Ethics in Policing with Special Reference to Chandigarh Traffic Police

 

Kaveri Tandon1*, Moirangmayum Sanjeev Singh2

1,2Research Scholar, Centre for Police Administration, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

 

ABSTRACT:

Police is one of the most important pillars of criminal justice system and entitled with lots of responsibility. Traffic management is one of work, which police need to perform very well and it requires ethics in their working. Ethical standards are crucial to any organisation, particularly the police service, as ethical behaviour is the first line of defence against misconduct and corruption. Any lowering of the high ethical standards the community expects of police can be corrosive and lead to a decline in integrity, and a subsequent loss of public confidence in the Service. The vast majority of police officers are honest and ethical, at least in their personal, or ordinary, morality, but all of them pay the price for decreased public confidence and trust when there is little respect for police ethics. The study will focus on the perception of 100 citizens residing in Chandigarh regarding the ethically working of Chandigarh Traffic Police. The paper will be divided into three parts. Part I deals with the introduction and importance of ethics in working of traffic police. Part II deals with the analysis of citizen’s perception about traffic police and their ethical working. Part III deals with the conclusion and suggestions.

 

KEYWORDS: Criminal justice system, Traffic, Traffic Police, Ethics, Morality etc.

 

INTRODUCTION:

In primitive communities the police organizations were extraordinary simple and had a very limited scope. The increase in population and advancement in civilization and means of communities have rendered them huge, complex and above all sophisticated. However, police as an independent unit in the administrative organization of the state is a very recent development in human history. 1

 

Police is a primary functionary of criminal justice system in civil societies to maintain peace, enforce law and order, safeguard lives and property of people and protect them against violence, oppression and disorder. Police is one of the most important pillar of criminal justice system and entitled with lots of responsibility. Police is a judicial and executive system, for the government of a city, town, or district, for the preservation of rights, order, cleanliness, health, etc., and for the enforcement of the laws and prevention of crime; the administration of the laws and regulations of a city, incorporated town, or borough. 2 The word "Police" means, generally, the arrangements made in all civilised countries to ensure that the inhabitants keep the peace and obey the law. The word also denotes the force of peace officers (or police) employed for this purpose. 3

 

 


Police is expected to perform several roles and functions relating to maintenance of order; enforcement of law; prevention, detection and investigation of crime; collection and communication of intelligence; and traffic management. The role and function of Police relating to traffic management has profound implications in a modern society and needs to be examined in detail.

 

OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY:

The main objective of the study is to know the citizens perception regarding the ethical working of Chandigarh Traffic Police and to suggest suitable measures for improvement of Chandigarh Traffic Police with regards to their morals and values.

 

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY:

The study has used both primary and secondary data. The primary data has been collected from 100 citizens to assess the perception about ethical working of Chandigarh Traffic Police. Secondary data would be collected from the books, journals, internet and other files and documents. The data thus collected would be analyzed by using appropriate statistical techniques.

 

Traffic Police:

The primary role of a traffic enforcement system should be the reduction of fatal and serious injury road crashes, while the secondary considerations would be to ensure the free flow of traffic. Enforcement has a valuable role to play in traffic management. The enforcement is of particular importance in countries where traffic accidents are frequent, as a means of accident prevention. Traffic management is a complex and intricate matter which requires a harmonious functioning of various departments and active co-operation of the public. An efficient and effective traffic management and planning has therefore, to adopt a multi- pronged approach. 4

 

Traffic police have been around for as long as there has been traffic. Even in the horse-and-buggy days, roads became so crowded that police departments organized groups of officers whose sole responsibility was to maintain order on the highways and byways. The advent of the automobile intensified the need for traffic police; as technology improved and automated traffic signals came into play, traffic police officers spent less time making sure traffic kept moving and more time crafting and enforcing laws designed to prevent accidents, making drivers wear seatbelts, cracking down on speeders and other reckless drivers.

 

The orderly and smooth flow of traffic is pivotal for any modern society. Police plays a vital role in the traffic management. Its role in traffic management can be seen from the reports of the National Police Commission as well as the Model Police Act of 2006. As mentioned earlier, National Police Commission mentions that the duties and responsibilities of the police include to facilitate orderly movement of people and vehicles. 5 Traffic management is one of work, which police need to perform very well and it requires ethics in their working.

 

Ethics and Policing:

The policing profession has a duty to protect the public and prevent crime. The public expect every person within the profession to fulfill this duty by being fair and impartial and giving a selfless service.

 

Ethical standards are crucial to any organization, particularly the police service, as ethical behaviour is the first line of defence against misconduct and corruption. Any lowering of the high ethical standards the community expects of police can be corrosive and lead to a decline in integrity, and a subsequent loss of public confidence in the Service. The vast majority of police officers are honest and ethical, at least in their personal, or ordinary, morality, but all of them pay the price for decreased public confidence and trust when there is little respect for police ethics.

