Punjab among worst 5 in smart policing: survey

In the two-and-a-half month survey conducted between July 1 and September and the findings of which were released recently, Punjab scored 6.07 on overall smart policing index.

Punjab is among five bottom States and Union Territories in a list of 29 in smart policing services index, as per a survey by independent think tank Indian Police Foundation (IPF).

In the two-and-a-half month survey conducted between July 1 and September and the findings of which were released recently, Punjab scored 6.07 on overall smart policing index, calculated as aggregate of six competence-based indices, three value-based indices and the index of Citizens’ trust in police, on a scale one to ten with a score of ten being the highest level of satisfaction.

While Jharkhand too had a score of 6.07, the only other three States which scored lower than Punjab were Chhatisgarh (5.93), Uttar Pradesh (5.81) and Bihar (5.74). Andhra Pradesh topped with the smart index score of 8.11, closely followed by Telangana (8.10) and Assam (7.89)

Out of six competence based indices, Punjab was among five bottom States in five indices namely police sensitivity; combining strictness and good behavior; accessibility; police responsiveness; and helpful and friendly policing. In sixth competence-based index of technology adoption, with a score of 6.37 Punjab is among ten bottom States and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. While among ten bottom States, Madhya Pradesh (score of 6.39) had a relatively high score, the UT of Jammu and Kashmir and seven States namely Haryana (6.31), Nagaland (6.23), Rajasthan (6.19), Jharkhand (6.07), Uttar Pradesh (5.91), Chhatisgarh (5.87) and Bihar (5.81) had lower perception score of technology adoption than Punjab. The average score of technology adoption score was 6.81, with Telangana at top (8.17), followed by Andhra Pradesh (8.13) and Maharashtra (7.63).

In perception score of helpful and friendly policing, Punjab with a score of 5.79 was only better than Uttar Pradesh, which had the lowest score of 5.59 on this index against the average score of 6.68.

Out of three value-based indices also, Punjab was among ten bottom States. Punjab had a perception score of 5.99 in fair, unbiased policing and lawful policing (average 6.47), 5.56 in integrity and corruption free service (average 6.23) and 6.21 in police accountability in which average score was 6.56.

In index of public trust on police, Punjab’s score of 6.35 against average of 6.86 was only better than five States of Maharashtra (6.1), Nagaland (6.1), Uttar Pradesh (6.04), Chhatisgarh (6) and Bihar (5.98). In all the indices, Punjab’s smart score was less than the average score.

There was a total sample size of 1,61,192 and asymmetries were as wide as 300 respondents from Nagaland to as many as 64,095 in Andhra Pradesh. There were 1579 responses from Punjab accounting for 0.98 percent of total sample size. States and Union Territories such as Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Ladakh, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep and Dadra and Nagar Haveli were not included in the survey report as they returned less than 300 responses.

The survey report while listing some methodological concerns noted, “Asymmetries in sample sizes have been an area of concern. Resorting to a strategy of combining online and offline survey methodologies helped in obtaining a large sample size, with some minimum level of participation from the States and UTs.

However, in spite of our best efforts during the survey window of two and a half months, the numbers of responses have been drastically uneven across States. While the overall sample size (n=1,61,192) looked very impressive, the distribution of the samples has been very skewed, with some States having shown an unexpectedly large number of responses, while the participation from others remained disproportionately low. Comparing States with large sample sizes (Andhra Pradesh n=64,095 vis a vis Nagaland n=300) presented a challenge, although statistical tools exist for making such comparisons. Even within States and UTs, the district-wise distributions have not been even. However, we have not been able to locate any discernible correlation between internet penetration and online participation, because even some States with very high internet and smart phone penetration have returned fewer sample sizes”.

It also noted, “Ironically, one of the major reasons for a reluctance to participate, as reported by our field survey volunteers and facilitators has been: a ‘fear of the police’ or ‘an apprehension that their feedback might fall in the hands of the police’.

Our volunteers and facilitators attempted to remove such apprehensions, giving assurances that IPF is an independent professional think tank, that the survey information would be used only for analytical purposes and that no names would be disclosed to anyone. These clarifications helped to a limited extent. However, despite such assurances, many citizens were very distrustful of the entire exercise. This fear and distrust of the survey is to be seen as reflective of the fear and distrust of the police that many citizens may be harboring”.

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