1,044 complaints filed against police in three years
KATHMANDU, Nov 25: Rajesh Saiju, 50, of Bansbari, Kathmandu, isn’t much impressed by the behavior of Nepal Police personnel. One of the major reasons he doesn’t like the police is the way policemen behave with the general public and talk to them. He said policemen are rude to the commoners even when they visit a police station seeking justice after being victimized by someone.
Nepal Police headquarters comes up with new campaigns every year, ostensibly to improve the police-public relation. For instance, it launched a campaign with the slogan ‘Har prahar gau ra nagari, tol tol ma Nepal prahari’ (Every hour, Nepal Police in every village, municipality and neighborhood). But this campaign, it seems, has done little to change the way the commoners think about the police.
Asha Khadka, 19, a BBS first year student at VS Niketan College, Subidhanagar, says she feels bad when the police do not behave equally with everyone. “They do not listen to the victims’ problems properly if they are commoners. They work sincerely only when they are ordered from the higher-ups,” she says, “Nepal Police need to change the way they behave with the general public.”
However, Tilak Bahadur Khatri, 61, of Balaju feels that there have been some changes in Nepal Police over the past few years. “Despite their rude behavior, they work day and night for the safety of the general public,” said Khatri. “They are a very essential part of our society because they are the ones who maintain law and order in the country that helps decrease criminal activities.”
Spokesperson for Nepal Police, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Uttam Subedi says the rude behavior of police with the public was a serious matter to look into. “We also receive complaints about the rude behavior of police, and we regularly instruct our personnel to be polite and decent with the public.”
Similarly, a year ago, Nepal Police introduced a campaign with the slogan ‘Police My Friend’ (Prahari Mero Saathi). According to Subedi, another campaign titled ‘Community-police partnership for peaceful and secure society’ was launched recently on October 28. Through this campaign, Nepal Police plans to strengthen its coordination with the community to maintain law and order, he said.
But the available statistics question the effectiveness of such campaigns. The data provided by Nepal Police headquarters shows that in fiscal year 2016/17, a total of 323 complaints were registered against the police personnel themselves. Officials at the police headquarters claimed that each of these complaints was settled and that action was taken against 17 police personnel for their wrongdoings in 2016/17 alone.
Likewise, in fiscal year 2017/18, the number of complaints against policemen increased to 522. According to the data, 450 of these complaints were settled and action was taken against 96 police personnel.
So far in the current fiscal year 2018/19, a total of 199 complaints have been registered against police wrongdoings. Police said 92 of them have already been settled while other 102 complaints are in the process of being settled. Legal action has been taken against 20 cops in the current fiscal year so far.
According to officials at the Nepal Police headquarters, these complaints registered against police personnel are on charges such as abuse of authority, breach of code of conduct, and involvement in corruption. According to them, the punishments for such wrongdoings include suspension and no promotion for certain period, among other departmental actions.