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Initiatives toward Reform

The fact that the Police Act of 1861 had failed to produce an efficient and a professional police force had been realized even by the British. A major effort to improve the system was made in 1902, the very beginning of the last century, when the Government appointed a Commission under the chairmanship of Sir A.H.L. Fraser to examine the system and suggest changes. The Commission made many recommendations but either failed to recognise or conveniently ignored the fact that most of the ills afflicting the organistion could be ascribed to the system established by the Police Act of 1861 and the philosophy of policing that was prescribed. The colonial system of policing established by the Act thus continued to remain in existence.

The advent of Independence changed the political system, but the police system remained more or less unaltered. However, the need for change and reform in the police had been realized widely. Throughout the 1960s, many state governments took initiatives to set up commissions to examine the problems of the police and suggest improvements. During the 1970s, the Government of India became active and set up the Committee on Police Training in 1971, and later the National Police Commission in 1977.

The failure of these initiatives to usher in reforms was mainly due to lack of action by the government in implementing the recommendations of the expert commissions and committees. This led to efforts from non-governmental actors in the 1990s to pressurize the government to consider and implement the recommendations of the expert bodies.

The following major initiatives have been documented here:


The State Police Commissions
The Gore Committee on Police Training
The National Police Commission
A Letter from the Union Home Minister
Police Reforms and the Supreme Court: Prakash Singh v/s Union of India
Writ Petitions (Criminal) Nos. 340 - 343 of 1996
The Ribeiro Committee on Police Reforms

The Padmanabhaiah Committee on Police Reforms
The National Human Rights Commission
The CHRI's Initiatives
Initiatives by State Governments