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  • Janamaithri Suraksha Project: An exclusive endeavor to protect the public

    Published on October 23, 2010

    BY  Dr B Sandhya IPS,
    Inspector General of Police (Programme Nodal Officer)

    The Janamaithri Suraksha Project of the Kerala Government is a statewide community policing initiative by the Kerala Police that seeks to develop closer ties between the police and the citizens, and create synergistic partnerships within local communities to deal effectively with anti-social activities and prevent crime. Since its statewide launch in March 2008, it has been adopted on a pilot basis within the

    Jurisdictions of 20 police stations across the State, with at least one in each District, and three each in the metro cities of Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. Thus far the programme results have been quite satisfactory, and in many cases have even exceeded expectations of programme planners.

    As part of the Janamaithri Suraksha programme, police are encouraged to take the initiative in implemented some or all of the following projects in local communities, with the support of local community members. Selected citizens of the locality may be voluntarily associated in assisting the police organization of the locality in one or more of the following activities:

    • Night patrolling within neighborhoods
    • Coordination with security guards of private establishments and residential colonies
    • Identification of strangers to locality
    • Installation of security alarm systems in residences and other establishments
    • Arrangements for increased security for senior citizens, women and children, as well as persons with physical handicaps and other disabilities.
    • Establishment of 24-hour Telephone Help-lines for use by citizens, esp. the needy sections of society.
    • Awareness classes and crime prevention workshops on Traffic, Drug Use, and other violations of the Law, especially in educational institutions.
    • Institution of Traffic Warden System by co-opting members of the public in traffic regulation duties.
    • Psychological counseling for victims of crime as well as disaster victims, suicide prevention, etc.
    • Providing accurate and timely information on faulty signal systems, street lighting arrangements, poorly maintained roads, etc to the concerned authorities.
    • Organising and encouraging Blood Donation camps, as well as Eye and other Organ Donations by willing donors in the local communities.

    Implementation

    The Janamaithri Suraksha Project seeks to develop closer ties between the police and the citizens, and create synergistic partnerships within local communities to deal effectively with anti-social activities and prevent crime. Following its statewide launch in March 2008, it has been adopted on a pilot basis within the jurisdictions of 20 police stations across the State, with three each in the metro cities 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 station, was assigned to cover each beat. As part of their duties, these Beat Officers were required to visit all residences within their given beat areas. Often these beat officers were accompanied by Women Police Constables as Asst. 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 schools and 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 local citizens. Regular meetings between police personnel and local residents were conducted within each beat area, as well as at the Police Station-level. Senior police officers of each District also took part in these community meetings.

    Reports on programme implementation from all over the state indicate that there  has been unprecedented support from community members to this initiative of the  Kerala Police. On the one hand, police personnel have reported an increased level of job satisfaction while carrying out their duties as part of the project, while on the other hand, community members have been quite forthcoming in responding positively to these efforts by the local police personnel.

    The following are among the more interesting results reported from Janamaithri Suraksha Police Stations across the state of Kerala:

    • In Kasaragod Police Station (Kasaragod District) limits, it is reported that the white jeep of the Janamaithri Suraksha programme gets a warm welcome from local residents as they see it pass. Here, located as it is along the National Highway (NH 17), there are usually incidents of vehicular accidents, and the local police have made it a point to respond with urgency to such incidents.

    • At Payyanur (Kannur District), local residents were sufficiently motivated by the initiatives of the local police in countering instances of illicit liquor distilling and sale, so much so that entire communities have come together to eradicate it from their midst.

    • In Kalpetta (Wynad District), which has a large adivasi (tribal) population, the genuine concern on the part of police regarding issues affecting tribal women has inspired community leaders to take steps to address the issue on a priority basis.

    • In Kozhikode City (Kozhikode District), the police initiatives in dlivering palliative care to local residents have evoked admiration of the citizens, and members of the Residents’ Associations have come forward to work with local police in addressing community issues.

    • Within the jurisdiction of Perinthalmanna Police Station (Malappuram District), house-owners reported that immediately after the visits by the local Beat Officers, the tenants in some rented houses disappeared, even foregoing the advances paid to the house owners. It is surmised that at least some of these visitors to the area had criminal motives in coming there, and that the visits by the police caused them to re-think their plans.

    • In Irinjalakuda (Thrissur District), the police have been successful in motivating local residents to develop a community-wide blood donor forum, as a valuable community resource. In addition, college students have been associating with the Police as Traffic wardens, with the encouragement of college authorities.

    • At Ottapalam (Palakkad District), the police have reported success in curtailing instances of illegal sand mining, with the assistance of local communities. The programme has also received a lot of positive feedback from the large number of elderly citizens resident in the area.

    • In Kochi City (Ernakulam District), police have been working closely with Residents’ Associations to make local communities safe for the citizens. Police have been making efforts to spread awareness about the utility of burglar alarms and other household security devices.

    • Cherthala Police Station (Alappuzha District) officers report that the local citizens are highly appreciative of the Beat Officers and their involvement in delivery of counseling services within families, especially to members of the socially backward Kudumbi community. Here, too, instances of anti-social activities such as illicit distilling and sale of liquor has come down significantly.

    • In Thodupuzha (Idukki District), instances of environmental  pollution caused by dumping of hotel wastes into local rivers and water bodies have been curtailed, due to the interest shown by the police personnel, and the cooperation of local community members.

    • Vaikom (Kottayam District) reports that, with the cooperation of the public, police have been able to deal effectively with anti-social activities such as distillation of illicit liquor, illegal sale of pan masala, etc.

    • In Paravoor (Kollam District), incidents of chain snatching by gangs in broad daylight, as well as increasing instances of house burglaries at night were effectively brought down, as a result of the close interaction between the police officers and the citizens. Information of the perpetrators of such crimes was instantly brought to the notice of the police officers, and immediate action by the police resulted in many arrests.

    • In Adoor (Pathanamthitta District), an area where many residents are elderly and living alone in their residences, the house visits by the beat officers have been warmly welcomed. Here, it is reported that these police personnel are often treated as family members by the residents. These citizens have expressed a feeling of increased personal security and household safety, due to these visits to their houses by uniformed police personnel.

    • In Thiruvananthapuram City, police were able to arrest a gang of anti-socials that were making use of school students to deal in drugs and other banned substances, with the assistance of school authorities as well as students.

    • Volunteer groups of policemen in each of the seven Battalions of the Kerala Armed Police have undergone training in Palliative Care, and stand ready to perform these services to the needy sections of society. In addition, sports facilities in these camps are being used to provide professional training in athletics and sports to local school and college students by the trained sportsmen in these police battalions. As a result, there has been a noticeable change in community perceptions regarding the police among communities adjacent to these camps.

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