Sample Material of Public Administration Study Kit: Law and Order Administration: Police-public Relations

Sample Material of Public Administration Study Kit (Paper - II)

Law and Order Administration: 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.

Some Experiments

  • 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 successfully.

  • 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 stations.

People’s Expectations

  • 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.

Community Policing

  • 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 people.

  • 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 enthusiastic.


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