A highly worrying pattern of police abuse had come to the fore in the midst of the CAA protests of the previous months, before lockdown forced everyone home. With the George Floyd murder in the US however, the issue of police prejudice, brutality, and extra-judicial techniques have once again come to the fore.

In 2019, Common Cause, a non-profit, and the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), a Delhi-based research organisation, conducted a survey of 11,834 police personnel from 21 Indian states about their views, perspectives and professional skills. These were the startling findings.

The study has exposed a long-suspected prejudice against minorities in a large portion of our police forces.

Extra-judicial killings are a controversial topic of debate, and are especially highlighted in the current environment. A large proportion of cops in some states overwhelmingly support these illegal means – Nagaland (78%), Chhattisgarh (68%), Bihar (60%) and UP (54%).

Due to these apparent biases, there is a massive distrust of police within many communities as well.

Considering our politicians are routinely exposed with having serious ties to crimes and illegal activity, this is another highly worrying statistic, as the police can sweep their cases under the rug.

A lack of basic training is one of the main causes of these internalised beliefs and prejudices. Junior as well as senior officers are overwhelmingly under-trained, which in turn affects how they operate.

It’s shocking to see that they hold such strong opinions and yet receive little to no training to fix their bias. We depend on these people to protect us, but an inherent hatred of certain sections of people means they will do more harm than good.