelveli district, where Assistant Superintendent of Police Balveer Singh allegedly used pliers to pull out the teeth of accused persons.
While the young IPS officer has been placed under suspension. A criminal case has been registered against him and the investigation transferred to the Crime Branch CID for further investigation.
The training programme, which will conclude soon with the last batch of SHOs, is expected to bring about courteous behaviour, accountability and leadership change in dealing with the public, the police official said, adding that the DGP was hopeful that the emotional appeal would trickle down to the police constable level and pave the way for a police force free from custodial deaths in the future.