Special Correspondent

Project in 3 corporations, 11 municipalities

Beat officers to keep direct contact with houses

Constable recruitment to be revamped

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The much-awaited community policing scheme of the Kerala Police would be launched on Wednesday.

The scheme, named ‘Janamaithri Suraksha Paddhathi,’ is being implemented on an experimental basis in the three police station limits each in the Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram municipal corporation areas, and within the limits of one police station in 11 municipalities across the State.

The municipalities where the pilot project would be implemented are Kasaragod, Payyannur, Kalpetta, Perinthalmanna, Ottappalam, Irinjalakuda, Thodupuzha, Adoor, Cherthala, Paravur and Vaikom.

The scheme would be formally inaugurated by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan here on Wednesday.

Discussions held

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told a news conference here on Monday that the scheme had been finalised after protracted discussions at various levels and studying the effectiveness of similar initiatives within and outside the country.

The project has the security of the community as its prime objective and the effort of the department would be to achieve this with people’s participation and closer liaison between the police and the general public.

Specially trained beat officers would be posted in the police station areas coming under the scheme.

Each beat officer would cover 500 houses or three square kilometre area, whichever is less, on a regular basis and establish contact with each home under his/her jurisdiction.

The beat officer would lead night patrolling in the locality with people’s participation, coordinate with the private security guards in the area, identify and keep track of strangers visiting the locality, help prevent drug peddling and atrocities on women and offer protection to the elderly. Each beat officer would be given a motorbike and a mobile phone.

The beat officers, who would mostly be officers in the rank of head constables, would serve summons and warrants to the people in the locality, do address verification and pass on complaints and petitions received from the people to higher authorities.

Popular committees

Problems that cannot be solved at the level of the beat officer would be referred to the higher officers at the local police station or SHOs. Popular committees, with an approximate membership of 10, would be formed in each police station limits.

The committees would play the role of facilitators and would not have any role in maintenance of law and order.

Nodal officer

The Home Minister, who was accompanied by DGP Raman Srivastava, ADGP (Intelligence) Jacob Punnoose, IG Arun Kumar Sinha and IG and State-level Nodal Officer of the Community Policing Scheme B. Sandhya, pointed out that this was the first time that any State in the country was undertaking such an extensive community policing scheme.

Review process

The progress of the scheme would be reviewed every three months and the department expected it to take at least a year to stabilise.

Extension of the scheme to more station areas would be considered once the pilot project stabilised.

The government, he said, proposed to change the system of recruitment of constables so as to fill vacancies arising in the department without any time lag and ensure that that sufficient number of hands was available for community policing in the days to come.

Currently, there were around 3,000 vacancies of constables in the department. This was expected to go up to 3,700 by next year and to 5,000 a year later, he said.