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UNICEF's gender sensitisation programmes for police need of the hour
UNICEF's gender sensitising programmes are helping police personnel to tackle tricky situations in the best acceptable mode to the extent possible. Based on a press report, the 10-year old UNICEF project in this regard has brought about a semblance of change in Karnataka.

Nearly 25 per cent of the force posted in police stations in Karnataka, especially the younger personnel, have undergone training at police academies or at their posting districts under the "Gender Sensitisation and People Friendly Police Initiative" and are making a conscious effort to handle issues of women and children, crimes of violence in particular, with sensitivity and responsibility.

A 2011 evaluation by consultancy firm Deloitte of the UNICEF-funded project, adopted in 2002, found a perceptible positive change in police attitudes towards cases involving women and children. Set to come under complete control of the state police, the project has also triggered interest in several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Meghalaya and Rajasthan. 

The Deloitte evaluation found police responsiveness to women and children to be better at police stations with personnel trained in the programme. The evaluation reported that 80% of the trained respondents specially mentioned handling issues pertaining to women and children and protecting their rights as one of their focus areas. 

According to the UNICEF, the focus of the programme is "attitudinal and behavioural change of police through an understanding of gender, power relations, prevalent patriarchal influences and changing social scenario". UNICEF has so far spent Rs. 1.53 crore on the project in Karnataka. The state police, which has agreed to take over its ownership, has proposed an outlay of Rs.50 lakh per annum.

The above training programme should be covered in as many areas as possible as it is proving to be of great significance to police personnel.  Therefore, fund allocators and administrators in Police Departments in different parts of India must attach big importance to providing the above training on a big scale.

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