(Public Administration Paper II / Chapter: Law and Order
(Current Based) Question:
Why there is talk of introducing Community Policing ? (25 Marks/300 Words)
Community policing pitched the police as neighbourhood problem-solvers rather
than as incident-activated crime-fighters. Police officers assigned to community
policing duties were asked to maintain close contact with the community and to
solve their problems through foot patrols, community meetings and prompt service
at police stations.
Robert Peel, the father of modern policing, had this insight when he founded
the London Metropolitan Police in 1829. Calling the police “citizens in
uniform”, he urged them to work in close collaboration with the community and
focus on crime prevention. It is another matter that the British in 1861 built a
militaristic and repressive police in India to defend their predatory rule.
In the early 20th century, the police force under the influence of detective
novels, developments in the automobile and communication sectors and sub-urbanisation,
opted for the “professional crime-fighting model”, which focused on three Rs —
random preventive patrols, rapid response to calls for service and reactive
criminal investigation. This reduced the role of citizens in crime prevention
from collaborators to help-seekers.
The increasing motorisation of police patrols isolated the force from the
communities. The police interacted with citizens primarily at crime scenes,
making the relationship between the two increasingly hostile. Cut off from
community, police grew increasingly inflexible.
There is an urgent need to embrace a hybrid of the community-oriented and
crime-fighting policing strategies and to reinforce it with crime-mapping and
trend analysis. This will keep the majority on the side of the law as well as
deal effectively with career criminals and psychopaths. And it will be an
optimum utilisation of scarce resources.
This is the time to reinvent the role of constables,and transform them to
problem-solvers. Or else, law enforcement agencies will be overwhelmed by rising
crime and overrun by escalating street violence. A proactive police engaging an
interconnected, volatile and youthful population through community policing
programmes is perhaps the only hope for enduring peace and lasting order. (Total
Valuable Inputs from The Indian Express Columns : ‘People Police’ by O P
(Linkages: Police and Community, Community Policing and Repressive
Policing, community-oriented and crime-fighting strategies)