JANAMAITHRI SURAKSHA PROJECT
Community Policing Project of the Government of Kerala
-Dr B Sandhya IPS,
- Nodal Officer, Janamaithri Suraksha Project
Law Enforcement in a democracy is a process by which public security is ensured by securing and enlisting the willing co-operation of people who are simultaneously the beneficiaries of such enforcement. Citizens are subject to the law which they themselves create by means of established legislative processes; therefore they also need to proactively participate in the process of preventing violations of enacted law.
Community Policing seeks the responsible participation of the citizens in crime prevention at the level of the local community, conserving the resources, both of the community and of the police, in fighting against crimes which threaten the security of the community. Experience shows that by seeking the active co-operation of the public in performance of police duties, the process of Law Enforcement becomes far more effective.
Social context of Community Policing in Kerala
Kerala is the most literate State of India. It is the least corrupt State (Transparency International- 2005). The area is maximum media penetrated with 78 Lakhs copies of print media and 16 TV channels. Hence any new idea will be under media scrutiny.
10% of Kerala population live outside the Country. At least 20% of the population has visited a foreign country. Thus the people view things in a global perspective.
Kerala is a highly politicised State. Almost everybody has his/her political belief.
But at the same time they are highly tolerant. For example, in the same family you may find people working for different political parties.
The population is multi religious with 50% population belonging to minority groups. There is no untouchability. There are no nuclear villages. People live intermixed.
In Kerala, Police is very high but there are no major industries. Service sector is the most developed.
Police constabulary of Kerala are highly qualified. Highest paid and highest qualified policemen of India are from Kerala. This has a historical background. The Travancore State Manual by T.K.velu Pillai (1882-1950) (first published in 1940) mentioned that only literate persons were recruited in Police Force. Men of high education are frequently chosen to fill places in the subordinate ranks. The document further states that "Prominent persons like Mahatma Gandhi have been so much impressed with the discipline and courtesy exhibited by the generality of the Force that they have thought it fit to give them high compliment by comparing them with London Police."
Public appreciate political neutrality. Public sensitivity is high on open and brazen partiality. Civil society appreciates impartial policing. However they are highly critical of any police action.
Against the back drop of such a social milieu, many individual officers of Kerala had attempted and succeeded in implementing Community Policing Programmes.
Janamaithri Suraksha Project – the background.
Justice K.T. Thomas Commission, appointed by the Government of Kerala to suggest Police Reforms submitted its report in 2006. The report recommended that the Government should implement Community Policing on an experimental basis. Accordingly the Government asked the Police Department to prepare and submit a draft scheme. The draft scheme submitted by the Department in 2007 was discussed elaborately at various levels and based on suggestions/recommendations by various persons a final project was prepared by the Police Department. The project in a nutshell is discussed below.
Janamaithri Suraksha Project is the community policing project of the Kerala Police.
The project is structured so as to facilitate closer community involvement in ensuring security and safety within communities. The project envisages to achieve the following objectives.
1. To prevent crime.
2. Co-operation of the Police and the Public in security matters.
3. To ensure mutual co operation of members of the public in the domain of security.
The project envisages to strengthen the Police by achieving the support of the local community. It is not a project aimed at bettering the image of the Police. It is also not a project wherein police duties are performed by the citizens. Rather it is a project to professionally strengthen Police and increase its accessibility to the needy public through close interaction with and better understanding of the public. Through the Beat Officers, citizen living in the area will be known to the Police and every citizen will be acquainted e Beat Officers.
The project centres around Beat Officers who are Police Constables/Head constables/Asst. Sub Inspectors, specially selected and trained.
Beat Officer & his Duties
For each residential area forming one "Jana Souhrida consisting of around 1000 houses within an area of 3 km there will be a Beat Officer. All the duties of the Police relating to patrolling, process service, petition enquiry, verification, collection of public complaints, servicing of complaint boxes, etc. will be done, subject to proper supervision HO, through such Beat Officer.
Within two or three months of becoming the beat officer, at Officer should personally know atleast one member of family living in his beat, all the roads and by-lanes in his area, working habits of local people and their special on a house to house basis.
