Community Policing

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This article has been written by Mansi Singh, 1st-year student of Amity Law School Raipur, Chhattisgarh

INTRODUCTION

Community Policing is a paradigm shift established at the bedrock of community partnership in creating a safe and secure environment for all. It is policing whereby the people take part in their own affairs, the police are not seen as a problem or stranger whose presence stands for danger but as partners in development and those members of the community are co-producers of justice and equality police service. This fact indicates the need of involving the community, the local government, and the police to work together to tackle crime. Instead of simply leaving it to the police force. community policing revolves around a philosophy that the entire community can help take measures to prevent crime.

 WHAT IS COMMUNITY POLICING-

The police come naturally into very intimate contact with people in their daily work. Therefore, the question of the relationship between the police and the public is a very important one

Community policing Is often treated as a departure from traditional policing However, the ideology behind community policing was first discussed during the birth of modern policing. When Sir Robert Peel founded London Metropolitan Police in 1829, the nine Peelian principles were published to outline how it should work.

Peel principles state that the central mission of the police is to prevent crime and disorder and that they are an alternative to repression by military force. Basically, the method of community Policing is that many community-oriented police structures focus on assigning officers to a specific area called a “beat” and having those officers become familiar with that area or beat through a process of “beat profiling”. The officers are then taught how to design specific patrol strategies to deal with the types of crimes that are experienced in that beat. These ideas are implemented in a multipronged approach using a variety of aspects, such as broadening the duties of the police officer and individualizing the practices to the community they’re policing, refocusing police efforts to face-to-face interaction in smaller petrol areas with an emphasized goal of preventing criminal activity instead of responding to it, solving problems using inputs from the community they’re policing and finally making efforts to increase service-oriented positive interaction with police.

HISTORY OF COMMUNITY POLICING

A police-community Relations program was virtually unknown before the 1960s. In most instances. It was probably popular pressure, rather than administrative imagination, that brought the notion into being. This stimulus came primarily from increasing assertive ethnic minorities, since, then some police manager has tried hard to make concept real in their departments. A basic difficulty in police-community relations is to define the concept. Individual officers have different conceptions of it, not to mention various factions of the community.

There are certain differences in the Indian Social, economic and political environment and that of the western nations, where community policing is practiced successfully, and these differences have to be kept in mind to modify the implementation strategies for India. The countries in the west, like the U.K., have a long tradition of local government in police and other spheres of life.  Historically, in the U.K., in boroughs and urban district control exercised by the watch committees was complete. Even in other governing bodies of most of these reach back dawn of the English history. In practice, community policing does not develop according to a single one-dimensional process, several factors such as lack of political and management priorities, internal communication problems, a shortage of police capacity and resources, emphasis on emergency situations may hamper, or even set back, the development of community policing.

It is desirable, though not easy, for a department like the police to adopt initiatives like community policing, following are the obstacles in implementing the same: –

  1. Conservative police culture.
  2. Resistance to change (to community policing from the traditional method).
  3. Rigid paramilitary structure.
  4. Underpaid and undertrial staff.
  5. Multiplicity of police wings.

For a police department, this would mean good service to the community. Community Policing Resources is a pioneering step by Punjab police started in 2003.  CPRCS have already been established in all the districts. It Is a four-tier body at the head of which is the state steering committee that provides policy guidelines, support for capacity building, and strengthens the system of planning, management, and integrative mechanism.  The district-level committee ensures the networking of the CPRC with other government Departments and Administrative Structures. It also Streamlines the training of personnel at the district level coordinates with sub-divisional and thana/ police station outreach centre.

