Police Manual

The present police manual is based on the principles propounded by Max Weber and Fredrick Taylor. There are three volumes of the manual. These contain detailed rules regarding organization, staffing, control, direction, motivation and budgeting of the police force. To keep up with the times, the Head Office periodically sends correction slips to incorporate many changes. The manual has been recently translated into Marathi so that ordinary policemen may understand it. The Police Manual is considered the only effective tool for making the police force efficient. It is the Bible of the police force.

But is it really so useful? Is it worthy of the respect and importance it is accorded? What are the sermons of this Geeta or Bible to motivate the Force? As I have pointed out earlier, broadly, it advocates only two ways of motivation: Punish the striker and reward the worker. In short it advocates the policy of using carrot and the stick to prod the donkey. If at all the donkey refuses to move inspite of the carrot, prod it with the whip.

Max Weber's Principles of Administration

Max Weber (1864-1920) was a German sociologist. He described bureaucracy as the ideal system. He is called the father of modern bureaucracy. While serving as a professor in the universities at Hydelberg and Fribourg, he wrote "The Theory of Social and Economic Organization". Weber rendered a great service to humanity by putting forth the model rules of civil servants based on legality and rationality. He harmonized the concepts of science, politics, knowledge and practicality in his model. The seven concepts of Max Weber regarding the bureaucracy are used by the police department in the following manner:

  1. Police is a permanent organisation doing administrative work within the framework of prescribed laws, rules and regulations.
  2. Different levels of educational qualifications and capabilities are required for different posts: Thus educational qualifications, competitive examinations and training are essential for police recruitment. Various technical requirements have to be fulfilled in the recruitment of posts from the constabulary to the IPS. For example the qualifications for the post of the constable are Height 165 cm, unexpanded chest of 79 cm and expanded chest of 84 cm, 12th Standard pass and success at physical tests, written examination and interview. For the IPS the qualifications are graduation, prescribed age limit and successful passing of the UPSC competitive examination.
  3. A hierarchy is prescribed of various levels of officers one over another _ in the Police we have Constables, Head Constables, Jamadar, Police Sub-Inspector, Deputy Superintendent of Police right up to Director General of Police. This hierarchy resembles the Hindu system of the four Varnas or stratas of society.
  4. Technical rules and norms are created for effective working of the bureaucracy. Employees are given special training for easier implementation of these rules and regulations: In Weber's model, each rank of the officer is given specific authority and task. A Police Constable cannot investigate any offence.
    A Head Constable can. Station House officer shall be responsible for the police station. He cannot punish staff under him. The head of district police would be of the rank of Superintendent of Police assisted by Deputy Superintendent of Police and Inspector of Police. The duties and authority of each rank are well demarcated and nobody can exceed them.
    For example - The superintendent of police is authorized to spend Rs. 10,000/- He cannot spend a single paisa more. Every officer is given powers of punishment and rewards to his subordinates so that he can make them work. The circumstance in which these are to be used and the manner of the use are well defined. The jurisdiction of each officer is defined. Hence nobody can interfere in the work of another.
    For example - The station House officer of a particular police station cannot dabble in matters occurring in the jurisdiction of another police station. In order to ensure coordination and uniformity, rules and norms have been prescribed. Officers change but the Rules and Norms remain the same. This gives the organization continuity and stability. Starting from prohibition on smoking in the police station to security of the President of India, every thing is laid down.
  5. Weber says the ownership of the means of production and the bureaucracy producing it should not be the same: In police department it means that once an officer is transferred, he has nothing to do with the charge. Men get transferred but the rules remain. It does not matter who is holding the post of Superintendent of Police or the Director General of Police. The administration of the district at the state should run in the same manner.
  6. The bureaucrat cannot evaluate his own performance nor can he derive any personal benefit from his office. It is presumed that everybody is working as per the law or the rule. Hence it follows that nobody can be removed from service without a departmental inquiry. Bureaucrats are promoted as per seniority in the service.
  7. The administrative rules, orders and decisions are always in writing. Even oral discussions are as per the rules. Decisions in oral discussions are binding and hence minutes of each meeting are maintained. The bureaucrat has to be free of fear or favor. He must be a neutral person. He need not be over enthusiastic about his work. It is presumed that he would be concerned with the laws and rules rather than humanitarian considerations.
    In order to ensure strict impartiality, he is expected to keep aloof from his seniors and juniors. He should refrain from developing bonds of personal friendship or allegiance. His behavior and decisions should in no way be influenced by considerations of caste, creed, relationship, religion, territorial loyalty or politics. According to Weber the bureaucrat is a rational actor. Bureaucracy is based on rationality. This means that it should be sensible, logical, reasonable and proper.

