Aditional paper

Report on the Proceedings of the Global Community Policing Conclave 2010
Day 1
Session 1: Historical and Local Development of COP
Chair: Abraham Kurien IPS, Retired DGP Kerala

Shri Abraham Kurien began the discussions talking about the Janamaithri Project indicating that what was required was a degree of conceptual clarity as (1) problem based policing and (2) community based policing. He said that strategies which are contextually relevant should be adopted in heterogenous communities, especially since cohesion was not always there within the community, especially in India.  Ideally, the first step must be to address problems within the community and then extend this to broader areas of community policing. This was the appropriate sequencing to be undertaken. All of these strategies were ultimately geared towards crime prevention.

 Mr. Richard Ward from the University of New Haven, USA, talked about how when he joined the NYPD there was no notion of community policing. The definition is quite loose and one can see different approaches, methodologies, training structures and management over time and in different locations. In the US itself, there are more than 200 different styles of community policing. The crucial aspects of COP are to prepare the police in their involvement with the public and their actual participation of the public.  COP should also be based on common interests within the community.

Mr. David Purdy, Senior Police Advisor, Department of State, USA spoke on the topic of “Implementing COP – Theory of and Practice.” He said that there was not much distinction between Community Oriented Policing and Community Policing. Community Policing should be a organic programme and should continually change to meet emerging challenges. One should ensure that this does turn into spying against the police. One of the basic problems of these initiatives is that the police do not build a solid foundation before designing these initiatives. These initiatives should be based on nature of community, issues existing in the community, and the basic causes for the problems of the community. All the partners should be treated as equals, and the programme must be extensive across all departments and all communities. Purdy also mentioned three spirits of community policing: (1) Police, who should be trained and assessed continuously in his ability to bring about change; (2) Elected officials, without with no real progress can be made; (3) Community which has to be brought in. The aspects of community outreach, public education, building for sustainability and aftercare has to be incorporated into any COP project.  He also mentioned that although technology is a force multiplier, it’s a double edged sword and should not come between the police and the community.

Mr. Nicholas Parker, Management Consultant from the UK spoke on evolution of Community Policing in England and Wales. He began with a discussion of Robert Peele, who as Home Secretary of the UK is said to have started community policing, and then discussed John Alderson who as Chief Constable studied the issue at length.  He designed the model in which a local officer patrolling was introduced and he promoted the use of discretion and innovation at the local. The delivery systems that were proactive and preventive were utilized. He also advocated that local issues should be identified, analysed and solved with the assistance of the local community. During the 1980s, England witnessed a series of riots, especially in Braxton. This was the result of a decline in traditional community oriented policing strategies, especially with the advent of technology and the alienation of the policemen from the community. The use of force only served to exacerbate the situation. In the 1990s, the era of Thatcher and New Managerialism in which quantifiable outputs and squad hit targets were emphasized. A new initiative, Neighborhood Policing was started, and this was well received by the public. The key to its success is that politicians have owned, associations have assisted, resources were mobilized and it was continually evaluated and inspected.

Dr. Arie Van Sluis, Assistant Professor at the University of Erasmus, Rotterdam spoke on COP in Netherlands. The major objectives of COP in Netherlands was to reduce the distance between the police and the public, orient the police towards broader problems, adopt the preventive approach and facilitate cooperation with other agencies. It has evolved in five phases from the 1970s till the present in which it has undergone various highs and lows. At present, it is in a phase of pragmatism. Dr. Sluis emphasized that the community officer is not a social worker but a generalist who is a strong arm of the Government, at the same time gives information which is relevant for crime work. In the future, he hopes that the COP will be more flexible and adaptive and an institutionalized training on the subject should be provided to the police officers.

Dr. Habil Emil W. Plywaczewski discussed the process and progress of Community Policing in Poland. He pointed out that COP had developed in Poland in unique context due to the political and social situation prevailing there. COP was therefore both a policy and a strategy, and was particular relevant for preventive policing. It was a new way of looking at traditional matters and was only effective as a nationwide programme. In fact there was a hierarchical division of COP activities from the Central to the Police Station levels and various methods were utilized to take the message to the people. However, the major challenge is that of lack of interest among police officers, and the constant changes in the public administration. Further, resources for COP activities remain a major constraint.

