The need of the hour is a "new-age policeman" who is "motivated and well-trained", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday while calling on state police chiefs to fill up the gaping vacancies in their respective forces to improve core policing.
Addressing police chiefs on the second day of their three-day conclave, the prime minister referred to the use of technology and innovation to combat new-age terror, an issue that Home Minister P Chidambaram had also mentioned in his address a day earlier.
"We need a new-age policeman who is more professional, better-motivated, suitably empowered, well-trained, one who places greater emphasis on technology for investigation and other tasks. Emphasis should be on capacity building from the police station level itself, so that the police are better equipped," Manmohan Singh said.
The prime minister emphasised that police forces should operate on the frontiers of modern technology.
"Each police station should aim at being self-sufficient and needs to be given the required resources in terms of anti-riot gear, better weapons, the nucleus of a mobile forensic unit and be connected to a networked criminal database management system. Every city should have a modern police control room with digitised maps."
Referring to the serious shortage of police personnel, an issue that has been discussed in several forums and is yet to redress across states, Manmohan Singh again pointed out that strengthening policing at the grassroots level was imperative.
"The police station has to be the fulcrum around which this needs to take place. A large increase in the number of police stations along with raising the strength of police stations has to be undertaken," he said.
"We need far higher numbers of policemen to improve the present low police-population ratio of 145 per 100,000. As a first step, I would urge all of you to do everything possible to fill up the large number of vacancies that exist today at various levels in the police."
The prime minister also laid emphasis on the training of policemen and urged police chiefs to keep pace with the changing times.
"I understand that on the average a police officer is retrained only once in about 20 years. This is totally inadequate and must be rectified. It would also help if the police were to benchmark their training curricula with the syllabi and training methodologies of police training institutions elsewhere in the world to ensure better quality," he said.
"The world is changing rapidly, and police training must keep pace with the best in the world."