"At the outset, I warmly welcome all the young IPS Officers to the Indian Protection Scheme. I compliment all of you for making it to the elite Indian Police Service after succeeding in one of the toughest selection process. You are among the finest talent of our county. You are now being groomed for leadership roles in ensuring the internal security of our country. Integrity, Professionalism and Service (IPS) orientation shall be the motto for all of you as you gear up for these responsible and challenging roles.
Iternal security lays the essential foundation for the Prosperity of our nation by ensuring a Stable socio-economic environment. You are going to shoulder huge and challenging responsibilities in this regard in the form of providing leadership in IPS and seven other Central Armed Police Forces viz., Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, Shasastra Security Bal, National Security Guards and Assam Rifles. Huge opportunities and challenges lie ahead of you on the completion of your training at this prestigious training institute named after the unifier of India, the great Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
It gives me intense pleasure to address you today. I see in you the sparks of enthusiasm, energy, commitment and sincerity to serve the people of our great democracy. You are being shaped as a Police Professional by the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy which is named after one of the greatest sons of our nation, who was among the tallest of the builders of modern India and its federal polity.
As new entrants to the Indian Police Service, you inherit a past etched with the examples of great courage, valour and sacrifice of thousands of policemen and women. This glorious past should motivate you further to discharge your duties with firmness, selflessness, commitment and dedication. Our countrymen will look upto you for your attention to their varied needs and problems. Our country is defined by ethnic, religious and cultural diversity which is surely a source of both strength but may also lead to centrifugal tendencies if not handled sensitively. The ethnic disturbances, erosion of inter community relations, insensitivity towards other faiths, disrespect to the value of human beings are of major concerns for us. Your role becomes very vital to control proactively the communal forces in our country affecting the unity and integrity. Since independence, our country has traversed a long path to the present status of being recognized as a major world power. The journey has by no means been smooth and the challenges ahead shall by no means be small, The police forces, both state and central, shall play a central role in this stride.
In today's world internal security and national security are intrinsically linked and part of the same set. National security cannot be ensured without peace and stability within our own borders. This fact situates the role of police as central in national security. Furthermore, good policing is essential for a vibrant democracy. The democratic polity today, in addition to the basic needs, also demands 'good policing'. This is a very healthy sign, and it emanates from the realization that there is a strong positive correlation between the quality of policing and the pace of development. Social order, peace and tranquility are essential pre-requisites for progress and development.
The biggest threat our country faces is terrorism - be it in J&K, North-East or Naxalisam, Police forces have been at the center of India's response to counter this multi-headed monster. While the state response should be strong and appropriate, experience shows that there are numerous challenges. While there cannot be any compromise on security, we have to ensure freedom to the people at same time. The time has come when use of force by the police has to be circumscribed by the ideals of rule of law, whatever be the provocation. Policing by consent should be the road-map for the future. Nudging the people on the fringes of criminality to become law abiding citizens and taking exemplary action against the habitual and repeat offenders should be the order of the day. This is the quality of policing that people expect today. This demand for good policing, while a challenge for you today is also an opportunity for you, the young leaders of the police force.
Crimes against women and children are a great cause for concern. You are required to address these crimes with heavy hand and with utmost sensitivity towards the victims. Other problems related to the atrocities on Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other vulnerable sections of our Society need to be dealt with sternly.
As police leaders I urge you to dedicate yourself to the technological upgradation of the police. The police force has to develop expertise in using modern technology in police work. Our country's vulnerability to cyber crime is escalating as our economy and critical infrastructure is becoming increasingly reliant on interdependent computer networks and the Internet. Large-scale computer attacks on our critical infrastructure and economy can have potentially devastating results. Train yourself to develop competence in handling cyber crimes intelligently.
Innovative programmes in collaboration with the community will help police function more effectively. Grass root level intelligence will further improve with the participation of community in policing as partners.
You should value learning and continuously upgrade your professional knowledge. Your learning should also encompass acquiring soft skills like effective listening, empathy, team building and stress management.
Swami Vivekananda once said that he looked forward to the day when our young men and women would be possessing "muscles of iron and nerves of steel and a mind made of such stuff of which thunder bolts are made". I hope that you will personify the vision of Swami Vivekananda.
There is a serious trust deficit between the public and the police in our country. Police is seen as the last option by the people. The general saying is that one is lucky if one is not required to going to the police station. Instead, police should emerge as the first option to go to in case of any problem. Young police officers should endeavour to create such a situation.
This is possible of policing is done with a human touch. The way the lower level constabulary and officials deal with the public need to be vastly improved. Young officers should provide effective leadership roles in this regard. I am sure you are being told about this as a part of this basic training. Police at all levels should know how to smile while dealing with the public. An element of civility in your interaction with the general public infuses a certain degree of comfort and confidence among the people. That is the way police can emerge as the preferred and first choice of the people who come to you in the times of need and for redressal of their grievances.
Further to the report of the National Police Commission in 1977, several initiatives are being taken to reform the police forces with the goal of ensuring policing with a human face. But we are still a long way to go to inspire confidence among the people in police forces. People and the police need to come together in an environment of mutual trust and confidence.
Young police officers need to be equipped with the means and ways of enhancing the legitimacy of policing and strategic thinking as core principles.
Nineteenth century police reform in Britain is often held as a mirror in any conversation on police reform. They created an independent police force, thereby bestowing the police with the legitimacy to maintain order. The police in the United Kingdom do not carry arms, but they are equipped with the most potent weapon of policing – the consent of the people for policing society.
Police officers need to be equipped with strategic thinking for seeing the broader picture and the context of policing in a diverse country like India. A parallel can be drawn to the United States Army’s realization after the Vietnam war that their military leaders need knowledge of history, sociology and internal relations, far more than proficiency at tactical platoon level drill. The diversity of challenges for a graduate of the US Military Academy today ranges from the South China Sea to the mountains of Afghanistan and the streets of Mosul in Iraq.
When our current generation of police chiefs were trained at the National Police Academy, computers and mobile phones were not in great circulation. No academy could have prepared them for the jobs they do today. The way the US Military Academy trains is by focusing on strategic thinking and even encouraging their graduates to go on long study programmes to maintain their intellectual edge through out their careers. This is how they come to head the army and intelligence set ups and play a pivotal role as equal partners with foreign policy and security establishments in deciding on the role of the US in a changing world.
IPS has produced great leaders like Rustamji, RN Kao, BN Mullick, Ashwinin Kumar, JF Rebeiro, KPS Gill and so on. Two National Security Advisors – KN Narayanan and Ajit Doval have come from your ranks. I expect you to rise to such heights.
Professionalism, Objectivity and Independence of mind shall guide in discharge of your duties and responsibilities. Policing should be kept of political interference. Police officers should maintain a safe distance from politicians and be seen more with the people. People should not go to a politician before they decide to come to police station.
I wish you a very bright and promising career in the service of the people of this largest democracy.