Dr. Michael Berlin, Assistant Professor at Coppin State University, USA, presented a paper on “Development, Decline and Transformation of Community Policing in the United States.” He stated that there should be a balance between community service and law enforcement.  The situation in the US was unique, he said, because the police was under local control. The period between 1900 and 1980 is said to be the period of the professionalization of the US Police. From1980 onwards due to rising crime, the police had to use variuois strategies such as Community policing,  COMPSTAT, and intelligence led policing. Of these Community policing attemopted to resolve issues of racial discrimination, alienation fromn the publicand explosion of crime. In the Gandhian sense, this was the as servants and not masters. However the problems of lack of knowledge and clarity, difficulty of evaluation and the ambiguous link with crime reduction hindered its progress. COMSTAT or computer driven crime statistics was an attempt to use technology to reduce crime. An idesal strategy must involve a combination of COMSTAT and CP what Dr. Berlin calls Intelligent Policing where ther is targeted enforcement and inputs from academia.


Q) How does one deal with lack of resources? Can we have an effective strategy to deal with this?
Nicholas Parker responds that in a democracy it is for the politicians to set strategic direction and indicate how resources might be deployed to deliver that, ie more focus on community policing. Where demand exceeds the resources available and cannot be resolved through operational management then the politicians need to be involved in revising the strategy or making more resources available.  

Q) Do you not think that intelligence led policing is a retreat from COP?
NP: The criminologist Waddington has referred to intelligence led policing as informed guessing and to a certain extent I agree. I have recently reviewed intelligence management and found that the analysis of intelligence has grown exponentially but is often not very effective. Whilst I fully support the concept of intelligence led policing, its use, particularly the analysis of intelligence, needs to be effectively managed. .

Q) Mridul Eapen: Is there a special focus on women in the COP and to address the problem of Violence against Women?
Berlin: There have been Domestic Violence Units and Family Units in various police departments to address these concerns, and they have been found to be very effective especially in the United States

Q) Sukumaran (Former Judge) with DG, Arunachal Pradesh: How does one identify/ define a community, especially in a heterogenous society like India.
Abraham Kurien: Focus on small areas, on homogenous interests, on security, on common issues of the people. The Police themselves cannot create a community.

Q) Dr. Oskar (Nigeria): Is not intelligent policing foucssing excessively on cognitive skills?
Berlin: Yes, it should be a marriage of cognitive skills and behavioural aspect.

Q) Nirmal Kumar Azad: Where should we draw a line on the use of technology?
Purdy: Technology should be used responsibly, primarily for communication purposes.

Q) Dr. Kumar (BPRD): How does the police solve non-policing problems?
Abraham Kurien: The police can conduct outreach programmes but the primary focus on crime prevention/reduction.


Session 2: Comparative COP Theory and Practice I: Varieties of Communities
Chair: Tonita Murray, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Interior, Afghanistan

Ms. Tonita Murray began the session focusing on Afghanistan. She said that policing was more militaristic in Afghanistan because of its continuous insurgency, and because of the involvement of NATO and the US Military. The civilian police has developed only since 2003, because of the intervention of outside donors. COP was implemented only since 2005 with the help of EUPOL but a lot more work needs to be done. There has been some partnerships with NGOs and the creation of neighbourhood watches. There has also been considerable assistance from the UNDP. The new Minister of Interior has come out with six priorities that are not the basis of policing in Afghanistan. They are: training and education, leadership development, fighting corruption, promoting quality living and working conditions, reform of Tashkil, developing systems for rewarding and disciplining police.

General Rahimullah, Director of Strategy, Afghanistan, spoke on the Afghan National Strategy and Plan. He stated that the National Police Strategy provided guidance to the police and specifies the objectives for law enforcement agencies. The National Police Plan is a framework policy which identifies the tasks and provides specific guidance for implementing them in the maintenance of law and order. Gaining the confidence of the public has been the primary strategy of the ANP. The five pillars of ANP are Civilian Police, Afghan National Civil Order Police, Afghan Border Police, Anti Crime Police, Community Protection Police.

