People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 11

March  13, 2011


On LDF Govt’s Efforts

to Make Police Pro-People


Kodiyeri Balakrishnan


THE police have a significant role to play in democratic governance, while undertaking duties pertaining to maintenance of law and order and investigation of crime. It is the police system in a country that ensures a peaceful social order and makes this order function in a legitimate way. But, unfortunately, the people at large consider this administrative machinery --- and rightly so --- as an oppressive tool in the hands of the rightist governments. On the one hand, these governments make use of the police force to meet their vested political interests and, on the other hand, they let the police on the loose to crush the masses if and when the latter protest against their anti-people policies. This approach of the rightist forces vis-à-vis the police force and its use has always been a butt of severe criticism. On the contrary, Leftist governments have always had a different approach on the matter. The Leftist perception of the police is of a force that is service oriented. Whenever in power, Leftist governments have never compromised on this perception.




Like the previous Leftist governments that came to power in Kerala, the incumbent government of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) too has made several efforts to reform the police system. These efforts were not just confined to modernisation of the police force, but also aimed at making it more people-friendly. In this regard, over the last four and a half years, the Left Democratic Front has been able to implement all that was promised in its election manifesto of 2006. Our overall efforts resulted in reducing the gap between the police and the people.


The suggestions given by the report of the Police Reforms Commission, headed by Justice K T Thomas, which were implemented to forge the concept of Community Policing, have been a milestone. It will be recalled that this commission was appointed during the tenure of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government when A K Antony was the chief minister. Even though the commission had submitted its report to the UDF government itself, the latter was reluctant to implement its recommendations. However, when the LDF came to power in May 2006, it realised the progressive character of the suggestions the report had given and considered the issue of their implementation very seriously.


One of the steps the LDF government took was to introduce the concept of Student Police Cadet as a basic programme that would bring students to the basics of policing and make them disciplined and responsible citizens. It has successfully implemented this programme in three schools and would soon try it out in other districts of Kerala.


During the UDF rule, Kerala was reeling under the stranglehold of various mafias. The unholy nexus between the mafia gangs and the UDF leaders helped these anti-socials to establish their network in the state. These mafia groups had had their way even during the daytime, leading to the popular demand for a stringent law to check their menace. While the UDF government, during the last phase of its tenure, introduced a law to check the activities of criminal gangs, it took no effective steps on its basis. It did not put a single anti-social element behind the bars under the new law. On the other hand, the LDF was bold enough to pass a legislation by which the police can act stringently. In order to curb all kinds of human rights violations and to rein in the mafia gangs, the LDF government, without any delay, passed a new strong law with sufficient checks and balances. Its enforcement made the people of Kerala free from the clutches of the mafia groups; a regime of peaceful life returned to all parts of the state.




Kerala is now witnessing a drastic reduction in the grave criminal acts. On an average, Kerala once had 20 political murders per annum. This rate has now come down to six. The national level recognition that Kerala has received for several consecutive years as being the most law and order friendly state in India vindicates the LDF government’s efforts in this direction.


Crime investigation and the maintenance of law and order have been made separate tasks in all the major cities of Kerala and officers were appointed exclusively for both the purposes. The crime branch was revamped during the period by creating separate wings for homicide and hurt, organised crime and economic offence wings. About Rs 13 crore were spent during the past four years for making crime investigation scientific and modern, and the Forensic Lab was strengthened. For the first time in Kerala, a Cyber Forensic and Digital Analysis Cell was established. Adequate assistance was solicited from the central government in view of the skill and expertise of Kerala police in the area. Twenty four new posts were created to strengthen the functioning of the Forensic Lab. For speedy communication, mobile phone connections were provided to all police personnel in Kerala.


Measures were taken to increase the strength of police personnel in the state. In the past it was the lack of adequate police personnel that often hindered the process of investigation and the maintenance of law and order. The LDF government has appointed about 12,000 new police recruits in the past four and a half years. To avoid delays in recruitment, steps were taken to report in advance the vacancies that would occur in a year. Steps have been taken to form an India Reserve Battalion comprising 1000 police personnel. About 3000 home guards, recruited from among the ex-servicemen, were appointed to assist the regular police force in emergency situations. This has been helping the police force to spend more time on duties pertaining to crime investigation. The LDF government took steps and was able to increase the presence of women in the state’s police force. Ten per cent of the police force now consists of women police personnel, which is a worth-emulating model for the whole country. Also, steps have been taken for direct appointment of women sub-inspectors.


The LDF government has been successful in tracking, identifying and nabbing the elements that were active in terrorist related activities in Kerala for some time now. When compared to other regions in India, which are facing the menace of terrorism on several fronts, the LDF government of Kerala has been maintaining a safe and secure environment around establishments like the VSSC, Technopark, InfoPark, Ezhimala Naval Academy, Cochin Port etc. Nowadays it is confronted with threats to our security via sea also. In this backdrop, it has decided to form the Coastal Vigilance Committees, which would function under the coastal police stations and with the active involvement of the fishing community and the organisations that work for them.


Kerala has been able to draw national attention in dealing with the cyber crimes. The LDF government anticipated the menace of cyber crimes quite early and took measures to strengthen its cyber crime cell. A police station was opened in Thiruvananthapuram exclusively for this purpose. Within a short period, this cell proved itself as being one of the best in India, when it successfully dealt several cyber crimes of a complicated nature. Soon, cyber cells were formed under the control of the district Superintendents of Police (SPs), which were headed by Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs) in the Crime Detachment wing. Fake e-mail cases and the financial scam involving some Nigerian citizens were some of the noted cyber crimes which the cyber cell investigated successfully.


The LDF government always had the people in view whenever it gave shape to a new law. Outdated jail and police laws of Kerala were reformed and its efforts won the appreciation of experts in the field, who also termed it as a role model for the whole country.




The highlight of the reforms in the Jail Department was the implementation of a jail law. The government was able to bring in a new, unified and comprehensive jail law by replacing the old one that had got outdated long back. The law was modified in tune with the times and now has a uniform nature.


Before bringing in the new jail law, the LDF government made efforts for modernisation of the jails in Kerala. The noteworthy steps among these are revision of the prisoners’ wage, reconstitution of jail advisory committees, and job training and assistance for higher studies in jails. In central jails, permission was granted to the prisoners to use FM Radio. Also, coin-box operated telephones were installed in the central jails and in the open jail at Nettukaltheri. Overcrowded jails were a real security threat and a serious human rights violation. A study conducted by the state’s Public Works Department in 2005 revealed that the capacity of the jails in the state was about 3000 where about double of the number were lodged in jails. Therefore new jails were opened in order to double the capacity. Parole rules were relaxed. Using the constitutional provisions, the LDF government has released 486 prisoners from various jails.



Rates of Crime in States

(All the figures are percentage ratios.)






Attempt to Murder





Andhra Pradesh










Arunachal Pradesh