We thought we had misread the comments of the inspector general of police, but double-checking a remark of his carried in this newspaper yesterday, we don't think we did. The IGP's statement, reportedly at a seminar in Sylhet on Saturday, that if a cop commits a crime, it's his responsibility and that an individual's offence is not the responsibility of the police department, is quite shocking. Though he added that if departmental investigation proves the accused's guilt he will not hesitate to dismiss the offender, his previous statement leaves us confused.
A policeman is part of a force and his job is to provide safety and security to the people. The statement in question will send the wrong signal to its members, in particular to those errant ones, albeit a handful only, whose activities have defiled the image of the police as a whole and caused public confidence in them to sap.
Ensuring discipline in an organisation is a function of command of the heads of every department of that outfit. And we accept that while the organisation may not be held collectively culpable for the action of any of its members, it certainly cannot absolve itself of the responsibility for each and every action of theirs. Breach in the norm of behaviour, or actions that amounts to a cognizable offense, by members of police is perhaps a malfunction of the system either in terms of training, motivation or recruitment. And if the organisation chooses to wash its hands off the matter it will do so at the risk of giving leash to the bad apples of the organisation to indulge in more such crimes we have witnessed in the recent past. We urge the IGP to take a more proactive stance on discipline of his force.