Undisciplined in SRPF

Whether it is SRPF jawan or district police constable, we senior officers firmly believe that the discipline in them has gone to the dogs.  We are equally firm in our belief that the only way to restore discipline in the constabulary is to rag them on the parade ground.  They are made to stamp the ground for hours together.

Does such sweating on the parade ground really restore the discipline?  Does it improve the efficiency?  Do they really become obedient?  Not in the least!  We senior officers do not go to the root of the matter.  The drills and parades may strengthen their muscles. The roots of indiscipline are however mental and not physical.  Do we try to strengthen their minds?  What needs strengthening is their mental power, not the physical power.  However this calls for exercising our own minds.  We senior officers are too lazy to do that and are therefore contended to direct the junior officers and trainers to put the jawans through the drills and parades. 

While studying the mentality and ethos of the senior officers of today, some images of my childhood came to my mind.  One particular person in my village was highly respected.  Anybody who wanted to write or read a letter had to approach this person.  He alone knew the new techniques of farming.  Whether it was purchasing a new bull, or settling a marriage, this man was invariable consulted.  Who was this person?  He was the village school teacher.  He was the know-all of the village.  This man is now no more that important.  The standard of literacy has now improved.  The services of the schoolteacher are no longer needs for reading or writing the post card.  Thanks to radio, TV and newspapers, general knowledge has spread wide & far.  The village school students’ knowledge often surpasses that of the old school teacher.  The old teacher has not kept abreast with the new developments.  He has stagnated.  The villagers naturally no longer need him. 

Same is the state of the SRPF officers ranging from the Head Constable to the senior officer. Their general knowledge, their knowledge of the laws & rules and administration and their skill often lags behind the new generation jawans.  They no longer command the same respect and are therefore not held in awe.

There is a world of difference between the old and the new generation.  The old generation had learnt under teachers that indulged in the indiscriminate use of the rod.  The new generation gets trained by teachers who understand them fully and bring them up in a friendly manner.  Thirty years ago, there was dearth of jobs.  Employees feared destitution if they lost their jobs.  Now it is very difficult to remove anybody from the job.  Even if he is removed he can still get another job.  The new generation has a better job guarantee and social security compared to 30 years ago. 

Shouldn’t the jawans be treated differently now?  Old generation SRPF officer lags behind the new generation jawan in knowledge.  The new generation is very ambitious.  They want to do something spectacular.  They belong to the jet age while his boss is still in the bullock cart age.  Should the old generation officer not change his outlook?  Should he not catch up with the new generation?  I am of the view that there is no point in blaming the new generation.  It is for the old generation officers to improve their leadership.  This according to me is the real solution to the problem.

Khillari Earth Quake

There was a serious earthquake at Khillari, the very next day after the Emerson of Ganapati.  I was then working as Deputy Director DTS (Detective Training School) at Nashik.  Many officers and men from various parts of Maharashtra were rushed to Khillari.  All the staff and trainees at the DTS were also ordered to rush to Khillari, so I took them there. The Army other police volunteers were rescuing persons trapped under the debris.  I was given a company of SRP and asked to help the affected person.  I got the SRP. officer and men to step down from their vehicles and assembled them. The SRP jawans had a 303 rifle in one hand and a lathi in the other.  Some carried shields.  All had helmets and carried haversack on their back.  I asked them to remove their battle gear and deposit it in their vehicles.  I told them that we have to clear the debris.  I was stunned by the response of the SRP officers and men.  “Sir, we have come here for bandobast duty.”  I repeated my instructions.  Some of them persisted.  “Sir, we are here for bandobast.” 

Khillari was not in need of a mob dispersal operation using lathicharge and firing.  It called for clearance of debris and the rescue of people trapped under the collapsed buildings.  SRPF men were reluctant to get their hands soiled.  They sincerely believed that debris clearance was not part of their duty.  It was not the mission of their organization.  What is the mission of the SRPF taught in our training center?  Is the SRPF organized for service to the people according to their need?  Are they trained accordingly?  This central issue came to my mind in Khillari operations.

There are two different concepts in modern management: selling and marketing.  Do we sell SRPF services or do we market them?

What do we mean by selling?  Suppose that the Hindustan lever company wants to sell a new brand of soap.  The company will assemble its key officers. The officers, the chemist, the sales officer would discuss the matter. They would decide on the nature of the new brand. They would choose the color, the size and the perfume.  The new product would then be put in the market for sale.  The need of the people is not taken into account.  In marketing it is just the reverse.  The company first sends its officers to meet customers and ascertain their expectations from the new brand.  They find out the preferences of the people regarding the color, size, perfume and price.  They would analyze the data and then proceed to manufacture a new brand of soap accordingly.  In short the product is manufactured to satisfy the peoples need.  Is the SRPF shaped to meet the expectation of the people they serve?  Is their motto, their policies, their training and administration designed accordingly? 

I feel that we are selling the SRPF rather than marketing it.  SRPF works under the command of the local police or the local magistrate.  SRPF has to work under their control to meet the needs of the people.  The SRPF should therefore be raised and run to meet their expectations.  Does it ever happen so?  Whenever I entered SRPF Group I Head Quarters, I noticed jawans moving around with firearms. Firing target posters of firearms and their parts were displayed all around.  Posters of human torsos indicated how and where to shoot to kill a person.  One got the impression that it was the devil’s training camp, training its agents to wipe out the human race from the face of this earth.  A major portion of SRPF training is reserved for fire arms training.  I decided to study what type of job the SRPF is required to do when placed under the command of the police station officer or the magistrate.

A questionnaire was circulated to officers & men of group I to ascertain the type of work they did in field operations.  I collected data regarding the types of job the Group did.  1100 men of the group narrated the type of work they did since joining the service.  The aggregate service of all the men came to 13,628 years.  The break up of the job was as follows. Firing: 182 occasions.  Retrieval of dead bodies from debris or in accidents: 6660 occasions.  Helping the flood victims: 4,180 occasions.  Fire fighting: 8120 occasions.  Helping injured in road accidents: 4260 occasions.  Physical labour/work: 23,020 occasions. 

In short the number of occasions where physical work was needed was 1400 times that of occasions when firearms were used.  This shows that on most of the occasions, the SRPF was called upon to render humanitarian help in calamities, its training was almost solely confined to use of the firearms.  The mission of the SRPF and its training is not decided in view of the expectations of its users. 

It is my considered view that the out dated, antique, rotten administration is mainly responsible for the lowering of the efficiency an effectiveness of the SRPF.  Senior officers are running the SRPF as per their whims and fancies.