 

Policing principles6

Every person working for the police service must work honestly and ethically. The public expect the police to do the right thing in the right way. Basing decisions and actions on a set of policing principles will help to achieve this. Every person working for the police service must work honestly and ethically. The public expect the police to do the right thing in the right way. Basing decisions and actions on a set of policing principles will help to achieve this. The following can be named as the policing principles:

·        Accountability

You are answerable for your decisions, actions and omissions.

·        Fairness

You treat people fairly.

·        Honesty

You are truthful and trustworthy.

·        Integrity

You always do the right thing.

·        Leadership

You lead by good example.

·        Objectivity

You make choices on evidence and your best professional judgement.

·        Openness

You are open and transparent in your actions and decisions.

·        Respect

You treat everyone with respect.

·        Selflessness

You act in the public interest.

 

Standards of professional behaviour7

These standards reflect the expectations that the professional body and the public have of the behaviour of those working in policing.

 

1. Honesty and integrity

According to this police personnel to pledge that, ‘I will be honest and act with integrity at all times, and will not compromise or abuse my position’. According to this standard police personnel must:

• act with honesty and integrity at all times

• use position, police identification or warrant card for policing purposes only, and not to gain a personal advantage that could give the impression you are abusing your position.

In abiding by this standard police gain and maintain the trust of the public, of their seniors, colleagues and team.

 

2. Authority, respect and courtesy

According to this, police personnel should pledge that, ‘I will act with self-control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy. I will use my powers and authority lawfully and proportionately, and will respect the rights of all individuals’.

According to this standard police personnel must:

• carry out their role and responsibilities in an efficient, diligent and professional manner

• avoid any behaviour that might impair their effectiveness or damage either their own reputation or that of policing

• ensure their behaviour and language could not reasonably be perceived to be abusive, oppressive, harassing, bullying, victimising or offensive by the public.

 

3. Equality and diversity

In this personnel should pledge that, ‘I will act with fairness and impartiality. I will not discriminate unlawfully or unfairly’.

According to this standard police personnel must:

• uphold the law regarding human rights and equality

• treat all people fairly and with respect

• treat people impartially.

 

4. Use of force

In this personnel should pledge that, ‘I will only use force as part of my role and responsibilities, and only to the extent that it is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all the circumstances’

This standard is primarily intended for police officers who, on occasion, may need to use force in carrying out their duties. According to this standard police must use only the minimum amount of force necessary to achieve the required result.

 

5. Orders and instructions

In this personnel should pledge that, ‘I will, as a police officer, give and carry out lawful orders only, and will abide by Police Regulations. I will give reasonable instructions only, and will follow all reasonable instructions’.

 

According to this standard police officers must obey any lawful order that is given and must abide by Police Regulations.

 

6. Duties and responsibilities

In this personnel should pledge that, ‘I will be diligent in the exercise of my duties and responsibilities’.

According to this standard police must:

• carry out duties and obligations to the best of your ability

• take full responsibility for, and be prepared to explain and justify, actions and decisions

• use all information, training, equipment and management support provided with to keep up to date on role and responsibilities.

 

7. Confidentiality

In this personnel should pledge that, ‘I will treat information with respect, and access or disclose it only in the proper course of my duties’.

According to this standard police must:

• access police-held information for a legitimate or authorized policing purpose only

• not disclose information, on or off duty, to unauthorized recipients

• understand that by accessing personal data without authorization police could be committing a criminal offence.

 

8. Fitness for work

In this personnel should pledge that, ‘I will ensure, when on duty or at work, that I am fit to carry out my responsibilities’.

According to this standard police must:

• be fit to carry out role in policing and fulfill responsibilities

• not consume alcohol when on duty

• not use illegal drugs

• not misuse legal drugs or other legal substances.

 

9. Conduct

In this personnel should pledge that, ‘I will behave in a manner, whether on or off duty, which does not bring discredit on the police service or undermine public confidence in policing’.

 

As a police officer, they must keep in mind at all times that the public expect them to maintain the highest standards of behaviour.

 

10. Challenging and reporting improper behaviour

In this personnel should pledge that, ‘I will report, challenge or take action against the conduct of colleagues which has fallen below the standards of professional behaviour’.

 

According to this standard police must never ignore unethical or unprofessional behaviour by a policing colleague, irrespective of the person’s rank, grade or role.

 

As the present study deals with the Chandigarh Traffic Police details of Chandigarh Traffic Police has been discussed below.

