Can we be friends of the police?

Why not? After all, each of us also has a responsibility as citizens of the country to help maintain law and order not only in terms of our own conduct, but in influencing others. This goes so far as to making a ‘citizen’s arrest’ if necessary in some countries, a concept unheard of here. It seems that our general approach to this is either of apathy, ignorance or complete abdication of all responsibility. On the other hand when crossed, many of us tend to respond very aggressively and emotionally. It would make enormous sense for all of us to understand that we can play a role in maintaining law, order and social peace and harmony along with the police. That’s’ what the Friend’s of the Police’ movement is about.

In a recent article in the City Express, Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala spoke on the subject while releasing a book written by the police officer who founded the movement:

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala underscored the importance of Friends of Police (FoP) movement in maintaining peace, curtailing crime and in boosting the morale of the police, here on Friday.

Releasing ‘The Friends of Police Movement – A Roadmap for Proactive People Protection’, a book written by Pradeep V Philip, Inspector General of Police (Social Justice), Surjit Singh Barnala said that “Only with coordinated efforts of the public and volunteers of Friends of Police, can crimes be prevented, reduced and detected at the initial stage and culprits can be nabbed.”

With many multinational companies thronging to start their industries, “We should have no room for terrorism. Crimes should be curbed and dealt with in the beginning itself “, said Barnala.

Lauding Pradeep V Philip for initiating the FoP when he was Superintendent of Police in Ramanathapuram, the Governor said that FoP “Should be made into a mass movement. It should start at ward level and should be spread throughout every nook and corner of the state. The book should serve as a base for future research.”

Pradeep V Phillip said that FoP had successfully emerged as a tool for national security under public-private partnership. “FoP can catalyse the public against terror and isolate criminal elements. This movement is crucial at a time when USA and UK are looking for citizen initiatives, post terror attacks.”

D Mukherjee, Director General of Police and Subhash Sarnikar, chairman, ICFAI were also present.

It would be great if the police offered orientation programs so citizens could understand what their role is in contributing to law and order, and how best they could do it. This would also foster relations with the police and make the concept of ‘Friends of the Police’ more widespread. We could also look at a volunteer force, who are in uniform, well trained and augment the regular police with volunteer work of a certain number of hours per week. This is common in cities like New York and London, and helps increase the ‘feet on street’ for patrols that help prevent crime and maintain law and order.

Something to think about.

10 Comments so far

  1. udayms (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 1:30 pm

    For this, the Police will have to take the first steps. I don’t believe that the police are civil servants serving us – THE PUBLIC. I like to see them as professionals DOING THEIR JOB. I would like them to treat me as another professional. I would like them to not intimidate me with threatening stares, words and gestures. Police is one of those professions that I respect. I hate to see a police man ‘begging’ for a bribe. I hate to see that a person I supposed to trust with my life is so cheap and pathetic.

    In other countries, see the way police treat suspects. Check out the Haneef interrogation transcripts here. Check out the respect the police officers show for the suspect. Count the number of times, they have used words like “Sorry”, “Sir” when conversing with haneef.

    For this, the Police should be trained to treat a human being as a human being. Till that happens, I wouldn’t be really open to befriending a police man unless I know the person personally.

  2. tsk tsk (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

    I think a volunteer police force already exists. many businessmen and professionals do wear the uniform when summoned for police duty. i have seen many of these volunteer police checking cars at night for drunken driving …

  3. naveen (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 6:55 pm

    hey ppl ….Info similar to that …..

    A new portal to get live traffic and directions in Bangalore…

    Bangalore traffic police have launched a live traffic portal (Bangalore traffic information system)

    1. Where you can find the optimal routes between any two places in Bangalore.

    2. Auto-fares

    3. Bus routes and stops, etc.

    This is one of the best sites that I have seen by a govt. agency and must be complemented.

  4. naveen (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

    hey ppl ….Info similar to that …..

    A new portal to get live traffic and directions in Bangalore…

    Bangalore traffic police have launched a live traffic portal (Bangalore traffic information system)

    1. Where you can find the optimal routes between any two places in Bangalore.

    2. Auto-fares

    3. Bus routes and stops, etc.

    This is one of the best sites that I have seen by a govt. agency and must be complemented.

    Hope one needs to be implemented in chennai….

  5. Vivek (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 10:37 pm

    I second Udayms. Many people in India fear Police more than Gundas. I cannot be a friend to Police until Police behaves like a Police. Right now they are there only to wipe politicians a$$.

  6. udayms (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 12:18 am

    I have seen BTIS.. I think the way it calculates auto-fares for you is just plain cool!! It’s really great. If you are new to town. You can get an approx figure in your mind.

    Of course that feature is useless in Chennai. Here autos don’t work by law. They dont switch on their meters. Here only bargaining sells. You have to fight with the driver almost everyday. Even if I know the exact fare to be paid. I will still have to argue with the driver to get him to agree to what i usually pay. :)

    That said. is a really innovative and nice site. It’s worth visiting.

  7. Navaneethan Santhanam (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 12:18 am

    I too agree with Udayms. I’m scared of being stopped by police officers on the road, especially if I’m alone. I’m almost certain that I’ll be threatened, cursed and forced to bribe. Until this fear leaves me, and only contrary experience will change this, I don’t see myself trust the police force. I do, however, respect the police (as an institution), and Chennai cops do damage to that name.

  8. suresh (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 2:18 am

    Today’s police force especially the higher officials are all about making money. For example when I was driving by OMR with a realtor to look for sites in a colony in between Sathyabama Engg College and Classic Town (this is the Gods Own Villa) the realtor was telling me that almost majority of the plots purchased were all IPS & IAS officers. The cost of each ground is 25 lakhs. Where the heck did these officials start getting paid this much money to purchase land in OMR? Btw you need to purchase atleast a minimum of 2 grounds in that layout.
    I was even deeply disturbed when during the site visit the realtor had reveived a call from one of the clients (wife of a famour IPS officer in Chennai city – no name mentioning here) wanted to purchase land in Thoraipakkam for 1.5 CRORES??
    I will never believe these Police folks as they are just busy making money (bribes, extortion, etc).
    This country will never change and the politicians would never let it change.

  9. Ram (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

    No matter how large and effective a police force may be, it is never going to be adequate to contain crimes in every nook and corner of the country. The police force can use every extra pair of ears and eyes that it can get. How better to do this than to have its citizens partake some responsibility. Citizens need to be educated and encouraged(maybe rewarded) by the police force so that they are more vigilant and to be more forthcoming in reporting anything odd or ominous happening around them. With terrorism starting to take roots within India, this is an increasingly relevant concern. However, given the lack of trust in the police force and the general apathy of the citizens, this is a tall order.

  10. Vivek (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

    Who are protecting?, a freedom fighter?. Go ahead and tell his name. Let everybody know how big a crook he is. He is bloody criminal. Share his name.

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