India’s police was basically fashioned by a colonial power i.e., the British, in order to administer a multi-layered, caste-ridden, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society against the nineteenth century setting. It has remarkably adapted itself to the developments of the post-Independence era in dealing with problems ranging from regional power pressures to ethnic violence. As a unified single entity at State and national levels, it is a potent instrument which influences significantly the administrative, political and social aspects of public life. In India, police were always equipped and armed with sophisticated gadgetry and weaponary to face any challenges of great magnitude. The awesome power police is always feared and viewed with suspicion. Powerful political processes led to police prowess but in times of instability, freely flexed muscles of police broke the backbone of many mass movements and authoritatively silenced the rebellious voices. Often shielded, Sometimes criticized and occasionally appreciated, police generally upholds the dominant political interests and tactfully skirts the legal issues. Police touches private and public lives unlike other organization and its intrusion is a matter of official and personal discretion, nothing is considered beyond the approach of police power. In order to explain the tricks and tacts of the trade, an insightful objectivity is needed to grasp the comprehensiveness of police prevalence in handling an intricate web of operation and sophistication while confronting social, political and individual problems, and important incidents and happenings. It is a difficult task to understand and project police image because there are always so many versions, shades and challenges that alter the focus, confuse the tapestry and cloud the vision. Inspite of profuse literature on the subject, ‘police’ defies definitions and also its precise identity and scope. The author has provided a penetrating study of police performance and the contextual relevance of its direction of development. The extent and scope of complexity and intensity of this organisation have been ably delineated with a view to shed light on the organizational nexus and social identities of mass pluralities vis-à-vis the police.
Prof. Mahendra Pal Singh (b. 1935) did his M.A. (Pol. Science) from Aligarh Muslim University, LL.B. from Delhi University and M.S. and Ph.D. from the School of Criminal Justice Michigan State University. He is currently serving as Assistant Professor at Grambling State University, Louisiane (USA). Police administration criminal investigation, crime control, juvenile delinquency, industrial security, comparative criminal justice systems and victimology are his areas of specialization. At Michigan he was involved in various research projects related to community based policing, foot patrol, crime focussed policing and detention of status offenders. He has presented learned papers at academic and professional conferences both at national and international levels. He is a member of a number of organizations, including Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, American Society of Criminology, America Society for Industrial Security, Association for Asian Studies and Southern Association of Criminal Justice Educators. Dr. Singh has been a senior police officer for more than eighteen years in the Metropolitan police in India. He is the author of Crime and Delinquency and has published several articles on international terrorism.
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