Mushtaq Rahim, Assistant Country Director, UNDP, and Ahmed Zaki, UNDP Afghanistan Project Coordinator, Democratic Policing, spoke about de toleney police e murdumi: indigenous district level civilian policing in Afghanistan. He stated that ANP is the civilian police in Afghanistan. It was made dysfunctional during 1980s and 1990s when there were invasions and Taliban rule in Afghanistan. After that, the ANP was revitalized only in 2003 with the support and help of UNDP and financial aid from many other nations. The present situation is that, police force in Afghanistan is a mix of professional and Jihadi commanders. A majority of the patrol men are illiterate and untrained. Government commitment for police reforms was very strong and COP practices were started in 2009 in the name of “Democratic Policing.”

Ahmed Zaki presented the various phases in which Democratic Policing has evolved in Afghanistan. Initially a base line research and study of best practices was done. After that, an emergency response call centre (No. 119) was started in order to promote contact between police and public. Also bimonthly public meetings were arranged in which the public and the police could interact. After that, legal information was provided to the public through public education system and training to some groups at the sub-national level was undertaken. In the next phase, the police are trained to work with the community and information desks were established in the stations for helping the public. Various activities such as the discussion of security planning with the public, greater role to civil society organizations in designing policies, creating awareness among women regarding security issues were also taken up.

Abdul Basir Yosufi, Policy Advisor and Team Leader, Ministry of Interior, Afghanistan, spoke on the Rule of Law and the Afghan Police. He stated that the rule of law is yet to take roots in Afghanistan and currently 80% of the disputes are settled through informal institutions. The problem of rule of law is that there is a vicious cycle of insurgency and counter-insurgency which prevents the development of judicial institutions which would support the growth of rule of law.

Dr. DOel Mukherjee, Consultant, UNDP left the session with the pertinent question of whether COP can adequately address the security issues faced in Afganistan, especially when there is a strong counter-insugency in existence.



Q) Former Judge Sukumaran: Earlier I heard that there cannot be a case against the Government in Afghanistan. Is that position continuing? Also, what inititatives have been taken to promote legal literacy?
Tonita Murray: The literacy levels of Afghanistan is very poor, and their knowledge of the law is even poorer. This applies to the police as well. As regards cases against the Government, the judges rarely rule against the Government.


Session 3: Comparative COP Theory and Practice II: Convergence between East and West
Chair: Mr. Ashwini Kumar IPS, Director, CBI

In his opening address the Chairperson has emphasized on two issues: the first is the relationship between community and policing and the second is the preparation of the community to be part of policing.

Dr. Dilip Das delivered a lecture on “Was it Community Policing?” speaking about his experiences on the field and as a student of the subject in the US. He said that he used to believe that Village Defence Parties in Assam were part of COP, but his perception changed once he studied the subject indepth. Now he feels that COP needs a complete rehaul of police attitude, behavior, deeds, and thinking. He advocated the notion of policemen as thinkers who knows how to modulate strategies to the appropriate contexts.

General Sami Nabhan, Head of the Service and Operations Sections of the Internal Security Forces of Lebanon, and General Mounir Chaaban talked a bit about the context in which the ISF of Lebanon operated, especially its various functions. The Community policing initiative in Lebanon was started with the help of the American Embassy in Beirut, which assisted in the training of officers, including an overseas visit. The core issue was to build confidence and trust of the local community in the police and this was not an overnight task, but required a long term strategy.

Ms. Muji Diah Setiani, Asst. Suptd, Indonesia spoke on community policing policy known as POLMAS in Indonesia. The Indonesian Police was separated from the Army in 1999 and began implementing the Community Policing Development Programme, using the assistance of other countries, especially Japan,  since 2006. 2007 was a year of maintenance and improvement of socialization, and 2008 the Police tried to ensure that community members participated in a more vigorous manner. She also said that the effectiveness of COP is determined  by (1) Change of perception of police; (2) Performance of duties by every police with spirit of service; (3) Cooperation and support from Government; (4) Changes in method of managerial approach.

