Police manual overhaul close to completion, awaiting govt nod: DGP

PUNE The reworked police manual, a three-volume document, which promises to be much more exhaustive than its previous editions, is awaiting a nod from the state government, according to Subodh Jaiswal, director-general of police (DGP), Maharashtra.

Maharashtra Police Manual deals with three broad categories of police work. The first volume deals with the administration of police force, the second maps out finance, supplies and office procedure, and the third define powers and duties of the police.

The new police manual will have detailed protocols for dealing with victims and survivors of crimes against women. This is something that has not found a place in the official state police manual till date.

With the changing nature of crime and community, the changed manual – if the officers involved are to be believed – will potentially bring about a change in the relationship with the police and the people they are sworn to protect.

The manual was first published in 1959 under the title Bombay Police Manual.

He said that a team led by Maharashtra Police Academy (MPA) director Aswati Dorje and former additional director general (ADG) training Sanjay Saxena was created to undertake the task. “The team wrote to the government which in-turn created a team of deputy secretaries – law, home, general administration department (GAD) – to gauge the potential of the proposal the police officers had made,” according to Jaiswal.

“It was a year-long effort by various teams. The intensive work went on for about six months. We worked through holidays and weekends to make it happen as various documents were needed to be referred to,” said Dorje.

“The manual requires to be based on the laws, rules, procedures, orders, circulars, guidelines from the government, manuals of other organisations and states, all of which required massive referencing and compilation of material. We made smaller teams to work on each of the three volumes and consulted with government functionaries, senior officers handling the particular specialised branches, lawyers and experts in each of the topics,” she said.

Some of the highlight of changes in the manual

INVESTIGATION OF CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN

There has been a flood of legislation on the topic of crimes against women which was not a part of the earlier manuals.

Further, there has been a shift from why it happened to the particular victim/survivor to what happened to her and this had to be reflected in the manual, along with a more empathetic approach, according to Director Dorje.

The law now requires the police to go to the woman’s house or a preferred location to interview her, instead of calling her to the police station.

While the functional changes will only be known if and when the manual is published, the officer heading the overhaul pointed out that the process will be more sensitive towards victims and survivors.

Among major changes will be the method and sensitivity in the collection of evidence and in the application of the law while taking into consideration whether the woman wants to register a complaint or not.

CYBER AND ECONOMIC OFFENCES

With the fast-changing nature of the crime, the emphasis has been given on the investigation of cyber and cyber-enabled offences.

“Emphasis has been given on detailing the procedure for collection of evidence in the different cyber offences,” said Director Dorje.

Guidelines and important steps to be taken in the investigation of different economic offences have also been introduced.

USE OF POLICE FORCE

The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) manual, as well as circulars and guidelines by the police leadership over the years, were referred to while putting together the chapter on the maintenance of public order. Additionally, an Instruction Manual for the London Metropolitan Police, published in the 1930s, was even referred to for its language describing the different stages of use of force in law and order situations.

“The goal of the policies set by the machinery then was to control people by hook or by crook. That cannot work anymore. Unit commanders now have to be given clear guidelines and standard operating procedures on dealing with different situations affecting public order,” said Dorje.

Along with these areas, the manual will make massive changes in recruitment procedures, training, service conditions, budgetary powers, auditing, and documenting.

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