Men and women in uniform should never be driven to the wall, former IPS officer and Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi said on Wednesday and asked senior police officers to protect their subordinates.
Ms Bedi's comments came in the backdrop of protests by thousands of Delhi Police personnel on Tuesday outside the Police Headquarters for 11 hours against two attacks on their colleagues at the Tis Hazari and Saket court complexes on Saturday and Monday.
The protests were called off after assurances by senior officers that their grievances will be addressed.
"Never drive men and women in uniform to the wall and let them lose faith in their own service and own seniors," she said in a statement.
When police personnel perform their duty "fairly, firmly, fearlessly and responsibly, they need to be protected by the seniors", said Ms Bedi, who retired in the rank of director general of police.
Ms Bedi recalled that she had faced a similar situation in January 1988 when a lawyer arrested for theft at the St Stephen's college was brought to the Tis Hazari court in handcuffs.
"We then did not have video virals. Technology now speaks and provides evidence for and against," she said, adding that there are lessons to be learnt from the Saturday incident yet again.
Ms Bedi, who was DCP North in 1988, had told PTI on Tuesday that she had the strong support of the then police commissioner of the city, which saw massive protests by lawyers for several days and clashes that left many injured.
The lieutenant governor said it is the duty of seniors to ensure that "no one is prejudged and humiliated for doing their bonafide work."
It is the duty of the police department to scrutinise the personnel's acts of commissions and omissions in a rigorous manner. This is when the role of leadership comes in, she said.
Police personnel, in turn, must trust their seniors that while they do their duty, they shall be defended, protected and heard before being judged, Ms Bedi said.
"Something of this kind cannot go amiss", she said, adding that "people will suffer in the long run if we weaken this responsibility".
"We need a decisive force for all-round protection. Crisis will come and go, it is the way of the world," she said.
Besides the various slogans raised during the protest on Tuesday, police personnel were seen carrying a huge poster of Kiran Bedi that read "we miss you" and lauding her for being a fearless officer.
Ms Bedi said all police acts can be categorised as malafide or bonafide. This is why disputed actions require urgent inquiry. "But not premature humiliation in any form" as it hurts police men and women, and the self respect of their families, she said.
The police leadership needs to be sensitive to this. Such actions are the defining moments of police leadership, she said.