Staff Reporter

Coimbatore: Community policing is aimed at bringing the police closer to the people. This mutual trust will certainly help in ensuring that law and order is maintained through better intelligence inputs besides supplementing the efforts of the police in stepping up vigil and patrolling for crime prevention.

Community policing was first introduced in a big way in Coimbatore in 1998 after riots and serial blasts in the city. K. Radhakrishnan was the Commissioner of Police then. He is now the Additional Director-General of Police, Food Cell CID, Chennai.

Similarly, community policing yielded rich dividends in Tiruchi city during the tenure of J. K. Tripathi as the Commissioner of Police, Tiruchirapalli city, who is now the Inspector-General of Police, Headquarters.

Commissioner of Police, Coimbatore City K. C. Mahali told ‘The Hindu’ that the initiatives introduced by these officials were now being revived, and carried forward.

The vital components of Community Policing were Area Committees, City Vigilance Committees and Police Boys Club.

Explaining the role of each component, Mr. Mahali said that Area Committees were meant to ensure better intelligence gathering.

They provide the force a better network to track the movements of criminals. Coimbatore city with 15 police stations has 99 ward committees with 2,495 members representing all walks of life.

The committees have so far had 69 meetings. Such frequent interactions with the police also help in ensuring communal harmony, he said.

The objective was to tell the society that law abiders are friends of the police and only law breakers should be afraid of the law enforcing machinery, he added.

The city has 1,000 City Vigilance Committees for all the 15 police station limits.

The role of CVCs would be to assist the police in patrolling and night vigil duties.

CVCs have so far had 26 meetings.

The third component was Police Boys Club; the city has nine such clubs. These clubs were normally located in poor areas where criminal activities were higher.

The objective of these clubs is to wean the youngsters away from the influence of criminals and to prevent them from taking to crime as their career.

Every boys club would have a co-ordinator and one teacher.

The clubs would have classes in moral science and general knowledge besides entertainment sessions and training in different sports. This will help in keeping them occupied. .

An extension of these concepts was the idea of community service centres. Policemen would be present in these outposts to assist people .

The city had 21 such community service centres and they are being revived now.

In addition, public participation in policing also included wings like ‘Traffic Wardens Organisation’, ‘Road Safety Patrol’, and ‘Friends of Police.’

The police is also roping in the services of NCC cadets/NSS volunteers, students from Scouts and Guides etc., Mr. Mahali said.