It took former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi six months to get copy of the DGP's proposal on conducting a Crime Victimisation Survey, which would help judge performance and stop police from refusing to register complaints
Citizens are upset when important complaints or representations by them are not responded to by government authorities. It appears this is the way they are organised/disorganised! I have been pursuing the cause of getting a proper assessment system for police performance. Our present system of linking police performance is completely flawed since it is linked to number of crimes registered. This has given rise to the widespread practice of refusal to register crimes in most police stations. Instead of controlling crime, crime reporting and statistics are controlled. This is known as ‘burking’ and its widespread prevalence is known to almost everyone in the police.
While discussing this issue, I heard that Sanjeev Dayal, the Director General of Police (DGP) of Maharashtra as well as Police Commissioner of Mumbai, had given a proposal to the Home department for introducing a more rational ‘Crime Victimisation Survey’ of a nature held in many nations. This survey would be a good measure to judge police performance and could lead to a decline in the widespread illegal practice of refusal to register crimes.
I decided to find out the fate of this proposal. I sent an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Home Ministry (which was received on 31 December 2013) asking for a copy of the report. After sitting on the RTI application for about two months, it was transferred to the PIO of the Home department, which has still not been able to locate it. It appears this important proposal has been treated with contempt and carelessness.
I finally asked the DGP’s office for a copy and received it (see below). I think this is a great concept and would lead to meaningful evaluation of police in terms of their response to citizens. If we resort to appropriate evaluation methods for our police we could get better policing.
The project correctly identifies the key problem as ‘inadequacy of sensitivity by police in their professional interaction with common citizens, and Police not taking adequate cognizance of peoples' complaints on crime victimisation.’
If this project were to be discussed and implemented properly it could lead to improvements in ‘People's experience of being victims of crime, Including general perceptions of safety In localities,’ and an improvement in ‘People's level of comfort with their jurisdictional police for reporting victimization due to crime.’ This could lead to a better evaluation of police performance and thereby result in a better policing. Citizens should discuss this and consider persuading the government to consider the Police department’s proposal with some seriousness.
served as Central Information Commissioner under the RTI Act, 2005, during 18 September 2008 to 6 July 2012. He is a graduate in Civil Engineering from IIT-Bombay. Before becoming a full time RTI activist in 2003, he sold his packaging business. In 2008, he was conferred the Nani Palkhivala Memorial Award for civil liberties.)