The regular police force is too pre-occupied with the tackling of urban crime problems and too inadequate to deal with the new wave of crime and criminals. The Police today not only have to deal with traditional crimes but it has also to play the role of a welfare service organisation.
Most of the welfare legislations are meant for the benefit of the rural masses which are to be implemented in villages. The malfunctioning of panchayats and co-operatives and bunglings in various developmental schemes have necessitated restructuring the rural police to combat these crimes.
The types of crime that commonly occur in Indian villages may include dacoity or robbery with violence, agricultural feuds generally over disputes about irrigation, cattle or possession of land, village vandettas over sex intrigues, murders, poisoning for the sake of inheritance, election rivalries misappropriation of funds, cheating in relation of advances of Bank loans, trafficking in contraband goods, untouchability offences, insurgency etc.
Therefore, it may be suggested that in order to tackle the problem of village crimes, there should be a separate rural-wing of police with similar service conditions as those of regular police. The rural police should be provided adequate training in welfare activities. Unfortunately, the village policeman is still the same semi-literate and ill-equipped person despite drastic changes in villages due to multifaced developments.
However the studies on rural policing in India have revealed that despite best intentions, State Governments have failed to revamp the rural policing system. The distressing feature of the Indian rural police in the last decade has been that the privileged groups tend to dominate over the unprivileged by resorting to extreme violence and cruelty against backward classes, who seek to free themselves from age old social injustice and exploitation. Attempts made by the landless poor to organise themselves for safeguarding their rights have met with ruthless counter-attacks from land-owning classes.
The responsibility of village policing mainly vests in the SHO and the other supervisory officers. They are supposed to visit as many villages as possible within their jurisdiction every month. There is provision for appointment of a ‘Village Guard’ for each village who may be a person of any six between the age of 21 to 60 years with unimpeachable character and antecedents. He should possess ability to write in local language and communicate with the village people. A village Guard shall be a public servant as defined in IPC.
With the revamping of the Panchayats in recent years, it is necessary that the village headman, chowkidar and members of Gram-Sabha should be given proper training to help the police in maintenance of law and order in rural area. Special village defence parties should also be formed for the purpose of rural policing.