At least three days a week, the beat officer should be available for an hour or so at a pre-announced place in the beat anybody who wants to communicate anything to him going to the police station may meet him there.
The Beat Officer is provided with a 'Janamaithri Bike' specially painted, depicting Janamaithri Emblem.
The Beat Officer shall also maintain a Beat Register showing the daily activities and daily transactions with respect to the beat and such Beat Register shall be examined SHO everyday.
Woman Police Constable is detailed as Assistant Beat Officer, so that problems of women could be addressed properly. The Women Police Constable is provided with a two wheeler..
The Beat Officers shall also attend the Janamaithri Suraksha Samithi Meeting every month. It is expected that the Beat Officer shall spend atleast 20 hours a week actually moving about and meeting residents in his beat.
It is essential that the Beat Officer conducts himself in an exemplary manner. Special Training Courses and periodical evaluations are done for making Beat Officers fully competent for the task.
Janamaithri Suraksha Samithi
Janamaithri Suraksha Samithi is a Samithi formed to assist the project function Samithi member should have time to spare for its activities and he/she shall not be involved in any criminal cases. the Samithi does not have any statutory powers.
The Janamaithri Suraksha Samithi shall consist of Corporation / Municipal Councilors, representatives of each active Residents Association, NGOs, local representatives, nominees of every High School Head Master / College Principal, reputed persons of the locality, retired police personnel and ex-service personnel.
The Samithi should have 10 % senior citizens 30 % ladies and 20 % SC/ST members. Political party members in that capacity are not included in the Samiti. The number of members is 10-25.
A Janamaithri Suraksha Samithi has to be formed in the Police Station based the report submitted by the Circle Inspector, through the Sub Divisional Police Officer to the Superintendent of Police/ Commissioner of Police form the Samithi.
Meetings of the Samithi
The Samithi shall meet atleast once in a month at a previously notified place and any member of the public, residing within the local area of the police station, may also attend the meeting to give suggestions / air complaints.
No Criminal cases under investigation or trial should be discussed in the Samithi. No discussion is made of arrest or any other statutory functions of the Police.
The meeting is convened by the Circle Inspector and SHO is the secretary Samithi.
The meetings shall be attended by the Sub Divisional Police Officer once in every months and by the Superintendent of Police atleast once a year.
The minutes of the Samithi meetings are recorded and kept in a minutes book. A is forwarded to the Sub Divisional Police Office.
Activities under the Janamaithri Suraksha Samithi
The Janamaithri Suraksha Samithi may formulate and implement, depending upon local perception, the following types of plans for betterment of policing and crime prevention area.
Formulation of joint Police - Community patrols to prevent thefts and street crimes in residential areas.
To identify strangers and migrants to the area and to help the police ascertain their identity and antecedents.
To formulate plans for security measures and installation of security devices in houses, flats, shopping complexes etc.
To identify the needs of the disabled and aged population and of weaker sections living in the limits and to devise plans for ensuring their security.
To develop and implement plans for improved traffic regulation in the area, including co-ordination and management of traffic wardens.
To develop plans to give training to youth in First Aid and Trauma Care, Palliative Care, blood donation, self employment etc. and involve youth in community oriented projects.
To form Jagratha Samithis for women and for school/college students to arrange legal aid/counseling etc.
Organise legal awareness classes, traffic awareness programmes, blood donation camps etc.
Special programme for security of taxi drivers etc./ involving local community road accident victims, Highway Suraksha Jagratha Samithis.
Environment friendly volunteers to protect the environment.
Victim support Cells.
District Advisory Samithi
Superintendent of Police/Commissioner of Police should form a 'Jilla Upadesaka Samithi' including M.P, M.L.A, Municipal Chairman/Mayor and also other representatives nominated by the Superintendent of Police/Commissioner of Police. The Samiti have 10 - 20 numbers. Once in three months, Superintendent of Police/Commission Police may convene a meeting and review the activities of the Project and give nee advices for successful implementation of the Project.
To popularize the concept of Janamaithri Suraksha Project, Janamaithri Kendrams were opened in some places. These centres help people to come and interact with Classes on traffic safety, career guidance etc. are organised at such centres.
