In a conversation with International Business Times, India, the City Police Commissioner of Bengaluru, Bhaskar Rao, IPS, opened up about the challenges the police face on a day to day basis.
When asked how the police can make their police stations people-friendly, Rao said that it was a huge responsibility. He enumerated the criticism that the police face, like being considered rude, intemperate and unpredictable to name a few.
He said that's why when he visits a police station, he makes it a point to address all those working there. He said: "I ask them if you have ever been to a police station before joining the service. Most of them say no, they have not. I add whether there is any likelihood that you would visit a police station after you leave the dress."
He added: "I ask them how they would like to be treated when visiting a police station."
He went on to elaborate on the conditions and the thought process of a person before they enter a police station. He said a person doesn't come to a police station running. He added that a police station was not a restaurant or a mall someone could waltz into.
He said: "That a person thinks many times, "Should I go or should I not go" before entering a police station because Indians are very forgiving."
He said that people are forgiving and have an attitude of forgive, forget and move on. When a person comes to the police station and the person sitting in a position of authority deals with them. It is not the person that is dealing with them but the system. The dialogue is happening between a citizen and the system.
He said that to an aggrieved person, an inspector or a police commissioner all are same. So if an officer abuses, it is the system it reflects on. The same goes for when the officer is kind. It reflects on the system.
He said that most of the time, a person just wants to be heard. He went on to recall a general incident. He said: I had someone I had to listen to for twenty minutes before I lost my patience and asked them what they want. I asked, "What do you want?" Rao, elaborated that most of the time, a person does not know what they want. They say they want justice, to which he responded by saying that he can't take justice out of his pocket and give it to them. He asked for specifics in order of 1,2,3.
He segued into how more educated and young people are joining the police force and how they have to be sensitized, they have to be taught to respect people. And to do so, the Constitution of India is taught to these young officers.
He also emphasised the importance of grassroot leadership. He said that if grassroot leadership is strong, he can get more creative with his work, while if it is not, he would have to build up grassroot leadership sitting in his office.
A nugget he shared was that common sense should be the best law. He concluded by saying that India was a country with a huge number of people so these people needed to learn and to be empowered. He said that when it comes to a constable, he must allow him room to make mistakes, but at the same time teach him. If he is not empowered, he is just another body.
Watch the full interview below: