In the findings of a first-ever independent study, conducted by the Public Administration Department of the Himachal Pradesh University found that Himachal Pradesh is not free from political interference, corruption, besides being ill-equipped and not so quick and efficient in delivering services to the citizens. Some policemen are highly stressed, frustrated and exploited by their supervisors, bureaucracy and influential citizens. Districts of Kangra, Bilaspur and Hamirpur face highest level of political interference in police functioning, which has dented the image of the organisation.
The study, commissioned by the police department, was mandatory under the new Police Act, said DGP Diljeet Singh. “It is completely scientific to know the citizens’ satisfaction level and also their response to the services delivered by the police at thana levels. We will look into some parts of the study which requires immediate action and circulate this to all SPs and head of the police ranges, besides making it available on the official website without any editing or alternations,” he said.
In terms of overall rating of police services, the study stated: “As many as 47.6 per cent of the general public holds a perception that the rating of Himachal Police is average, another 32.2 per cent rated it as poor, 12.52 per cent considered it good and 6.6 per cent rated as very good. People below 30 years of age and the student community have rated the Himachal Police as poor.”
The study also revealed that the police use force on the accused to accept allegations levelled against them either to save their skin or to favour high-ups in the society. It added that 41.7 per cent accused had said that they were forced to accept the charges levelled against them. District-wise distribution of accused revealed that in Una, Hamirpur and Chamba, more than 80 per cent accused were pressurised to give favourable statements.
According to nearly 80.8 per cent of witnesses summoned by the police, they had to wait up to two hours to get their statements recorded. As many as 15.8 per cent witnesses had to wait up to three hours or more. Also, while 58.3 per cent witnesses claimed that the police personnel posted in police stations are sometimes abusive and arrogant, 22.5 per cent witnesses opined that police personnel at large were nonsensical and arrogant.