Mr. Aleksander Kostovski, International Rule of Law officer, Macedonia presented a paper on Community Policing in Macedonia. Macedonia, he said, has set up Community Advisory Groups with the objective of ensuring the concerns of people reach the police. The CAG group includes officers, religious leaders, educational servants, representatives of local housing sectors, and politicians. The CAG seeks specific solutions to specific problems. Most importantly, Mr. Kostovski pointed out that there must be a uniform position on the utility and use of COP strategies, though different countries might adopt different plans in accordance with the local context.

Mr. Yomi Oscar summed up the proceedings and set the tone for the ensuing discussion.

Q) South African Delegate: This session has shown the various kinds of COP strategies outside the Anglophone world. However, one concern remains the problem of donor assisted programmes where the commitment towards COP lasts only as long as the donor resources are available. What happens to the communities after the donors have left?

Mr. Mohan IPS (MP Cadre) pointed out that there is no need for donor assistance when the communities are taken into the confidence of the police. The discussion continued on what kinds of donor assistance was workable with the recognition that donors might tune into local communities, without which the help they provide would be one-off.


Day 2
Session 4: Theory and Practice of the Community Oriented Programmes.
Chair: Jyoti Swaroop Pandey, IPS, DGP Uttarakhand

The session focused on various models of community action and community related policing in India and abroad.  The Chair introduced the panel members and Sankar Barua IPS, DGP Assam, began the discussion with an explanation of Aswas, an initiative of the Assam Police to assist the community and to ensure that the children of those affected by insurgency, whether of victims or terrorists, are taken care of. Mr. Barua paid tribute to Dilip Das, the principal force behind IPES, from whom he learned that the first step in community policing is to talk to the people, especially before taking enforcement action.  Mr. Barua pointed out that through Aswas, some 850 children, most of them orphasns,  have been educated, and  some of them have gone on to join professional courses. Aswas also helps others affected by insurgency such as widows. Mr. Barua gave the example of one family where there were two sons: One joined ULFA terrorist organization and the other the Assam Police. Both were killed in operations. Aswas attempted to help the family, especially the mother of the sons who were killed.

Dr. Prateep Philip IPS, IGP Tamil Nadu, gave a presentation on the Friends of Police project in Tamil Nadu. He pointed out that community policing is essentially a problem solving relationship between the police and the public. The essential principles underlying this concept include bridge building, empowerment, service commitment and transparency. The Friends of Police was Dr. Philip’s brainchild and was started in 1993 in Ramnathpuram District.  The Friends of Police was taken up as an international blueprint for community policing. The Friends of Police have been identified, trained and deployed for night rounds, temple bandobust, traffic maintenance, blood donation comps and other law and order issues. A headquarters for training of these FOPs was started and it was acclaimed as world’s first COP academy. Till now, it has trained one lakh people, including police and citizens from various walks of life. Dr. Philip pointed out that every citizen has an inner police and we should try to utilize this skill.

Dr. Jaishankar presented a report of a study he had made on FOP in Thirunelveli City. He interviewed police personnel, FOP members, and the general public in order to ascertain their perceptions of the programme. Overall, he found the programme to be successful, with more than 50% of the general public stating that it was a useful project.

Captain Shibu Isaac spoke on behalf of the private security agencies and said that there was a large role these agencies could play in community policing, given that fact that there were more than 7 million securitymen in India, growing at the rate of 25%.

Dr. Stephen B. Perrot talked on “Predatory Leadership as a Foil to Community Policing Partnership – A West African Case Study,” where he discussed his experiences in The Gambia where an innovative community policing strategy failed to take off because the political leadership, especially the President and other high ranking officials did not give the support to reform the police structure.  He said that if donors were unable to get the real support of the local leadership, they should consider pulling out of community policing programmes.

General Xuan Trugn and Nguyen Van Canh from the People’s Police Academy, Vietnam gave a presentation about the nature and structure of police in Vietnam and its activities with the Community. In Vietnam, COP was implemented in every activity of policing. Vietnam Police took up the movement for protection of the freedom of people and have organized voluntary groups in various schools for creating awareness among the public. 


Nirmal Kumar IPS: Is there any intention to dovetail the centrally sponsored schemes like SSA into Aswas so that it becomes more robust; Barua: Yes, we get assistance from Centre for Communal Harmony but no dovetailing with SSA; We also have partners like UNICEF at times (for specific projects and camps). The National Corporation for Child Development has helped Aswas in a big way. If required, we shall do so.

