To give a wider scope for better policing Salem police have decided to rope in students, writes R. Ilangovan

SALEM POLICE have decided to enlist the services of students to bolster its night patrolling and info gathering on rowdy elements.

Though the concept of Friends of Police (FoP), under which the services of the able bodied and law-abiding youths of local areas are being utilised for night patrolling and other minor errands, is not new to the Salem law enforcers, the recent decision to include the students has provided them of course a wider scope of better policing.

Constrained by the acute manpower shortage and increasing loads on the areas of law enforcing and encouraged by the resounding success of the FoP elsewhere, the police within their legal limits have taken the decision of including the students in their minor and less significant enforcement areas. These students, mostly from colleges, are expected to assist them in patrolling residential localities where they live. They also would be asked to gather info on illegal activities in their localities and alert the law enforcers accordingly.

"We have very carefully drawn certain plans for them in such a way that it would not affect their studies and their health," says a senior police officer with whom the job has been entrusted. Their voluntary services would be totally utilised with zero risks, he assures. In fact the police had achieved vital breakthroughs in many sensitive cases of robberies and other illegal operations with the info provided by these volunteers. "Apart from this, the young mind and body are being shaped to perfection and towards law abiding. Here they have no time for other wayward activities. After studies, they give their spare time to us," the official points out. The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Sakthivel on the other day met about 500 of these willing youths from various colleges and schools and interacted for nearly an hour with them.

Socially conscious citizens however point out that the paramount importance of utilizing these youths in traffic management also is badly needed. The city they say has been witnessing chaos with rules being followed more in breach than in practice.

"Salem is the only city where the students are not to be seen regulating the traffic at peak hours," they add.

Of course it is true. Despite traffic signals learning through regulations can go a long way in moulding the young minds towards better adherence of traffic rules. "They practice while learning. It is good for them," they point out.