The other powerful influence on policing was thinking of Frederick Taylor, an American Engineer. He projected Weber's thoughts through his study of time and motion. His theories were initially used in the factories. Later, these pervaded government administration. He is treated as the father of scientific management all over the world. He is the first person to hold that Administration is an exact science. According to him planning and execution of work is a matter of scientific administration.

The theories of Weber and Taylor can be summarized as follows. Set rules must be framed for running the police force, or any other organization. Set techniques should be evolved. Those who defy or violate these should be punished. The limits of the authority of the bureaucrat and his control over the people should be defined. Officers and men should be made responsible. They should be given adequate authority to discharge their functions. If this is done properly, the organization or the group of persons would work as smoothly as a well-oiled machine.

Along with Weber and Taylor, Gulick Luther and Urwick made significant contributions in this direction. They wrote a treatise: `Papers on Science of Administration', which is widely recognised as a significant work. Apart from other important contributions they coined the word POSDCORB. Each alphabet explains different jobs essential in administration. P-Planning, O-Organization, S-Staffing, D-Direction, Co-coordination, R-Reporting B-Budgeting. This word seems to have been used in evolving the police manual.

When Weber proclaimed that Bureaucracy is the most ideal arrangement in the world it was the beginning of the 20th century. He had evolved this arrangement for the reformation and progress of the western societies, keeping in view the organization, progress, changes, needs and objectives of the western society. According to Weber consistency, rationality and intellect is the ethos of Western civilization. He therefore created a framework of rules based on this. He expected the civil servants to act scrupulously and logically as per these rules.

Max Weber's system was the best system of his time in terms of credibility, discipline, usefulness, effectiveness, accuracy, rigidity and constancy and could be applied to any organisation. Thanks to Weber, a strong police organization, working in accordance with rules, independent of individual personalities came into being. Since rules have been framed in all details, it makes no difference who holds the office of the Commissioner of the Police or the Director General of police. This is the central theme of Weber's model. He was of the firm opinion that there can be no alternative to this system if the organization is to function effectively and last for generations.

Thus in bureaucracy, the role of every individual member is well defined. The course of action for everybody is streamlined. Everybody knows what would result in a punishment. The entire conduct of the individual member is so streamlined that the entire organization works as a well-oiled machine. The entire set up is based on scientific principles. Recruitment is regulated by educational qualifications and skills, selection is through competitive examination and training by the department ensures rationality. Each bureaucrat is therefore expected to behave as a rational actor. Does the bureaucrat in a developing country like India really behave as a rational actor? Will he continue to behave as a rational actor in the future too?

The Police manual prescribes the same technique. It classifies mild and grave mistakes and advocates graded punishments for them. The rules of holding departmental inquiries for punishments are given in great detail. It prescribes various rewards for good performance. Starting from the commendation note to the President's Police Medal, it gives in detail the conditions to be satisfied. The manual has full faith in the `carrot and stick' method for achieving success. The method and policy is, however, no longer effective. Even verbatim implementation of the manual does not guarantee results or maintenance of discipline.

So many new ways and means of motivation have been discovered. How many of these figure in the police manual? Police work is vastly influenced by external factors like political, social cultural developments. Has the police manual taken note of these? Which party is in power? Who is the Home Minister? These have great impact on policing. Is it possible for the manual to keep pace with such transient developments? Changes in the outside world have been both very fast and profound. Is the policeman following the manual and trained in the police training schools in a position to face these changes?

The renowned thinker Peter Drucker says that every institution should review its objectives and working systems every five years. Has any effort been made to review the police manual? According to Drucker we should review our policies, projects and strategies for policing in the 21st century. We ought to decide which ones are to be continued, which abandoned and which modified. What guidance does the manual provide in this regard? In the face of monumental changes in the society, we have staunchly refused to look beyond our outdated manual. The police manual has failed to take cognizance of further research.