Pandemic has made citizens feel more positive about the police: Study

Logo of the Bengaluru police  

The efforts of the city police to reach out to citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic has helped gain their trust, according to a survey taken up by the Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, and the German research foundation Hanns Seidel Stiftung. Of the citizens surveyed, 90% felt a little or a lot more positive now about the police in Bengaluru than before the pandemic.

The findings of the study, ‘Policing in Bengaluru during the COVID-19 pandemic’, were discussed at a webinar on Wednesday. As many as 525 residents across ages, gender and socio-economic backgrounds, were surveyed online.

Citizens felt safer due to the noticeable increase in police presence on the streets and felt that overall the police did a good job during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study also noted that 70% citizens, who interacted more with the police during the pandemic than before, were more likely to indicate that they feel much safer.

A majority of the respondents – 55 % to 69% – were, to a large extent, aware of the additional responsibilities that police personnel undertook from enforcing the lockdown to maintaining curfew once restrictions started to ease. Over 70% ‘strongly agreed’ that the police effectively dealt with their needs when they approached them.

P.K.H. Tharakan, who was chief of the Research and Analysis Wing and former Director General of the Kerala Police, said that the police were given the primary duty of enforcing prescribed protocols. “At the beginning, they themselves did not know what preventive measures they had to take, and protective gear was scarcely available. Yet, they jumped into the fray with gusto. Many suffered the consequences, falling ill themselves and some succumbed. But in the process, the police personnel of this country endeared themselves to the common man,” he said.

Isha Pant, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Command Centre, said, “We realised during this time that the barrier between the public and police broke. This pandemic provided a brilliant opportunity to show who we really are and that we can work with the public.”

Expanding on the the way forward, Vikram Rai, General Secretary and Member-Governing Council, Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF), said that the engagement between the police and public needs to be taken forward at the ward and police station levels.

The study noted that citizens felt that the police could be stricter where necessary and should continue creating awareness about the pandemic, be more attentive to and not forget ‘normal’ crimes, engage with communities, and not go back to their old aggressive ways.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 9:07:48 PM |

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