Community policing to be extended

Chennai Police Commissioner Letika Saran was interviewed by The Hindu about the Community Police initiative recently. I Haven’t come across this initiative anywhere else. Anyone know how successful it is? If done well, it could be a very effective way of bringing about social harmony, leave alone prevent crimes in residential areas. Even better, Ms Saran says that members can put forward traffic problems in their localities! Read all about it:

CHENNAI: The Chennai Metropolitan Police will extend community policing to all police districts, Police Commissioner Letika Saran said here on Friday. Speaking to journalists, she said the system at present was operational in the South Zone. It would now be extended to the other two zones.

Under the system, area committees would be formed in every street. Local residents could become members, the Commissioner said. Inspectors of Police in each station would involve residents by holding meetings regularly, she said. Corporation authorities had agreed to participate in the meetings to resolve civic issues faced by the residents.

Every three months, senior officers, including the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Joint Commissioner and the Additional Commissioner would participate in the meetings, Ms. Saran said. Crime prevention was the main objective of the move, she said, adding residents could put forward traffic problems in their locality.

In the last week, police claimed to have solved 13 cases and arrested seven persons. They recovered Rs.11 lakh worth material, including jewellery weighing 115 sovereigns, Rs 2.61 lakh in cash and a cellular phone. In a daring daylight robbery last week, a woman was attacked in her house and intruders took away Rs 1.49 lakh worth of jewellery. The Mangadu police registered a case and a special team arrested two persons in this connection, the Commissioner added. Source: The Hindu Saturday July 1, 2006

What is even better is that, “Corporation authorities had agreed to participate in the meetings to resolve civic issues faced by the residents.” Is this the solution to the citizens having their voice heard and their needs met at last? Instead of facing endless bureaucracy, whether with the traffic police or the corporation, with no action at the end of it? Leaving citizens to fend for them selves?

Perhaps it is! In which case if it is offered in your locality, leap at the chance. And report how it goes-it just might encourage more people to participate for a winning citizens-government initiative.

2 Comments so far

  1. Anand (unregistered) on July 3rd, 2006 @ 9:21 pm

    David, most cities in Britain have a ‘neighbourhood watch’ scheme that operates in residential areas using which profiles of common offenders and potential crimes could be assesed. Of course, Britain is also the land of the CCTV and Big Brother. When there was an attempted mugging on me in Bristol, the police were quick to respond, and said that even though they might not be able track the very kids who quickly ran away when an alarm was raised, they could build up a profile with the information I supplied them, and also determine potential mugging zones in streets, escape routes etc. So yeah, it makes a lot of sense to involve the community in crime prevention and detection. So to your question of whether such a scheme works, I’d say yes. But… there is a big ‘but’ here. Britain is a different culture. People love forming queues, Chennai, I have seen, is made up of people with a different disposition to public assembly. Will there be a different approach to crime reporting, even if you’re not a victim?

  2. thennavan (unregistered) on July 3rd, 2006 @ 11:58 pm

    Anand, the US also has the Neighborhood Watch program and one can see the signs posted in most communities. And like you, I too was a victim of mugging – right outside my apartment building in Philly in 95.

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