Nirmal Kumar IPS: As regards FOP, do you have govt data to support the effectiveness of the programme; Philip: Professor of Loyola College has done a study which indicates that some crimes have come down; but no clear link between FOP. Robbery has come down, burglary has come down; these could be because of intensive patrolling. Data is insufficient, but the 

Nirmal Kumar IPS : Do we have any legislation to regulate the functioning of private security guards and is there a need;  Private Security Agencies Act 2005 (central legislation); all security agencies have to be licensed. Under this, govt has prescribed the conditions of licencing, training of the security agencies including syllabi

Nirmal Kumar IPS: In Gambia, can we have local leadership to support these programmes? Perrot: I thought so, but when we worked with people in non-partisan way it aroused suspicions. Community policing becomes political. To be apolitical is to be seditious in The Gambia. Party militants got the charge of

Mahesh Nala (Michigan State Unviersity); Private security guards as partners in community policing – Published a paper in 1996 on this topic: three reasons why this would be very effective: 1) lay persons by law; 2) but look like officers. But the new Act doesn’t talk about training of private security guards. One study found that private security guards were received well in India, people had a positive view. The point is that here is a large group of people who could be harnessed by the police for their policing functions.

Chief of Army Staff, Nigeria: Perrot has made several generalizations on Africa. What happens in The Gambia does not happen all over in Africa; On Corruption, that is something that is there everywhere, including Canada. As regards women, women face injustice all over the world, so this is not merely an African phenomenon. One must also not forget that there is a colonial history which has impacted on politics and local administration.


Session 5: Unique Models under COP
Chair: Allison D. Henry Plotts, USA

The session started with Meeran Chadha Borwankar IPS, Commissioner of Police, Pune, talking on ‘Mahila Dakshata Samities.’ This initiative started by Maharashtra Police in 1985 to deal with violence against women. Committees set up at the district level with atleast one member, then raised to three and five. Women members are well educated, self employed, social workers, all indicative of active participation. Borwankar has held such meetings and found them useful. Members seem to like being in the forums, but negative in that new members are not be allowed to enter. NGO representation is very high. Surprisingly, 60% of women members said that they were not members of any political party. Meetings are being held regularly. Senior level participation is very good.  Further action is being taken on identified isssues. What emerges in the survey is that discussions are not only about VOW, but also other related issues. Awareness about membership is also very high. However, 26% women are not happy with the functioning of the Samities, so there is tremendous scope for improvement.  Other aspects can included like anti-human trafficking. Provision for training should be there. This model can be replicated and discussed in other states as well, and a successful model of

Duncan Chappell talkd on Mental Patients and COP. COP has a lot to do with marginalized sections, particularly mental health patients. WHO: One in four families have a member who has a mental health illness. Affects all sections of people. NYPD: we have obligations to protect MHP as well as general community. A significant contact with the police is with mentally ill people. 7-10% of public contact in the western world. Not all countries have mental health legislation which is supposed to dilienate the responsibilities of government agencies. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabiliity has been ratified by a large number of countries in the world. Bondi Beach incident illustrates fatalities often include mentally ill persons. How should police deal with these things? Community oriented policing with special emphasis on mental health is really the answer. 
Traditionally, mental health patients are often associated with superstitious practices and the devil. Some of them continue in Papua New Guinea. Provided comparison between PNG, Indonesia, China.  Most developing countries are unable to give resources or facilities to take care of mental illness.
Usually police officers divert mentally ill people from bad situations to health systems. Mental health of police officers also need to be improved; however, sensitivity, change in prejudices, attitudinal mindset etc are all important.

