The ‘State Capacity & Access to Justice’ webinar series is housed within IDFC Institute’s Access to Justice initiative. The series endeavours to showcase research and innovations that enhance the state’s capacity to deliver a more equitable and accessible form of justice. To launch the series Dr. Vineet Kapoor, Indian Police Service, Deputy Director, Madhya Pradesh Police Academy and Visiting Fellow, University of Virginia, shared his experience and expertise on Institutionalising a Pracademic Model in Policing. Here, ‘pracademics’ refer to individuals who are both academics and active practitioners in the field and are invested in the idea of bringing evidence-informed incremental changes. The police are the first interface between citizens and the criminal justice system, but at the same time, it remains highly under-researched. Pracademics play a focal role here in institutionalising this model for integrating evidence-informed actions into police practice.
Dr. Kapoor explained how a lack of time and research support withhold practitioners from implementing new ideas and innovations. He underscored the importance of collaborations with think-tanks and research organisations to bridge this implementation gap. To institutionalise this model within Madhya Pradesh Police, a Research Cell was established within the Director General of Police’s (DGP) office. The DG Research Cell promulgates a partnership-based approach for enabling research-based policy implementation and evaluation. Dr. Kapoor illustrated the workings of the pracademic model through three case studies. First, the model was used for reforming training programmes. Training Needs Analysis was conducted to identify gaps in training processes—viz. the need for ethics, soft-skills and behavioural training, training the trainer and improvements in training infrastructure. Second, women’s safety and their access to justice was another area where the pracademic model was deployed. Here, a systematic evaluation of existing solutions was undertaken. As a result, women’s help desks were scaled across the state. Third, similar to the women’s help desk, the pracademic model was also used to evaluate and establish a One-Stop Crisis Centre for women and children in distress.
The overarching recommendation was that the pracademic process needs to be encouraged and mainstreamed. Encouraging young officers to be pracademics, creating a safe environment for risk-taking and securing leadership support were identified as crucial factors for the pracademic model to survive in a practical setting. Possible solutions to this end include formulating a funded programme for international exposure and higher education, devising a research buddy system, and identifying mentors in the organisational set-up.
Dr. Vineet Kapoor is a member of the Indian Police Service (IPS) and currently serving as the Deputy Director of the Madhya Pradesh Police Academy. He holds a Visiting Professor of Practice Fellowship at the University of Virginia’s Corruption Lab for Ethics, Accountability and Rule of Law and Democracy Initiative Research Groups. Along with twenty-five years of practice in the police and law enforcement field in India and UN-based international peacekeeping operations, Dr. Kapoor has been a visiting scholar at the University of Essex and London School of Economics. Dr. Kapoor’s expertise pans Governance and Police Reforms, Training and Capacity Development, Human Rights-based Public Service Delivery, Policy-related Research and institutionalising evidence-based practice in the police. He holds a PhD in Human Rights Education and Organisational Behavior in Law Enforcement Institutions.