 

Chandigarh Traffic Police:

The Chandigarh Traffic Police was sanctioned as a separate unit distinct from District Police in 1974. It is headed by Mr. Maneesh Chaudhry, IPS, Senior Superintendent of Police/Security and Traffic. The city is divided into four sub-divisions:

1.      Central Division

2.      East division

3.      South East Division

4.      South West Division

 

Traffic regulation in each subdivision is done by a traffic team led by a separate Traffic Inspector. The internal administration of the traffic police is looked after by the Inspector (Administration), who is also the Incharge of the Chandigarh Traffic Control Room, from where the toll free traffic Helpline (1073) is operated.

 

Analysis of Result:

As mentioned above, to know the perception of the citizens regarding the ethics of Chandigarh Traffic Police a sample size of 100 citizens were taken on random basis. They have been asked to answer some simple questions regarding the morals and values of the Chandigarh Traffic Police. Analysis of the results are as follows:

 

1.      Chandigarh Traffic Police is Courteous in Behaviour

From the above pie chart it is found that most of the respondents thought that Chandigarh Traffic police is courteous in behavior. Out of the 100 respondents 70% i.e. 70 citizens thought that Chandigarh Traffic Police is courteous in behavior by their own experience. But, the remaining 30% thought Chandigarh Traffic Police is not courteous in behavior. So, it can be said that Chandigarh Traffic Police still need to show more courteous behavior to the general public.

 

2.    Chandigarh traffic police is honest in integrity  

After analyzing the question Is Chandigarh Traffic Police honest in integrity, it is found that almost half of the respondents has given negative answer. Out of the 100 citizens 42 respondents i.e. 42% of the respondents don’t agreed that Chandigarh Traffic Police is honest in integrity. The remaining 58% thought that they are honest in integrity but, it’s a very serious problem for Chandigarh Traffic Police. Its need of the hour for the Chandigarh Traffic Police to focused on their honesty.

 

 

3.    Chandigarh traffic police efficient in working

 

From the above chart it is found that most of the citizens of Chandigarh thought that Chandigarh Traffic Police is efficient in working as out of the 100 respondents 80% i.e. 80 respondents were of the opinion that Chandigarh Traffic Police is efficient in working. The remaining 20% thought that Chandigarh Traffic Police is not efficient in working.

 

4.    Agree with the statement that Chandigarh traffic police is impartial in enforcing rules

 

After analysing the question do you agree with the statement that Chandigarh Traffic Police is impartial in enforcing rules it is found that almost half of the respondents don’t agreed with the statement as 44% i.e. 44 respondents out of the 100 respondents don’t agreed to the statement. The remaining 56% i.e. 56 respondents agreed to the statement. So, it can be said that Chandigarh Traffic Police is doing partiality while enforcing the rules.

 

5.    Satisfied with the attitude of Chandigarh traffic police

After analyzing the question are you satisfied with the attitude of Chandigarh Traffic Police it is found that most of the respondents were satisfied with the attitude of Chandigarh Traffic Police. Out of the 100 respondents 64 respondents were of the opinion that they were satisfied with the behavior of Chandigarh Traffic Police. The remaining 36 respondents were not satisfied with their attitude.

 

6.    Chandigarh traffic police is corrupt

 

From the above chart it is found that majority of the citizens of Chandigarh were of the opinion that Chandigarh Traffic Police is corrupt. Out of the total 100 respondents 62% i.e. 62 respondents thought that Chandigarh Traffic Police is corrupt. The remaining 38% were of the opinion that Chandigarh Traffic Police is not corrupt.

 

 

7.    Ever been challaned by Chandigarh Traffic Police

 

After analyzing the question have you ever been challaned by Chandigarh Traffic Police, it is found that majority of the citizens have been challaned by the Traffic Police as out of 100 respondents 56 were challaned for their actions. The remaining 44 respondents have not been challaned. So it can be said that majority of the respondents have been faced challaned by the Chandigarh Traffic Police.

 

8.    Satisfied with the manner in which Chandigarh traffic police enforces the rules through challan

After analyzing the question are you satisfied with the manner in which Chandigarh Traffic Police enforces the rules through challan it is found that majority of the respondents were satisfied with that. 66% of the respondents i.e. 66 persons out the 100 respondents were satisfied with the manner in which Chandigarh Traffic Police enforces the rules through challan, the remaining 34% were not satisfied with the system. It can be said that most of the citizens of Chandigarh are satisfied with the challan system.

 

9.    Challan system can be replaced by any other form of enforcement

 

From the above chart it is found that majority of the respondents felt that challan system can be replaced by other form of enforcement. 56% of the respondents felt that challan system can be replaced but the remaining 44% felt otherwise. Further the respondents were asked to give reason for their answer, the respondents who have felt challan system can be replaced are of the opinion that it can be replaced by community policing and community servicing, cancellation of driving licence of the traffic violators, E-tracking system, warning and proper education to the citizens regarding the traffic rules. Respondents who were of the opinion that challan system can’t be replaced felt that, it is the only system to control public attitude, fear of challan made public to follow the rules and people can’t stable by rules so challan system should not be replaced. 

