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Radical reforms in Assam police

Guwahati, Aug. 6: Assam today took the first step towards setting up a Police Accountability Commission with a retired high court judge as the chairperson and a State Security Commission with the chief minister at the helm to ensure “impartial and efficient” policing.

The government introduced the Assam Police Bill, 2007, in the Assembly amidst a row between Opposition and ruling party members over flood relief operations.

Introducing the bill, the government said the Police Act needed to be updated to enable the force to meet the “emerging challenges” of policing.

The accountability commission will be constituted within three months of the proposed act taking effect and the security commission within six months of that date.

The security commission’s brief will be to frame broad policy guidelines for efficient, effective, responsive and accountable policing and identify performance indicators.

Apart from the chief minister, the commission will have a retired high court judge, the chief secretary and the director-general of police as members.

The home secretary will be the member secretary.

The panel will also have three nominated apolitical persons as independent members.

The main function of the accountability commission will be to look into allegations of “serious misconduct” against police personnel or any other case referred to it by the government or the DGP.

The commission will have three members in addition to the chairperson. One member of the commission will be a woman.

The bill also envisages a District Police Accountability Authority in each police district or a group of districts in a police range to look into complaints against police personnel.

A Police Establishment Board with the DGP and two other senior officers not below the rank of inspector-general will accept and examine complaints from police officers.

The government described the bill as one trying to redefine the role of the police and make the force a “more efficient” instrument for prevention and detection of crime.

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