Janamaithri Kendrams have been functioning in some of the Districts and in Battalions.
The main objectives of the Kendram is to function as an information developing Janamaithri Yuvakendram, to provide sports and youth training facilities counseling space and facilities for women, giving career planning and self employment training, anti drug campaign, palliative care training, traffic education centre/ traffic el park and any other activities facilitating police - community interface helping serve the community in a better manner. It is proposed to start Janamaithri Kendrams 10 more places.
A notice board may be put up giving various news items, photographs etc on Janamaithri Suraksha Project.
Various posters inculcating Traffic sense, Civic sense etc among student community may be put up.
Posters depicting helpline numbers, awareness posters on drug abuse, Crime against women etc also can be put up.
The centre can be developed as a community Interaction entre. Help from the public is sought in educating traffic accidents/quickly responding during traffic accidents, natural calamities etc.
Voluntary groups/ organizations, etc which are working in the field of promoting peace, National Integration and Communal Harmony may be encouraged to associate with the centre.
Youth are encouraged to work in the project under ‘Janamaithri Yuvakendram’
From the Nodal Officer’s Diary
In 2007, I got an order from the Government, giving me an additional responsibility to the Nodal Officer for the Community Policing project of Kerala, to be conceived and implemented, as suggested by the Justice K.T. Thomas Commission.
Mr. Jacob Punnoose, the then Add!. Director General of Police Intelligence and Chairman, Implementation Committee asked me to prepare a Project Report. He specifically told me not e in an exercise of finding out literature and dabbling in theoretical research papers. down to earth practical project was the thing required.
We listed out a number of successful Community Policing initiatives of Keral and various other States. Based on the models, around 17 feasible projects were prepared. Then we had discussions on the modalities, taking into consideration, the demographic distribution, number of houses in urban and rural localities and various other aspects. Finally our draft scheme was submitted to the Government.
The Government was very particular about a dialogue and consultation with each and every section of the society, before finalizing what to do.
It was decided to have a State Level Consultation Meeting involving all political parties and representatives from each and every section of the society.
The draft scheme was widely publicised, making it into a small booklet viz 'Community Policing Project of Kerala (Draft) (Janamaithri Suraksha Project).
In Kerala the society is extremely sceptical about anything new. When the draft was circulated, many eyebrows were raised. However we reiterated that it is only a draft and anybody interested has a stake in finalising the scheme and that everybody is free and welcome to put forward their suggestions through email or post.
The State Level Consultation was held under the leadership of the Home Ministeri Opposition Leader and Justice K.T. Thomas at the Government Guest Thiruvananthapuram in September 2007. There was participation of all Political Party State Level Leaders, intellectuals, sociologists, journalists, literature, Planning Board members, n of NGOs and each and every section of the society was well represented in the Can Meeting. Many Officers who are pioneers in Community Policing Projects throughout the length and breadth of the Country were invited to share their experiences.
Many an apprehensions were shared in the meeting by various dignitaries. The, divided opinions and heated discussions. But by the end of the day long sessions, the consensus on the point that we needed a Community Policing Project to make a more secure and safer neighborhood and society. Everybody was requested to e-mail or post their well thought out written suggestions also.
Those who attended the Consultation and studied the draft project were very positive during their private conversations with me. However many others, including Police who never read the draft or studied the project commented that we may burn fingers by trying to implement something which is necessarily bound to fail, due to lack of man power and interference and misuse by political parties.
The next responsibility was to modify the draft project, based on the suggestions. This
Was done fast and a final draft was sent to the Government. The Government accepted the scheme and GO (Rt) No. 3161/2007/Home Dtd. 23.11.2007 launched the pilot project in 20 Police Stations in the State.
