Each one of us must have had many experiences when suddenly something they had been thinking very high of turns out to be a big disappointment, at least in his/her perspective. The same happened to me when I actually came to know about the ‘Bratton experiment’ in policing.
Mr Bill Bratton was the Police Commissioner of NYPD (New York Police Department) during the Mayoral term of Mr Rudd Giuliani who is credited with having transformed the NYPD and for having controlled the crime in NY as never before, so as to having given it the perception of a crime-controlled place from being a completely lawless one.
The principle method adopted by him has been fancifully termed as Compstat. Here what Mr Bratton did was to call his police officers Precinct-wise (some kind of fundamental territorial jurisdiction which in our case is that of district, Sub division, Police station etc) and to discuss with them crime thread-bare, analyzing crime, asking for feedback and grilling the officers for their lapses, In a way it was for the purpose of instilling a sense of responsibility and accountability in his officers. What he did was to use rather aggressive language and tenor for his Compstat meetings and this had a great effect on the subordinate police officers, making them shiver in their pants and forcing them to yield wonderful results. All this was in the year 1993.
So far so good. But the real questions that arise out of this are-
1. If Mr Bratton did this (or sort of invented this in 1993), what exactly had his predecessors been doing so far?
2. If Mr Bratton is being praised and respected for his aggressiveness, what would one say about some of our own police officers who have been known to have used even abusive languages in derogatory and fear-instilling (and at times comical also) manner with the subordinate police officers?
3. Is the concept of accountability and responsiveness not the basic requirement of any kind of Police management?
4. Have not each of us done the same (in different measures and with different levels of success) in districts as Monthly Crime Meetings, as DIG/IG as Range Meetings and DGs as State level meetings?
This is one example (whose great fancifulness and supposed glory in the Western world policing organizations) makes me think that there are many things which Indian Police is doing in fantastic manners. Possibly what we lack the art of presentation of our work and the kind of documentation that the foreign police organizations go for.
Thus, what we learn from the Bratton experiment are-
1. All that glitters is not gold
2. Indian police also has so many things to showcase but we are possibly not doing it properly
3. Indian police needs to learn a lot about documentation and their proper presentation before common people
An IPS officer from UP