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The Law and Order Matrix in India requires a reboot

Context

The recently held annual All India Conference of Directors General/Inspectors General of Police saw a departure from the past when some topics that were discussed made their way into the public eye. This sparked some debate over how to handle certain issues, particularly those on the border.

Relevance

GS Paper-3: Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas – Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism

Mains Question

What actions are necessary to change the security discourse in light of the changing security environment and the complicated internal and external challenges it has brought about? Discuss


The DGPs/IGPs conference

  • The DGPs/IGPs conference, which replaced the earlier annual conference of Heads of Intelligence and CID of various States, is a relatively recent invention (1980).
  • The former conference used to focus on the specifics of police work, such as intelligence, crime and criminal investigation, technology, and forensics, but it now also covers a wide range of other topics, such as policy and personnel issues.

Challenges

  • In-depth discourse is suffering:
    • There is little room for in-depth discussion due to the abundance of topics being discussed at recent conferences and the presence of an increasing number of delegates to cover the various topics.
    • The nature of today’s security threats is all-encompassing, and there is an urgent need for in-depth discussions on cutting-edge policing topics like cybercrime, the dark web, crypto, maritime security, the threat posed by drones, as well as issues resulting from unrestrained social media.
    • These are in addition to discussions on topics like border issues, counterterrorism, and left-wing extremism.
    • Lack of time to thoroughly discuss these topics tends to degrade the quality of the debates and any potential solutions.
  • Multiple security agencies: The existence of numerous security agencies, including intelligence and investigative agencies, that infrequently act with a common purpose, adds to the problem.
    • They frequently use contradictory methods and techniques because of differences in their approaches.
    • Specialized agencies for unique requirements were supposed to be created by the proliferation of agencies, but this has not happened.
    • They frequently make proper analysis and investigation more difficult, rather than relieving the burden on individual agencies.
  • Adapting security scenario requirements: The changing security scenario creates numerous internal and external challenges. The prevalence of security issues will increase exponentially as the twenty-first century progresses.
  • Decision-making in these circumstances needs to undergo fundamental changes, entailing more purposeful discussion at higher levels. o Their dimensions are as yet unclear, but what is already evident is that the emerging challenges would require greater innovativeness and agility as well as a demonstration of newer cognitive skills to meet the challenges posed by swift technological change and the rise of data warfighting.

The following actions are necessary

  • Law and order management: This field currently requires a combination of newer skills, in both crowd management and technology, which are not readily available within security agencies.
    • Law and order management has suffered as a result of the majority of the nation’s security forces focusing their attention primarily on persistent threats like terrorism.
    • In addition to technology, managing today’s irate and frequently disorderly mobs requires a new set of abilities and inborn talents.
    • A harsh approach often leads to more issues than it resolves. In a time when newer techniques and abilities are needed, any approach of this kind only widens the gap between the public and law enforcement.
  • The need for more than just technological fixes: It is obvious that much more is needed than simply repeating the fact that technology, including artificial intelligence, can provide solutions to a variety of issues.
    • Recognizing the psychology of inciting mobs and, consequently, persuading them to see the dangers of their own tendencies before things spiral out of control, is an acquired skill that requires more attention.
  • Appropriate training and the right attributes: It follows that police and security agencies need to receive both adequate training and the right attributes.
    • This would necessitate a top-down strategy because there would be intense competition for resources among the agencies for other things like new developments in technology and weaponry.
    • It would be necessary even more to ensure support for any such action’s utilitarian components.
  • Pay close attention to selection: o Security agencies, particularly the police, will need to completely overhaul how they choose their employees.
    • The twenty-first century is proving to be very different from the twentieth, and selecting personnel to staff security agencies calls for higher-level consideration than has previously been given to this task.
    • The police forces frequently use a variety of tactics and skills as well as common imagery to keep track of how situations are developing, including on social media and Twitter.
  • For the police and security forces, this means that in addition to learning new skills, they must also adopt a new mindset that recognises that using force is not always the best course of action.
  • Open-Source intelligence: Effective use of open-source intelligence has the potential to be a deciding factor in many current law-and-order situations.
  • The need and the most effective way to use information from open sources are currently far apart.

Conclusion

  • The annual conference of DGPs/IGPs is too large in scope and size to effectively address these issues, and the current security discourse necessitates a re-examination of the types and range of threats as well as the approaches used to combat them.
  • It would produce more significant results that are better suited to present and future security needs to divide the conference into two distinct events, one for policy discussions among high-level officials and another for intelligence and security specialists.
  • A more thorough and open discussion of crucial security issues would be possible with the “small is beautiful” philosophy.

March 2024
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