OBJECTIVE OF COMMUNITY POLICING

  • The main objective of community policing is to bring down crime rates by improving public police partnership. It is aimed to solve local neighborhood problems by preventing and detecting crimes, restoring law and order, and bringing down the crimes against women and weaker sections of the society.
  • It wants to ensure proper coordination among various departments and agencies to ensure the safety and security of the community.
  • Community policing is a better alternative to the bureaucratic model of policing because the bureaucratic model limits the contact between the police and the community. It fails to provide equitable and impartial policing to all sections of the citizens.
  • In this scenario, community policing offers cost-effective and participate in crime preventive approaches.
COMMUNITY POLICING IN INDIA

Journey of Indian Police in relation to Community policing

It would be a matter of common interest to know that, what are the hurdles in the path of Indian Police becoming people friendly. The following are some issues because of that the police organization was not people-friendly at all.

  • Historical Perspective:

 Indian police is a legacy of the colonial rule. It was contemplated as an instrument of oppression with a view to curb nationalist movement. At the time of its inception and during the colonial rule, police ‘being assistance to the people’ was out of the question. Given this background, it was necessary to reorganize and reorient the police after independence. Unfortunately, the dynamics of policing could not deviate much from the colonial days. As a result, police are being dreaded rather than being considered as a friend and helper.

  • Speedy Media Reporting

Police operate under certain compulsions and according to a set procedure. Since ‘facts emerge after a reasonable spell’, police persons are trained not to rush to the conclusions on the basis of preliminary observations. Before reaching any conclusion, the police have to undertake a thorough investigation including conducting several forensic tests. Thus, police persons are neither authorized nor able to say anything

  • Unaccountable Police Functioning:

From the above, it must not be misconstrued that all that media reports about police malfunctioning is wrong and that everything is right with the way the police function. There are several potholes in the police functioning which erode its faith among the masses. Handling of registration of First Information Reports (FIRs) in police stations is a serious problem.

Though registration of an FIR “…is an obligation under the law,”6 a common citizen finds it very difficult to lodge an FIR as “… it takes two weeks to get an FIR registered.”7 The recent case in which it took two hours for a Supreme Court judge to get an FIR registered in the capital is sufficient to highlight the problem in registration of FIRs.8 While taking a tough stand on this issue, a Bench consisting of Justice B.N. Aggarwal’s and Justice P.P. Naolekar “… ruled that if the police officer concerned refuses to file an FIR on receipt of a complaint, he should be suspended forthwith.”9 Besides, there are several other ways in which the police misuse power, perpetrate excesses, and misbehave with the common man let alone the indicted and those in the lockups. Numerous inquiry reports, judicial pronouncements, media reports, survey reports, etc. stand testimony to this fact.

  • Fake Investigation Reports by police

An investigation into the incident of alleged ‘fake encounter’ of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his wife Kauser Bi on the outskirts of Ahmadabad in November 2005 revealed that the Muslim couple was pulled out of a Hyderabad- Mumbai bus and Sohrabuddin was murdered. His wife, the sole witness to the incident, was silenced later on. The investigation report highlighted the ‘total lack of respect for law and humanity’ of the anti-terrorist squad 10 of Gujarat police. Vanzara, the suspended DIG, “… dubbed Sohrabuddin as a terrorist planning to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

He thought shooting a “terrorist” would gain him ‘promotion and personal gain, in career.” Even more startling is the recent Nithari episode in Uttar Pradesh. Though as many as 38 children went on missing over a period of thirty months but so insensitive was the police that they were not prepared to lodge the First Investigation Report (FIR) despite the consistent complaints of the parents of the missing children. The CBI investigations into the killing of children at Nithari have revealed the extent of police links with the accused ranging from the inspector to the SSP of Noida.

Conclusion

Community policing is a philosophy policing where police and people come together to ensure the safety and security of the community. It is a must for any police organization to function effectively. Community policing encompasses all activities that bring police and people together, that improve poke image and public faith in the police, and motivates them to cooperate with police and get involved in their own security. The transition to Community policing requires a change in mission statement, departmental organization, leadership style, and general approach to fighting crime.

Society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. But it is equally true that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”

https://www.discoverpolicing.org/explore-the-field/what-is-community-policing/

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/What_Works_in_Community_Policing.pdf

 

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