Police discretion is need of the hour

A whole lot of things have been said and heard about 57-year-old Assistant Commissioner of Police Vasant Dhoble over the past couple of weeks. We have done our fair share of bringing him a certain amount of attention, of course, but it’s interesting to see how all kinds of people have decided to send him and others like him a strong message.

Yesterday, Milind Deora, minister and Member of Parliament, spoke of how police enthusiasm should be calibrated to ensure only miscreants are targeted, rather than law abiding citizens. A member of the Mumbai Youth Congress asked about why overcrowding in pubs was suddenly a larger issue than overcrowding in trains. BJP youth leader Poonam Mahajan described Maharashtra as a progressive state where the youth understand their limits.

Others have voiced their opinion in other ways. Some have initiated Facebook pages questioning the motives of the police, while others have taken to Twitter to vent their fury at what they consider to be a blatant misuse of the law. Still others have decided to send the police greeting cards, politely asking them to focus on crime instead of partygoers.

We choose not to comment on either stand, be it that of the partygoers or policemen who claim to be doing what their job requires them to do. What we would like to encourage the men in khaki is to use is a little more discretion while making random arrests. A couple of days ago, we spoke to families of young girls who had been left traumatised after being picked up for no apparent reason.

One girl said she had been forced to shift residences because neighbours now questioned her integrity. The need of the hour is better policing, not over-enthusiastic policing that paints everyone in a room with the same brush. 

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