Home Minister inaugurates Global Community Policing Conclave 2010

While appreciating the good policing attempts being made in the country, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram cautioned on Wednesday against trivialising the community policing movement.

He was speaking after inaugurating the Global Community Policing Conclave 2010 — a special meeting of the International Police Executive Symposium (IPES). The conclave is being hosted by the State Police.

Against the good models of community policing such as the Janamaithri Suraksha Paddhathi in the State and Nagrik Community in Assam, there were bad examples of mobilising the community to counter internal security threats such as the Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh and Harmad Vahini in West Bengal. Arming the local community against internal security threats would amount to the police abdicating its responsibility in favour of private militia, Mr. Chidambaram said.

Three aspects

The basics of community policing lay in three main aspects — capacity building, supporting with enough funds and internalising the philosophy. Already, there were 4 lakh vacancies reported in police departments across the States.

Many police departments were not effective in community policing because they followed the law in letter and not in spirit. There was a divide between the community and the police, which needed to be bridged.

Along with equipping the force to match the technology used by law-breakers, there should be a system to analyse the information and intelligence that flowed in, Mr. Chidambaram said.

Exercise in trust

Fear for the police should be replaced with respect; victimhood with trust; and antagonism by law-breakers with obedience to the law. Community policing was an exercise in trust.

Community policing should be approached with a vision beyond neighbourhood. Incidents relating to community happening outside the neighbourhood would have an impact on the relations the community maintained with agencies such as the police.

Also, community policing initiative should be on guard against self-appointed community leaders, who often used the system to their own advantage. Only authentic representatives of the work ethics and culture of the community should be picked to be part of the group, Mr. Chidambaram said.

In his presidential address, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, State Minister for Home, Vigilance and Tourism, said that the need to break the conventions in policing was felt across the world. The need for public-police partnership was being stressed as never before all over the world.

Alert committees

As part of the Janamaithri Suraksha Paddhathi in the State, beat patrolling had been strengthened and alert committees had been formed for women, traffic, students and the coastal areas. All these initiatives had brought positive results. In many districts, including Kochi City, crime had reduced by up to 50 per cent, he said.

Union Minister of State for Food and Agriculture K.V. Thomas was the guest of honour.

  • The divide between community and police must be bridged
  • Fear for the police should be replaced with respect