Tag Archives: police budget

From Ideas to Actions

I’m back with the Police department after a very enjoyable deputation stint with CIDCO. I’ve been thinking about what I can do from my current position in the State Police HQ to implement the ideas that I’ve been blogging about.

Interestingly, I found an order of the Ayush dept of Government of India, which mentioned that the government will fund police departments at the district level across the country for better health of policemen through yoga. The funding was substantial too – monthly payment for the yoga teacher and for record keeping and a one time grant for fitting out a location for the yoga classes, in each district that would take part in the scheme. This will be a great idea to implement in two ways-1. Daily yoga classes for police and their families in Police Lines in every district-it would be great for their health and the benefit should be measurable, and 2. Daily morning meditation (strictly secular, no-chants) open to public, at a public place like a municipal garden etc especially in geographical areas which experience frequent public order disturbance-this would again be good for the health of policemen if people become calmer and there are fewer law and order situations for the police to handle. Point no 2 should also be measurable. The critical to-do here is to be able to engage with institutions of repute in yoga and meditation for implementing the program in every district in Maharashtra. I would eagerly wait to see the results on both these counts, in a few years!

Another useful thing to do, is to handhold till it takes root, the budgetary funding of police stations in every district of Maharashtra. The government order needed to make this a reality, already exists. A 2006 Maharashtra government order had enabled the Police Station In-Charge to be made a Drawing and Disbursing Officer(DDO) for incurring office expenses and for payment of the police station telephone bills. Strangely, this order has been implemented-only in little measure though-in only one district in Maharashtra till date.  It will indeed be an empowering thing for the SHO to have government funds at his/her disposal to run his/her police station on a day to day basis. It may also have a bit of impact on ‘ necessary corruption’!

I think another very creative thing to do would be to encourage SPs in various districts of Maharashtra to ideate on community policing projects for their areas, prepare project proposals and send these proposals to government for approval of budgetary funds. I’m sure there will be enough enthusiasm from the young officers on this. If sustained over four-five years, budgeted community policing/preventive policing projects could bring about better rapport of police station officers with the people, reduce local crime and also earn greater respect for their work.

I think these and such to-do’s can be common targets for police departments across all states in India. And importantly, they are completely within the capabilities of the police departments themselves to do.

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Can Preventive Policing be a Strategy for Police?

AIbEiAIAAABDCNHI9JDL38HrYSILdmNhcmRfcGhvdG8qKGRmZjM3Y2IyNGFiNzVkYTE5Y2QxOWM5YjVjZDg5YzZhODkzY2FhYmYwAeb12e_1DLWxFoaTlOyiwl7aGBdwThere have been many projects in preventive policing at the initiative of individually motivated officers in India.  In Maharashtra, these efforts have been seen for maintaining peace in areas which were frequently communally disturbed (like the  Peace Committees which were formalized as Mohalla Peace Committees by Mr Suresh Khopde, the  DCP of the area in 1988, after studying the 1984 Bhiwandi communal riots. Similarly, the Mohalla Committee Movement Trust came into being after the Mumbai riots of 1992 with the thought initiative of senior police officers like Mr Julio Ribiero and Mr Satish Sahney ), or for generally reducing levels of social tensions in rural Maharashtra, due to unresolved complaints, as in the Gram Tanta-Mukti Program started in 2007, for making villages resolve their non cognizable complaints(these are complaints which by law do not have ingredients for lodging an FIR under which police have legal powers to investigate) as well as compoundable cognizable complaints(these are complaints which have offences described under the law for police to conduct an investigation, but which can be voluntarily settled by the warring parties by agreeing to settlement terms before the court of law).

The results of the preventive program in Bhiwandi  have been visually impressive. There has been no outbreak of communal violence of the type seen in 1984 and frequently earlier, in Bhiwandi, despite the tense situations of 1992 and after. Though development schemes of the government in the area would also have contributed to the peace, the police-community contact program has surely added considerable contribution to the communal amity in the area. Similarly, the ‘tanta-mukti’ scheme for complaints’ resolution in villages may also have prevented crime by slowing down the social conflict arising due to lack of timely justice in individual complaints.

The above are only two examples of tackling problems in the bud. Most police station jurisdictions would have one significant area for such work, in a lesser or greater measure, but due to a lopsided emphasis on other police functions like detection of crime or keeping order(both done as post-facto activities after the event), the preventive aspect of police working(which can be quite creative) gets virtually no attention and funding in police budgets.

So, if police is to be seen as people friendly and not a constantly confrontational force vis a vis people, which to my mind, would be the desirable situation in any free, democratic country, preventive policing should be stressed as a critical function of every local police unit. Locally relevant preventive policing schemes require to be thought out by the local police structure, based on the predominant local problem and such schemes should be funded and their performance audited periodically by governments to maintain continuity.