Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

Humiliation of a Young IPS Officer

Ramya is a young IPS officer who has been recently posted in a district as the Superintendent of Police (SP). She is a very honest and sincere officer who is working very hard to control the crime in her district.
One day, a child of an influential businessman was kidnapped while coming back from his school. The issue becomes national news, and all businessmen decide to go on a strike for a day and plan massive demonstration before the office of the SP. The home minister decided to visit the district, and a meeting of all the senior officers was called in the office of the SP.
During the meeting, there was slogan shouting by the angry businessmen who demanded immediate suspension of the SP and arrest of the officer in-charge of the police station. The minister got very angry with the SP and asked her to explain the failure of the police department. She tried to explain the steps taken by the police to locate the boy and identify the kidnapper, but neither the businessmen nor the minister are satisfied. The minister shouted at her in front of everyone.
Ramya felt insulted before her officers, public and the media, and asked the minister to talk properly. The minister lost his temper and asked her to get out of the room. She told him firmly that it was her office and she was not going anywhere.
The minister immediately left her office and threatened her of dire consequences. The next day she was suspended and an enquiry was ordered on her for not performing her duties rightly, and also for insubordination.
1. What mistakes were committed by Ramya?
2. How could she have handled the situation better?
3. Who was at fault in this case?
 
Discussion
 
It is a traumatic experience for any family when their child is kidnapped. In such a situation, people become emotional and irrational. They want their child back at any cost. The other citizens often get emotionally charged since they all fear that such incidents may happen to them too. In such a situation, the district administration must show empathy and share the pain of the family.
 
1. Ramya should have personally met the family members and briefed them of the steps taken by the police to find the child. She should also have taken their help in identifying the criminals, and given her personal phone number to inform her of any clue in this regard. Had the family been satisfied with the police investigation, the matter would not have precipitated to such an extent. She should also have been better prepared to explain to the minister and the public about the actions taken by the police.
 
2. Minister is a public representative of the people and occupies top position in the government. They are also accountable to people. When such incidences happen, ministers want to show that they are with the people and are trying their best to help them. She should have accepted the criticism of the minister in public and apologised for the failure of the police beforehand. This would have softened the parents and the minister. She should have also taken some action against the police officers who had failed in their duties. She should not have allowed the situation to come to this level.
 
3. Both Ramya and the minister were at fault. The minister should have behaved in a more gentlemanly manner, particularly with a lady officer. However, she should have also acknowledged the position of the minister and given him due respect. She should have accepted the failure of policing under her charge and criticism rather than arguing with the minister before the public and the media.
Humiliation of a Young IPS Officer
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