Sample Material of Public Administration Study Kit (Paper -
Law and Order Administration: Police-public relations
POLICE – PUBLIC RELATIONS
Police Public Interface Core Issues
- Among several essential prerequisites for public acceptance of the
police, legitimacy of all their actions depends upon the extent to which the
public judges the police to have been behaving properly in accordance with
the basic rules and values. The central aspect of this facet is Rule of Law.
- The need to bring in change in attitude, secure greater involvement of
the people in policing and spread human rights awareness and education are
amongst the core issues for consideration.
- The police are embodied with a symbol of state power and this makes it
more vulnerable to misuse it.
- Emphasize on the need for change in attitude because public servants are
to serve the people and not to act as masters.
- The problem also lies in the fact that the judicial system and the
different elements of the justice system-such as investigation, prosecution,
the continuous adjournments in the courts due to witnesses not appearing,
delays in justice and all this has failed and unless these are made
functional there is going to be no dent on human rights issues.
- It is important for the civil society to be alert to ensure that the
police provide proper service.
- Another form of poor policing is poor or lack of supervision of cases by
senior officers especially in far flung police stations in the state.
Different State Governments have initiated several
practices to enhance: Police-public interaction and cooperation to
secure better policing. Some of the initiatives taken by the state
governments of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra related
to establishment of a detailed computerized control room facility with
online interaction with the public, introduction of mobile counselling
centres for women in Tamil Nadu; participation of NGOs and other weaker
sections in Karnataka; the constitution of Mohalla committees for communal
harmony backed by a scheme of reward and recognition for promotion of
communal harmony and prevention of communal violence (as in Maharashtra)
were some of the examples of programmes involving people’s participation
Help line: Some State Governments have established
‘Help-Lines’ computerization and networking of Police Stations with facility
of on-line registration of complaints and inter-active sessions with
citizens as well as establishment of Women Mobile Counselling Centres.
A crime stopper call system which is a special telephone
number where information regarding any crime which is committed can be given
and this is relayed to the patrol team has been set up in Kerala.
However, in India not every one has access to computers
or access the internet portals. The Akshaya Project in Mallappuram district
of Kerala as a part of the efforts by the government have taken up 673
booths where computers are installed and people have been trained to use the
computers. This is linked online to the collectorate and to all police
- People do not want their police to become a complete state or a social
service agency providing education or dispensing with medicines, etc. What
the people really expect is that the police should enforce the law and work
according to the law.
- What a citizen wants is that the police must function as per the law
without being influenced by outside pressures.
- It is certain that the public evaluates the equality of service it
receives by the nature of the response of the police personnel at the level
of the police station. When the staff of the police station distance
themselves from the public, the latter gets more and more disillusioned and
dissatisfied with the entire police machinery.
- Performance Evaluation Survey of Mumbai police needs to be conducted
with reference to the Citizens’ Charter and the promises made by the Police
to the citizens.
- Several participants and speakers voiced concern that there was an
immediate need to change the attitude of police personnel. This is because
only an alert civil society can ensure the police to provide proper service.
Awareness also needs to be created amongst the public on the High Court and
Supreme Court guidelines and directions of the National Human Rights Commission
through seminars, workshops and publications.
However, these are still experiments in policing or in
police -public interface. The need of the hour is to persuade the
governments, the legislatures or municipalities that these efforts are not
anecdotal but need institutionalization.
Area Committees had been set up in the district of
Coimbatore to tackle the problem of communal violence after the bomb blasts
of 1998. These committees were entrusted with the task of collecting
intelligence with the regular interaction and cooperation of the local
The experiments were very successful in preventing law
and order problems and generating faith and confidence in the community, in
overcoming allegations of bias and high handedness through active
involvement and participation of the people. Perhaps one reason for the
success of the experiment in Kerala was that the political functionaries
were kept outside the programme, the meetings of the committees took place
in non controversial areas such as wards and streets and not at police
stations. This programme helped in building police -public relationship.
The Kerala Police have several police-public contact
programmes which were introduced in Trivandrum in the year 2000, and are
known by the term “CAATCH” or "COMMUNITY ACTION AGAINST
THIEF CULPRITS AND HOOLIGANS.” Under this scheme the resident associations
meet regularly with the officers of the station and the commissioner of
police once a month. This is a successful project and the response has been