This was followed by State Level Seminar with the participation of Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assembly, Municipal Chairmen and Officers of the places pilot project was planned. Training for the Officers was arranged at the Kerala Police Academy. Preparing the draft syllabus for the training of Beat Officers again was a process required lot of detailed attention even on minutest details. It was not an easy task to train table/Head Constable to work as a responsible Beat Officer, who deals with all kinds of people from all sections of the society on a daily basis. A Beat Officer's personality has to be moulded. He has to have interpersonal skills, communication skills, behavioural skills and what not ! How can you mould a super character or model character out of an ordinary Head Constable! It was a big dilemma! Selection of Beat Officer was made a personal responsibility Superintendent of Police/ Commissioner of Police. The training syllabus was discussed time and again. Committed Senior Police Officers, Psychologists, Management experts etc were selected and discussions were held with them about the modalities of the classes. Classes arranged in batches in the Police Training College so as to ensure that everybody gets the same training input.
It was just like a new born baby to be taken care of every minute.
Visiting and interacting with the beat officers and the Janamaithri Suraksha Sc members in all Districts, organizing State level meetings, attending all District organizing State level meetings, attending Seminars. it was the most hectic period in my professional life. Slowly we found that scepticism is giving way to enthusiasm. People who were reluctant to share information the Police started voluntarily coming forward with information. The women folk started request in some places that their beat officers should not be changed. Municipal Chairmen of Payyannur, Perinthalmanna, Thodupuzha, etc. started constantly interacting, proposing project Janamaithri in their Municipalities; crime cases were being solved through information gat under the Project. ..... Yes ..... Janamaithri Suraksha Project started taking its first baby steps..
Janamaithri suraksha Project – Implementation
The Janamaithri Suraksha Project seeks to develop closer ties between the police the citizens, and create synergistic partnerships within local communities to deal effectively with anti-social activities and prevent crime.
Janamaithri Suraksha Project was a product of concerted and inclusive deliberations; involving the whole cross section of society. The programme was cogently drafted, providing detailed guidelines for uniform compliance across the State. Yet, it afforded sufficient: for local adaptations, facilitating the evolution of the programme with qualitative improver as the implementation continued. Police Associations too contributed their mite towards project, thus ensuring that the process of reform was from within, and not pushed down.
Following its statewide launch in March 2008, it has been adopted on a pilot within the jurisdictions of 20 police stations across the State, with three each in the metre of Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram and one in each of the other Districts. Residential areas within the jurisdictions of each Janamaithri Suraksha Police Station were demarcated into separate and distinct 'Beats', and one Beat Officer, attached to that particular Police s was assigned to cover each beat. As part of their duties, these Beat Officers were request visit all residences within their given beat areas. Often these beat officers were accompanied by Women Police Constables as Assistant Beat Officers, during the house visits. Since the programme seeks to maximize contact with the local community members, these beat officers also made it a point to pay regular visits to local educational institutions such as school colleges that fall in their respective Beat areas. In each area where the programme was launched several community initiatives for enhanced security were also formulated, jointly with the citizens. Regular meetings between police personnel and local residents were conducted each beat area, as well as at the Police Station-level. Senior police officers of each also took part in these community meetings.
It is very heartening to note that in some places, local ward sabhas of Municipalities shifted the venue to the Samithi meeting/ Beat officers' meeting place.
In Calicut city, where the basic ingredients were all in place for Janamaithri to prosper, it was implemented in Chemmangad, Panniyankara, and Kasaba Police Stations. While the first two were relatively small Police Stations, Kasaba held the pride of place amongst all Police Stations, housing the central market area as well as well to do residences. Chemmangad Police Station encompasses the backward coastal area that, tiny although, is home to a lot of soscial activities. Surprisingly, Janamaithri efforts in Chemmangad yielded maximum results. from the start of the programme, people had great enthusiasm for the programme. Beyond expectations, poor Muslim women in hundreds flocked to the Ward level Meetings, participating meaningfully in the deliberations. Beat Officers, in fact, used to complain that their preliminary house visits were often inordinately delayed because enquiries at each house usually take up to an hour. As time passed, the Ward level Meetings turned out to be less
And less about police issues, but more about community issues. They wanted problems of housing, sanitation, and garbage disposal to be solved. Many sought police help to provide employment. Eve-teasing, which figured prominently in the initial meetings, slowly eared from the agenda. Crime statistics started showing a declining trend, although, admittedly, the difference was not all too perceptible. Training in Palliative Care as Palliative volunteers, in turn, helped the Beat Officers effectively to provide solace to the terminally their beat areas. A grand 'Kudumba Sangamam' in the Station compound, consisting of staff, their families, and all the residents of the area, was probably the highlight of the s far as Chemmangad was concerned.
