One Nation, One Uniform For Police

Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea of “One Nation, One Uniform” for police, in yet another pitch to have uniformity among various forces. He said it was “just an idea” and not an imposition and asked the states to think about it as just a suggestion.

The Prime Minister, addressing a “Chintan Shivir” of state home ministers, said he thinks that the identity of the police across the country could be identical. PM Modi also advocated close cooperation among the states to tackle crimes and criminals.

“On the lines of ‘One nation, one ration card’, ‘one nation, one mobility card’, ‘one nation, one grid’, we can also think of having ‘one nation, one police uniform’. Yes, there can be different numbers and insignia for the states, but is this something which can be discussed among states and police establishments?” Modi said.

Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) Report

The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), under the ministry of home affairs (MHA), had designed a new all-weather friendly ‘smart uniform’ for Indian police in 2017 in association with the National Institute of Design (NID) and sent a report to all the states and UTs.

The BPRD developed nine prototypes of the new uniform with features such as shirt, trousers, belt, beret (cap), insignia, shoes and jacket changed, apart from designing new rainwear and headgear for the law enforcers.

Since law and order is a state subject, decisions on uniform and other aspects of policing come under local governments. It is not known if any state adopted the prototypes of BPRD’s smart uniform for the police force.

During the research, BPRD found that “there was no uniformity in police uniform in India.” “While basic fit and shade changed from state to state, there were flaws like thick trouser fabric, which made it inconvenient in warm weather conditions, and not having enough space to carry personal/official objects. The helmets worn by cops are too heavy during a law-and-order situation, the metal belts are too wide and big, which poke in the stomach while bending forward, and has no option to carry cellphones, baton or keys etc., like other police forces over the world,” according to the BPRD ‘Smart Uniform’ report.

Another problem the BPRD found was in police officers’ shoes. Leather shoes, according to the report, were found to be very uncomfortable for long duty hours. Also, the Khaki is not identifiable by the public during night and several cops complained that similar Khaki color was used by municipality staffs, private agencies, postmen, fire department personnel, etc., which they argued took away the uniqueness of the police, BPRD said.

New Uniform Design

The new uniform designed by the bureau and the NID has features like a softer khaki shade (beige) shirt to give the cops a smart and clean look and provide effective visibility of insignias, nameplate, badge, medals, ribbons, and epaulettes on shoulder and a standardised ‘Police’ print on the back.

What PM said?

The PM said even though law and order is a state subject as per the Constitution, they are equally linked with the unity and integrity of the country. He said every state should learn, get inspired by each other and work together for internal security.

He said all agencies – both central as well states – should cooperate with each other to ensure efficiency, better outcomes and protection to the common man.

He also urged the state governments to review old laws and amend them to the current context as he batted for coordinated action by all the agencies to meet the emerging challenges of law and order and security.

Referring to the circulation of fake news, PM Modi said fact-checking of fake news is a must and technology plays a big role in this. People must be made aware of mechanisms to verify messages before forwarding them,” he said.

The PM said police and intelligence agencies should cooperate with each other to ensure efficiency, better outcomes and protection to the common man. He said the good old system of generating human intelligence by the police and security agencies should be strengthened for achieving better results.

PM Modi asked the states not to look at the budget while selecting the technology as investment in today’s technology is a saving in the future.