 

 

10.  Chandigarh traffic police has taken backfoot in regard of educating citizens about traffic rules

 

After analyzing the question is Chandigarh Traffic Police has taken backfoot in regard of educating citizens about traffic rules, it is found that majority of the respondents felt that Chandigarh Traffic Police has taken backfoot in regard of educating citizens about traffic rules. 56% of the respondents were of the opinion that Chandigarh Traffic Police have not properly educated the general public. So it can be said that educating the public regarding the traffic rules and regulations is need of the hour.

 

11.  Chandigarh traffic police works ethically

 

When asked is Chandigarh Traffic Police works ethically, majority of the respondents has given positive answer. Out of the 100 respondents 66% i.e. 66 respondents felt that Chandigarh Traffic Police works ethically. The remaining 34% not agreed that they work ethically. So, it can be said that when it comes to work ethically, Chandigarh Traffic Police has it.

 

12.  Rating of Chandigarh Traffic Police on the scale of 10

 

At last the respondents were asked to give rating out of 10 for Chandigarh Traffic Police on its morals and values and majority of the respondents has given 7 rating out of 10. 26% of the respondents were given rating of 7 and it’s followed by 24% of respondents who gives scale of 8. Out of the 100 respondents 16 respondents have given a rating scale of 6, another 12 respondents have given rating scale of 5. Another 10 respondents give a rating scale of 9. So, it can be said that majority of the respondents has given a rating scale between 7-9 with regards to the morals and values of the Chandigarh Traffic Police.

 

SUGGESTIONS:

After analyzing the results it can be said that Chandigarh Traffic Police has a good image for their morals and values among the citizens of Chandigarh. But, it can be wrong to say that all the citizens of Chandigarh are satisfied with the behavior, honesty, efficient in working, attitude, educating the citizens and ethics in their working. It is found that majority of the citizens felt that Chandigarh Traffic Police is corrupt and they have taken backfoot in regard of educating citizens about traffic rules. There are many areas which needs to improved so that the image of Chandigarh Traffic Police be improve regarding in terms of their morals and values. Some suggestions are followed to improve morals and values of Chandigarh Traffic Police:

1.            Educate the people regarding the implementation of traffic rules through seminars and workshops regularly in the sectors and educational institutes.

2.            The traffic police need to demonstrate that every citizen not only the police has a responsibility to act in an ethical manner.

3.            Their physical standards should be improved.

4.            They should be given ethical training as a part of training.

5.            There should be proper supervision so that they perform their duties ethically.

6.            They should behave honestly and in a way that support the values and the good reputation of Police whether on or off duty.

7.            They have to treat everyone with respect, courtesy and fairness.

8.            The Traffic police department should coordinate with other civil organizations and NGOs to educate the general public. 

9.            They need to develop and improve knowledge about police ethics and the need for prevention of corruption.

10.         The department should ensure that the personnel have to strengthen the desire to behave in an ethical way and the ability to behave correctly under pressure or in stressful situations.

 

CONCLUSION:

An individual judgement of ethical behavior of every person comes from values, beliefs, attitudes and knowledge. Every policeman has to make difficult decisions and complex choices every day. Traffic management is a complex and intricate matter which requires a harmonious functioning of various departments and active co-operation of the public. As mentioned above, the vast majority of police officers are honest and ethical, at least in their personal, or ordinary, morality, but all of them pay the price for decreased public confidence and trust when there is little respect for police ethics. But, the study shows that the Chandigarh Traffic Police has a good image as far as their morality and values are concerned. As majority of citizens feels that the Chandigarh Traffic Police works ethically.

 

REFERENCE:

1.     Prabhu Datta Sharma (1977), “The Legacy”, Indian Police: a Developmental Approach, Research Publications in Social Sciences, New Delhi, p. 1.

2.     History of Metropolitan Police, retrieved from http://www.met.police.uk/history/definition.htm, last accessed on May 15, 2015.

3.     Brainy Quote, retrieved from http://www.brainyquote.com/words/po/police204463.html#TrxU69s0IfZozyLQ.99, last accessed on May 15, 2014.

4.     K.K. Bansal (1993), “Traffic Management”, Police and Community, Ed. R.C. Dikshit and Giriraj Shah, Trishul Publications, Noida, p. 323.

5.     Police Administration, Op.cit.

6.     College of Policing (2014), Code of Ethics, retrieved from http://www.Code_of_Ethics.pdf  last accessed on November 9, 2014.

7.     College of Policing (2014), Code of Ethics, retrieved from http://www.Code_of_Ethics.pdf  last accessed on November 9, 2014.

 

 

 

Received on 20.07.2016

Modified on 21.07.2016

Accepted on 16.08.2016

© A&V Publications all right reserved

Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 7(3): July - September, 2016, 215-222.

DOI: 10.5958/2321-5828.2016.00034.6