Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cops teach to mend image


Ways to make friends
Ranchi, April 24: Policemen are teaching schoolchildren in Simdega and selling vegetables on behalf of villagers in West Singhbhum.

This is part of the individual exercise by some of the superintendents of police to put behind the trigger-happy image of the men in khaki and as a confidence building measure to build bridges with the people.

Bullets, said Simdega SP Martin Pores Lakra, can never be an answer to extremism. “The police will have to first win the hearts of the people,” he told The Telegraph.

The first step he took after getting the new assignment two months ago, he recalled, was to prepare a dossier of police officers and constables about their educational qualifications and identify subjects, which they could teach to the school students.

They now compulsorily teach the students for one and a half-hours whenever the police are on the anti-Naxalite operation, the SP said.

Policemen now carry a bag full of instrument box, medicines, sports kits and so on. It is a kind of payback to the villagers for allowing policemen to take rest for some time in the school building, he said.

But don’t policemen scare the schoolchildren? “No. Rather, we have been successful in befriending hem,” he claimed.

“Besides, we are also doing a survey of persons afflicted with tuberculosis and carrying them to hospitals.”

Lakra recalled how his men played the good samaritan to three girls of Saranga village, who did not have money to fill up forms and appear at the secondary examination. All three appeared in the exam this year.

Policemen on patrol have also been instructed to pick up schools students and reach them home or to their schools.

In his district, Lakra said, policemen had also begun a campaign against liquor addiction.

Even more impressive is Lakra’s claim that the police on patrol have also been asked to prepare reports on the state of tubewells, hospitals and roads and submit their reports to the district administration for corrective measures.

Director-general of police J. Mahapatra said the SPs were encouraged to promote community policing and get closer to the people. Some of them have responded well, he said. Each SP, he claimed, has been given Rs 5 lakh under community policing.

On why police cannot attend to basic problems like absence of ration cards, the DGP said: “Government officials will resist the move, if we get into it.”

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