Police reforms is the need of the hour due to various reasons:
- Low expenditure: While state police forces are responsible for maintaining law and order and investigating crimes, central forces assist them with intelligence and internal security challenges (e.g., insurgencies). Expenditure on police accounts for about 3% of the central and state government budgets.
- High Vacancies: State police forces had 24% vacancies (about 5.5 lakh vacancies) in January 2016. Hence, while the sanctioned police strength was 181 police per lakh persons in 2016, the actual strength was 137 police. Note that the United Nations recommended standard is 222 police per lakh persons.
- Less Promotional chances: 86% of the state police comprises of constabulary. Constables are typically promoted once during their service, and normally retire as head constables. This could weaken their incentive to perform well.
- Inadequate Infrastructure: CAG audits have found shortages in weaponry with state police forces. For example, Rajasthan and West Bengal had shortages of 75% and 71% respectively in required weaponry with the state police.
- High Political interference: the Second Administrative Reforms Commission has noted that this power has been misused, and ministers have used police forces for personal and political reasons. Hence, experts have recommended that the scope of the political executive’s power must be limited under law.