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The general consensus at the one-day workshop on "Human values and Police" was unambiguous. Although it appeared at a superficial level that it was idealistic, if not utopian, to think of practicing values in the Police, deeper analysis showed that there was, in fact, nothing more urgently required and practical.

The workshop, which was attended by IPS officers of various levels of seniority, including those who have retired from the service, was held in the conference room of the Sai International school at New Delhi. Lt. Gen. M.L.Chibber presided over the proceedings and the guest convenor was sri H.P. Bhatnagar, retired director general of BSF.

The workshop felt that the function of the Police was not merely to maintain law and order. The police could transform the dominant value system of a society and create a citizenry with respect for law, justice and the rights of others. It could be a catalyst of change, especially in times like these when there was a great churning on. It could contribute in a dynamic way to the restoration of the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation by taking the side of the poor, the marginalized and the dispossessed in the society.

The argument that police officers could not be superior to others in society because they also came from the same general stock was rejected. A police man had to be better, because he was charged with the sacred duty of protecting the social order from various dangerous elements like criminals, drug-peddlers, terrorists, communalists and so on. Society trusted its policeman and gave them special powers to arrest, to search, to size, even to kill. The policemen had to repay the trust with honest, truthful and dedicated service.

There are, no doubt, various hurdles in the way of practicing human values. There are corrupt and powerful people who like to use the Police for their selfish interests. An individual officer has to decide for himself how to withstand pressures and still manage to practise the vocation of Policing in an honest fashion. Each officer had to devise his own lakshman rekha, demarcating the line he would not cross on any account.

There were many suggestions on how the practice of human values by the Police could be facilitated. Suggestions ranged from the need to modify laws and procedures, to providing modern gadgetry for conducting scientific investigations, to the grant of autonomy to the police as suggested by the national police commission.

At the same time it was felt that a lot could be done even within the present system. No one stopped a Police officer from training his subordinates in the art of living, meditation techniques, stress control or the art of dealing with the public. No one prevented Police officers from changing the entire organizational culture of the office they were called upon to head or to provide the right kind of leadership to their men.

Lt.Gen. M.L.Chibber summed up the discussion in the workshop as exemplifying the dilemma of leadership. It was the essence of leadership first to be and then to do. The hub of the universal inner structure of the good leader was selflessness based on an ideal or a vision. The potential of leadership was directly proportional to the range of one's vision and the extent to which one is capable of transcending the self.


Volume : PDS / 02 Date : SEPT 15 2003