The state police has been found wanting in maintaining law and order on several occasions. The latest incident was at Shiroda where a businessman was forced to close down his business by a big mob on a mere suspicion. The police failed to control a morcha organized by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the capital city and failed to prevent clashes between BJP and Congress workers. The police have been accused of partisanship by the Congress as they did not follow the orders issued by the Tiswadi sub-divisional magistrate with regard to morcha and allowed BJP leaders to go beyond the permissible area. The police have been accused of highhandedness on several occasions. In one incident they mercilessly beat up a family of football enthusiasts on the Fatorda ground. On another occasion they beat up a seafarer just because he questioned them for withholding traffic movement. In yet another instance, the police apparently sided with the management of a casino which had locked up some of its employees for alleged ‘disappearance’ of funds; though the employees were rescued by the police no case was registered against the perpetrators of injustice. Policing has been lax in handling accused, as a rape accused escaped from custody.
Policing is poor on the roads. No wonder, violations of traffic rules are common. With a bigger and bigger number of violators escaping the rule of law, it has become extremely dangerous to drive a four-wheeler or ride a two-wheeler on Goa’s roads. The traffic police appeared to have virtually abandoned their posts in the Christmas-New Year season when the violations are also at the peak. Though the state witnessed a huge influx of tourists and vehicles, there was hardly any presence of traffic policemen on the road, causing traffic jams on key roads. The traffic law offenders, be they locals or tourists including foreigners, were emboldened by lack of action by the police. In this scenario the worst sufferers of the police inaction are those who go by traffic rules. Though the police claim their drives against traffic violators have been bearing fruits, the ground reality is that the violations continue unabated.
There appears to be no fear of law among the motorists who resort to overspeeding, talking over phone while driving or drunken driving. Despite assurances from the police late night parties continue to be held uninterrupted. Drives against talking over phone while driving and drunken driving are held sporadically, so the effect is not seen. Even two-wheeler riders are seen to be talking on phone, holding their mobile to the ear in one hand and controlling their vehicle with one hand. If people are not afraid of violating traffic rules, it is a reflection on the quality of policing. There are times when the police appear to have taken silly decisions, like announcing a drive against drunken driving before carrying it out. Publicising the drive beforehand results in alerting the drivers, who would certainly not abstain from drinking for the evening but find a way to avoid being caught by the police. The desired goal of penalizing drunken drivers is thus defeated. A drive against drunken driving is usually ordered by the Director General of Police usually during festive occasions when it is known that people (including those habituated to drink liquor) consume liquor.
With the diversion of traffic planned on the Panaji-Margao route to facilitate the construction of the new bridge over the Zuari the police apparently have a big task ahead for themselves to ensure smooth movement of traffic. They would need to be tactful in handling snarls that are likely to arise due to huge flow of traffic on the diverted route. Given the fact that the traffic police fail to maintain even the regular movement of traffic, it remains to be seen how they are going to deal with the challenging situation. The police have to continue managing the traffic for a whole year along the diversion. In short, the quality of policing in Goa needs a lot of improvement. The bosses of the police department have not shown the vision and dedication to make policing very effective. The poor quality of policing is evident from the fact that their men are not able to do even routine jobs in a superb way that can get all-round appreciation from the members of the public. Since they offer poor service in routine assignments, citizens are losing hope of them performing well in special assignments. Let us hope the quality of policing improves in the New Year.