UNDER COVER POLICE – BY SHANTONU SEN #DELHIPOLICE @RAJNATHSINGH
UNDER COVER POLICE
The world of police is also one of make believe. The image of a uniformed cop patrolling the street in the day and in the night may be the instant policeman that is easily recalled. But as complexity is compounded in the world of crime a police man/woman has to assume many characters and one such character is one of under cover policing. The police man or woman enters a new role, a new character and assumes that character in so real and intense terms that it becomes his/hers actual life. This is an aspect of policing now.
It was not so in its early days. Sir Robert Peel the British Home Secretary is the father of modern police and in 1829 his nine principles laid down the basic functioning of policing which then guided London Metropolitan Police, better known as Scotland Yard, and all those who followed the same pattern of policing. The police in India set up by the British in 1861 and it to was so guided. The nine Principles are:
1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.
The early Victorian Police worked seven days a week and hardly had any paid holidays. Their lives were controlled. They could not vote . They had to seek permission before getting married, They could not be seen having meals with a civilian . To ensure they did not spy on any one they had to wear the uniform not only while on duty but also while off duty.
From 29th September 1829 to 29th September 2014 is one hundred and eight decades and its the time that it has taken the same Metropolitan Police not only take off its uniform while on duty but also spy . Its no ordinary spying , either, Presently one officer, having spied on a woman 24 years ago, is along with the London Metropolitan Police on the rack. She, the woman he spied upon, claims that the under cover cop fathered her child “a six foot hunk of his DNA”, she colourfully describes. The officer Robert Lambert assumed the name of Bob Robinson, a long haired radical leftist and embarked on a five year operation to penetrate an animal right activist group as a part of his duties in the secret unit of Metropolitan Police known as the Special Demonstration Squad( SDS). In the process he befriended a member who has assumed the name Jacqui, then 22 year old and very enthusiastic member of the group . Lambert was married and usually spent the week end with his wife and children . In Jacqui’s words , she was” raped by the State”
The British Government permits its police officers to go underground to prevent crimes against the State. It sternly prohibits sexual co- habitation to spy but its happening. The Guardian has mentioned there are as many as ten women in the UK who have taken course to legal measures against Metropolitan Police, London after discovering their boy friends were under cover Metropolitan Police Officers. So far only Jacqui has received compensation of Pounds 450,000 as damages. She has not closed her case as she wants an apology for being “ grossly abused”
This story has been written in the British newspapers. The Sunday Guardian has researched the story and the tone and tenor is one of disapproval . But if one goes back to the Peeling Guidelines one reads “ to prevent crime and disorder” at the very beginning of the first guide line. Crime and disorder then and now has undergone a sea change. The nature of both crime and potential crime and specially the gestation period of serious crime is so long that all police agencies are compelled to adopt under cover policing as an integral part of their weaponry nowadays. In many areas of terrorist crime policing is like, almost fighting a war to protect the State from war mongers. In India,, the recent judgements of the Supreme Court have held acts of terrorism by known and identified groups as acts of war. Spying is , and always will be an essential prerequisite of waging a successful war.. In order to fulfil Peeling Guide Lines spying ,to prevent crime and disorder , has today become inevitable for all police forces including the Indian Police.
Of course, ethical and even extra legal questions will continue to cloud the subject. How far is it proper to deliberately go to the extent of impregnating a woman and then leaving her in the lurch and then get away if and when caught with paying her off? How much of the law can this police offer break, violate and continue to be protected? What is the control of his superior to keep him on leash and with in bounds of directions as the under cover spy is very much on his own. For instance, sexual cohabitation impermissible to under cover spies yet Lambert and ten of his colleagues still used it to elicit information, Lets face it. Under cover spying is unethical and breaks with laws and regulations . It is gender exploitive occasionally . Betrayal in many forms are forced and lead to tragic consequences for individuals, even families. However , under cover policing will continue.