From the gender rights perspective, the role of police in securing women’s legal rights as human rights is important. The Centre for Social Research (CSR), in its police training manual, ‘Facilitating Change – Restructuring Gender Relations’ has stated that police are the first point of contact in the criminal justice system that also has wide discretionary powers. Statistics reveal an increase in crimes against women. Guarding the society is the responsibility of law enforcement agency. In the aforementioned manual, CSR had kept in sight the middle and lower ranks of police officials. Generally the emphasis on gender training has targeted police personnel in higher echelons, but has ignored the lower and intermediate levels of officers.
Not only are there systemic errors in infusing gender component into the existing state organized police training, but also there is a lopsided distribution of training. The higher ranks of police officials are more sensitized as compared to the lower ranks of officers. The primary reason is the difference in their educational qualifications. The secondary reason is the extent to which the police officials find themselves interacting with the citizens. Since the lower ranks of police officials often interact with people, they are at the receiving end of pushback and mainstream media scrutiny. This puts them on the defensive mode in cases when the crimes are unresolved or the person who has allegedly committed crime turns out to be an innocent person.
The role of Civil Society Organizations like the Centre for Social Research (CSR) is in taking on the baton to create holistic capacity building programs that cover the existing loopholes in the system. In this endeavor, CSR has undertaken gender sensitization training for police officials with the intention of generating dialogue on sustained action in mitigation of crimes against women. National Police Academy (2015), Samba District Police Lines (Jammu – 2017), Bengaluru City Police (2017), Manipur Police Training College (2017) and Puducherry Police Training School (2017). In the years 2018-2020, in association with the Asia Foundation, CSR is conducting gender sensitization training for police officials in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, keeping in mind the context of urban spaces and women’s safety.