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(Ambedkar University Delhi)
Paper Short Abstract:
Policing bureaucracies get understood from the prism of impunity rather than through the form of labour entailed in practices of policing. This paper shifts the gaze inwards towards policing institutions to delineate how violence is accommodated within the processes of accountability.
Paper long abstract:
For Michael Lipsky, the patrolling police official is a street-level bureaucrat with the most disputable and dissonant goal expectation of duty that ranges between stringent law enforcement, the necessity for calculation in enforcement actions, and various community interpretations of proper police practice (2010:47). This paper argues that the question of police accountability, too, straddles between impunity that it increasingly seems to enjoy and of harsh intra-departmental enquiries about which we know very little. Without discounting studies of police impunity, this paper attempts to shift the gaze inwards towards policing institutions to delineate how violence is accommodated within the processes of accountability. This is not to bring equivalence between police violence and bureaucratic violence, but to contend that police personnel often live with continuing violence of a policing bureaucracy, which impinges on their practice. With the Delhi Police (Punishment and Appeals) Rules, 1980, as its backdrop, this paper discusses how show-cause notices, premised on quasi-judicial regulations, work on the presumption of guilt within policing bureaucracies. Through analyses of two cases of individual police officers taking their own superiors to court, this paper will demonstrate how amid routinised impropriety, humiliation and threat to employment—and not under work conditions of rule of law necessarily—that police work is performed. How might these conditions affect and inflect police work?
Politicized bureaucrats in and beyond Europe: conflicting loyalties, professionalism and the law in the making of public services [LAWNET]