Commander Jim Webster, Metropolitan Police, London. Policing is based on boroughs; 32 boroughs in London. 8 million residents and 8 lakh crimes reported annually. Some officers are designated as Police Community Service officers whose main job is to talk to the community. Legacy of Robert Peele (1829): Police are public and public are the police; He created the Metropolitan police. The ideal police officer who knew his community and was on foot, has increasingly faded away and only in the last ten years have we actually reinvigorated the community policing approach. 624 wards, 1 sargeant, 3 constables and 4 community support officers for each ward. The priorities of the ward are set in conjunction with the rest of the community, and policing is accordingly adjusted to the needs of the community. This is also available as public information. The community gives back information on serious crime and on counter-terrorism.  The reinvention cycle of community policing: Enforcement focus – alienation – community focus – fall in detection rates – enforcement cycle.  We no longer go on this cycle but try to balance both sides. How do we build confidence in policing: (1) Effective in dealing with crime; (2) engagement with the community; (3) Fair treatment; (4) Alleviating local grievances. The future is uncertain, especially with budget cuts but new plans: New neghbourhood development, directly elected commissioners, increase of ‘big society,’ increasing police family, neighbourhood management, and empowered entrepreneurial staff.

Discussion led by Major General O.D. Reddy, Commander, South African Police Service. He pointed out that specific groups have been identified, such as women and persons with mental illness, and their issues have sought to be addressed. Model of community policing is based on the UK Model, but now UK is now reinventing that model. At any rate, the models have to be adjusted to the community.



Ravi Krishna IPS (AP Cadre): Model in Andhra to address Violence Against Women under Gandhian policing has been started, and there has been some successes.  Borwanker response: link between crime and community policing; in Maharasthra, successful engagement with women has led to an increase in reporting of crime. In Maharashtra 30% of positions in police are reserved for women but yet, women are coming with someone else to report crimes. Not completely confident in the police.

Questioner unidentified: Women in Pune, do you intend to take up a study of vulnerable sections of women within  Pune, particularly those who work, study and travel alone; Borwanker: Mismatch between modern girls and traditional men around Pune, and would love to commission a study of this situation. In the meanwhile, sectors of BPO industry have collaborated with us in providing security to the women.

Session 6: Critique of COP – Voices from the Field

Chair: Daniel Mabrey, Assistant Professor, University of New Haven, USA
Dr. Amos Aremu from Nigeria began the discussion on the “Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Community Policing.”

Policing in Nigeria has been fraught with deep suspicion and violence on account of the colonial hangover. Police corruption is widespread in the country. He said that COP, based on collective responsibility, needs the incorporation of emotional intelligence skills. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to deal with the emotions of others. These include: recognizing one’s own and others emotions, generating and using emotions in problem solving, understanding and managing emotions. Hence, there was the urgent need to train policemen in emotional intelligence since they face daily challenges and stress. This will impact on reduction of extrajudicial killing, harassment of innocents, etc by policemen. The police also have to develop communication skills for better leadership, motivating people to participate in team building, thus becoming dynamic members of the society.

Dr. Setlhomamaru Dintwe, from South Africa spoke about survival of community policing in remilitarized police. He gave a background of policing in South Africa, especially its difficult relationship with the general public on account of colonialism and apartheid. Hence, it was thought that a different methodology was required to heal the wounds and reestablish links with the community. The African National Congress introduced the Ready to Govern Document and the National Peace Accord which advocated reforms in policing, as a result of which community policing became popular in the initial years after apartheid. However, after remilitarization of the police, crime has increased. Dr. Dintwe pointed out the overall climate of policing was not conducive to COP, contaminated as it were with paramilitaristic outlook. This has to fundamentally change for COP to be really successful. To create real change the principles of COP, which include problem oriented approach, relying on organizational needs, broad focus approach and neighbourhood support are all required. He suggested that in the future, any successful police organization must include discipline, unit management, and task force to deal with serious crimes

Prof. Caroline Taylor spoke on the impact of community policing to assist women victimized through sexual violence. Crimes against women are a globalized problem, with discrimination and inequality existing in even civilized societies. The first difficulty was to draw victims out, as most crimes would not be reported. Further, such crimes are complex because they are not only physical, but also emotional.  Even though special units exist to deal with violence against women across the world, very few cases continue to be reported. It is in these areas that community policing has the greater role – in building trust with women so that they can place reliance on the instruments of state to address their grievances.

