The police are primarily responsible for the maintenance of public order, prevention and detection of crimes in the state. It also protects the life, liberty and property of the people. The crime is increasing day by day with the increase in the complexity of the civilization.
Hence, the role of the police has become more important than before. Without the police, there would be chaos in the society and the people would live in Hobbesian state of nature in which life would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."
Thus, the police enforce criminal law maintaining law and order and investigating crime. It provides the necessary check against the ambivalence of the human nature. The police play an important role in the administration of justice. In theory, one's safety and liberty depend upon the law and constitution but in practice the laws and judicial decisions are enforced by the police. Thus the police is the saviour of modern civil society..
Functions of the Police:
The Police Act 1861, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and other relevant Acts describe the functions and powers of the police officer as follows:-
1. Executing all orders and warrants lawfully issued to the police officer by any competent authority.
2. Collecting and communicating intelligence affecting the public peace to the competent authority.
3. Preventing the commission of offenses and public nuisance.
4. Detecting and bringing offenders to justice and apprehending all persons whom the police officer is legally authorised to apprehend.
5. Entering and inspecting any drinking-shop, gaming house, or other places of resort of loose and disorderly characters.
6. Laying any information before a Magistrate and applying for a summons, warrant, search warrant, or such other legal processes against any person committing offence.
7. Taking charge of unclaimed property and disposing it subject to the Magistrate's order.
8. Taking appropriate steps on occurrence of fire.
9. Regulating public assemblies and processions and licensing of the same.
10. Stopping any procession, that violates the conditions of a license.
11. Keeping order in public roads, streets, thoroughfares, ghats, landing places and at all other places of public resort and preventing obstructions on the occasions of assemblies and processions on the public roads or in any other places.
12. Taking into custody any person, without a warrant, who commits crimes like slaughtering cattle, furious riding, throwing dirt into street, being found drunk or riotous, obstructing passengers etc.
13. Keeping general diary in the police station and recording therein all complaints and charges preferred, the names of all persons arrested, the names of complainants, the offences charged against them, the weapons or property that shall have been taken from their possession or otherwise and the names of the witnesses who shall have been examined.
14. Producing the arrested person to the nearest Magistrate within a period of 24 hours from the time arrest.
15. Dispersing any unlawful assembly.
16. Supplying the copy of the First Information Report (FIR) to the complainant and the copy of the police report and other documents to the accused.
17. Arresting the person who has committed cognizable offences.
18. After investigation of the case, preparing the charge-sheet and sending it to the court for trial within a stipulated period.
19. Even in the cases where the police officer is not satisfied about the commission of an offence, sending the final report to the court for its approval.
20. Releasing the accused who has committed petty offences, on Personal Requirement (P.R.) Bond.