In Payyannur, Kannur District, the Janamaithri experiment was more a community celebration than a policing venture. Payyanur Muncipality embraced Janamaithri as if it were its programme. The Muncipal Chairman, Shri G D Nair, took on, with admirable zeal, the successfully navigating this fledgling project through rough and tumble. Today Janamaithri nonym for police in Payyannur. Standards of accessibility, courtesy, competence and professionalism began to be expected in Payyannur from the police. Besides regular beats ard level Meetings, general/local issues are now tackled under the ambit of Janamaithri. evolved solutions for long-standing boundary disputes, opened up water channels, or, as cent example, opened up a brand new Bus Bay which was a crying need for years. What ous is that a general feeling of safety permeates across the Janamaithri wards in Payyanur. portantly, people have developed confidence in the friendly neighbourhood Beat Officer, m they have trust as one to whom they could rush in times of crisis.
The ruling party of Irinjalakkuda Municipality is United Democratic Front, whereas in almanna Municipality it is Left Democratic Front. But both Municipal Chairmen are ardent ates and supporters of the project and the project is highly successful in both the places.
In Cherthala, the project has taken the shape of a people's movement. When Janamc Suraksha Project Convener Mr. Varghese, Circle Inspector of Police got transferred out people requested for a cancellation of that transfer, because he had already become part parcel of the local community through successful implementation of the project.
Kochi City bagged an international recognition on implementing the project by win an award of the 'International Chiefs of Policing Association' (IACP).
In the South Asian Regional Conference of 'Commonwealth Human Rights Initial held in Delhi on 30th October to 1 st November 2009, the Kerala Model of Community Pol became the focal point of discussion.
The independent Impact Assessment Study conducted by Sociology students of Feroke College, Calicut, surveyed a random sample of 11 01 people in Chemmangad and Panniyar Police Stations. Of the sample surveyed, 85.8%, knew about the project, of which 80% through direct contact. For a Government programme, on every count, this is a laudable achievement. Majority of the people perceived police as courteous. Significantly, they gave a rating of over 4/7 to the police on performance. Keeping in mind the general negative mindset that people had of the police, such a good rating was clearly an indicator of the stride project has made.
Undoubtedly, the Janamaithri experiment has clearly taken wings in the eighteen months of its existence. Its primary success has been that it has transformed people's perception of what the police ought to be. By setting out standards of performance that the police wan achieve to rise up to people's expectations policemen's own level of responsibility surprised those expectations and rose up instantaneously.
Capacity building of Beat Officers
Within the organisation, the project has been a revelation. Policemen and Head Constables, when designated as 'Beat Officers', and assigned the task of proper policing in their beats, instantly rose up to the task. Besides turning into self motivated individuals, Beat Officers went about their tasks with a remarkable degree of self confidence that had so far been alien to them. Indeed, at every ward meeting, it was sheer joy to watch these Beat Officers hold forth eloquently on the successes and issues in their beat area.
In fact many of the beat officers are more popular in the locality than the local leaders. This naturally paves the way for the exit of corruption.
In spite of constrains due to deficiency of manpower, reports on programme implementation from all over the state indicate that there has been unprecedented support community members to this initiative of the Kerala Police. On the one hand, police personnel reported an increased level of job satisfaction while carrying out their duties as part of the project, while on the other, community members have been quite forthcoming in responding positively to these efforts by the local police personnel.
The project envisages strengthening the Police by achieving the support of the local unity. It is not a project aimed at bettering the image of the Police. It is also not a project in police duties are performed by the citizens. Rather it is a project to professionally then Police and increase its accessibility to the needy public through close interaction and better understanding of the public. Through the Beat Officers, every citizen living in the area will be known to the Police and every citizen will be acquainted with the Beat Officers.
The project centres around Beat Officers who are Police Constables/Head Constables/ sub Inspectors, specially selected and trained.