How diverse is the Indian police? Not much, according to the “Status of Policing in India Report 2019,” or SPIR. According to the report, marginalised communities, such as the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes are under-represented in the police forces of almost all the states. Common Cause, an NGO, and the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, a social-science research institute, prepared the report by using official government data and surveying close to twelve thousand police personnel across 21 states.
The findings of the report suggest that state police forces recruit primarily from upper-caste communities. When presented with these findings, retired police officers did not seem to see any issues. Instead, they emphasised that the principles of reservation and diversity are not given importance while recruiting personnel. “At the time of police recruitment, anyone who is physically fit is selected and, to the best of my knowledge, there is no discrimination,” Prakash Singh, a senior retired IPS officer who has served as the director general of two state police forces, said.
“If people from certain communities are not coming forward it is their problem and there is hardly anything that the police can do,” he added. Singh is the chairman of the Indian Police Foundation, a think tank that works on the efficiency and social sensitivity of the police. The think tank provided letters of endorsement to the SPIR team, which helped in its data collection. Vipul Mudgal, the director of Common Cause, however, emphasised the importance of diversity. “No one is saying that one should have token representation, but all the vulnerable sections should be represented,” Mudgal said.