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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It’s a cop out

"I am never going to speak to you again in my life," declared Bruno. "You are heartless and selfish and care nothing for my future."

"I am not going to pay several lakhs of rupees to get you into the police force," I said, "and that is final."

"I cannot understand you," he said. "This is a position of great importance, both socially and financially. Don’t you see how much respect a police officer commands?"

"That’s why I keep telling you to read the newspapers," I said. "Our police don’t even know when police of other states come in and do their job for them."

"What’s wrong with that? Dogs from other areas come to my jurisdiction do their job and go away, I sniff them out only after they’ve gone. So what, is what I say," he said.

"This is different," I said. "Cops from Kerala came and caught a murderer in Panjim a week ago and cops from Mumbai came in and picked up a murder suspect here in Goa this week. Years ago, Charles Sobhraj was caught in Goa by Mumbai cops."

"How can it be different? The bad guys were caught right? Isn’t that what we want?" he barked.

"Our cops end up looking foolish and what’s worse they complain about it, that other state cops are coming in without telling them," I said.

"Well it’s not their fault," he said. "See how much they have to pay to get into the police force."

"So? That should not turn their analytical brains into mush," I said.

"There’s nothing wrong with their brains," he said. "They have so many pressures on them."

"They have no pressures," I said.

"First, they have to earn back the money they paid to get in, then they have to make a profit. This you can do if you go after the bad guys and then take money from them to let them go, but you know what happens, don’t you," he said.

"No, I don’t. You tell me," I said.

"Before they can even say one word to the bad guy, The Call comes telling him to let the fellow go," he said.

"So? They don’t have to answer The Call," I said.

"You would be the first to answer The Call if it comes from a Minister’s office, or a senior’s office," he said. "So here the officer is faced with a problem, he will have to let the guy go before he can get him to pay for his freedom."

"That’s because the guy has already paid for his immunity from someone higher than the arresting officer," I said.

"There are two sources of stress here," he said. "Reducing the deficit on his police entrance bribe money becomes that much more difficult and the unsolved crime graph goes up."

"I think being in the police force is very boring in Goa," I said. "They don’t see any action, even in a communal riot they are told to stand and gaze until told otherwise. Then the politicians tell their seniors to tell them to lathi-charge everyone. They do so enthusiastically, because they have had no exercise whatsoever for so long. Then they are hauled up before a court of inquiry and their leaders wipe the floor with them, when it was not their fault at all."

"And the deficit on their police entrance bribe money grows,'" he said. "Worse is when almost all the force is used for bandobast duty or as police protection for all the crooks and thugs in the state."

"Police protection is given to people like ministers, nervous MLAs, nervous ex-MLAs, bureaucrats, judges and the like," I said.

"That’s what I said," he said.

"So there you are then," I said, "you have explained how futile it is to become a police officer."

"I think it’s the sun. Now your brains have turned into mush," he said. "I am a dog. I am looking for a job as a police dog. It’s exciting work. My friend Raja said, they feed you well, exercise you well, not like me getting leftovers and sitting locked up in the house the whole day. All a police dog does is run around with his handler at the scene of the crime and just sniff around, following smells. That’s what I love doing and it’s a secure future. In Tamilnadu they pay retired police dogs a pension, soon it will happen here too and I can always opt for VRS."

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