Mr. Mahesh K. Nalla, from Michigan State University spoke on organizational, environmental and cultural influence on community activities in Turkey and USA.  All activities of police are community related, as policemen are street level bureaucrats who build bridges between the public and the state. In a comparison between USA and Turkey, he found that COP had a long tradition in the US while it had only recently begun in Turkey, one of the methods they were using to gain entry to the EU. He found that policing in Turkey was more centralized, and its society more collective. However, Turkey seemed to perform better on crime and law and order statistics when compared to the US. Ultimately, he pointed out that COP is dependent on three variables: democratic/individual organizational factors, organizational culture, and environmental factors.

Mr. Kjell Elefalk, from the Swedish Police Service ended the session by saying that community policing could be of various types but ultimately it is based on trust, perception, and fairness. Trust and willingness to report crime are directly proportional. Trust and satisfaction of public is a mantra of community policing.


Session 7: Community Policing – Opportunities and Future Prospects

Chair: Hormese Tharakan IPS(Retd), Former DGP, Kerala,

The Chair opened with concerns regarding the use of police force to serve political ends. He pointed out that aggressive political actions to provoke police can result in relatiatory action against the police. Hence, it is important for the community to have confidence in the impartiality and apolitical conduct of the police.

Mr. Radha Vinod Raju, Former DG, NIA, spoke on the concerns of community policing in terror-prone areas, with a special emphasis on J and K. Starting with the difficult terrain which makes policing a nightmare in these areas, he outlined the various strategies, particularly the creation of Village Defence Committees which have played an important role in training volunteers in anti-insurgent activities. Because of the bonds between different religious communities, VDC are able to retaliate against terrorists, and deny them shelter. Funding for these programmes have come from the Civic Action of India, which has also conducted various outreach programmes like sports festivals, students tours, organization of medical camps, etc, which helps in bridging the gap between the police and the public.

Mr. Hemanprit Singh, IG West Bengal, spoke on operational challenges in community policing. He outlined three such challenges: left wing extremism, impact analysis based on decline in crime, risk averseness. On the issue of left wing extremism, the government strategy remains unclear as a result of which the non-combat population is stuck between the police and the extremists. If the police are able to address the needs of this group, they will be able to use the help of non-combatants. Any roadmap reagarding COP must address the following concerns: whether adequate strength is available, whether police will act fairly and impartially, whether they will listen to the community, etc. The police must also have over the counter services.

Mr. Ashok Dohare, ADGP, MP, gave a talk on community policing miracles in MP. He differentiated population and community and said that specific policing must address the latter while general policing the former. The Madhya Pradesh Government had for long the MP Gram Tatha Nagar Raksha Samiti Abhinayam, 1956 (Village and City Security Committee Act). Under this the major initiatives include women desk, deaddiction camp, etc. The major objective of community policing here is enable the people to gain the confidence that they will overcome in crisis situations. Ultimately the objective of COP is not a crimeless society but a peaceful society, where the public is the first respondent.

Mr. T.K. Vinod Kumar, Deputy Director, SVP National Police Academy, spoke about the role of community policing in communal situations. The major thrust of his presentation was to show that community policing was a long term tool that could be used to build inter-religious linkages, which could in turn be critical in a highly charged communal situation. Community based peace initiatives in these situations included inter-community meetings, combined work groups, individual conselling, mediation between disputes, and interfaith prayer meetings. There is a positive relationship between the number of policemen and violence, and the real solution is to use the community linkages to solve the problem. Community policing is intimately linked with social capital and hence there was an urgent need to utilize the same.

Mr. Arvind Verma from Indiana University, USA, ended the final session with insightful critique of COP. He questioned the difference between community policing and traditional policing since the latter is also supposed to serve the community. Further, since there is no fixed tenure the police officer cannot build relationships with the community. The organizational structure in the Indian Police system is not conduce for community policing. Modernization of the police and other police reforms are an urgent need. Before that there should be an internal reform as well to condition the mindset of police leaders. Dr. Verma also emphasized on the need for strong evaluation of community policing methods. Finally, he pointed out we must welcome criticism from all quarters, including the human rights community.

Ms. Tejdeep Kaur Menon, ADG Andhra Pradesh, made the final point that community should supplement traditional policing, not to supplant it. Further, it should not be an excuse for not providing core policing. Community policing is an effective tool to bridge relationships but a danger weapon if it is loosened. We have a great opportunity ahead but challenges remain.