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Strengthen India's internal security with community involvement
HARISH DIDO | 18 May 2017

With these arrangements, the community in India would unambiguously turn from being defenseless to priceless supporter in the fight against terror.

The recent attacks in Jammu and Kashmir – in which a number of our jawans were killed and in the past also in a number of serial blasts in last decade in major cities of India – have definitely dented the credibility of the security forces in preventing such incidents.

Merely giving statements by politicians that a befitting reply would be given to Pakistan are routine and stereotype but nothing actually happens on the ground. All this has put a tremendous strain on the security apparatus, rendering it ineffective and making our cities defenceless, giving a chance to the forces across the fencing to strike at regular intervals at the place and time of their choice to inflict maximum loss to life and property.

The internal security in India needs reinforcement from all quarters and community can play a vital role in defeating the designs of anti-national forces in India. On the one hand, the government is working to find ways and means to make the safe living places, several forces across the world have also adopted community participation measures sharing the responsibility with the police and help in implemented the crime prevention strategies.

A terrorists strike involves three distinct stages – pre-planning, execution and post-strike response. To deal with all these three stages, there is a need to adopt integrated security architecture, introduce community participation measures by making them part of core policing activities, maintain data bank of residents, forming resistance groups in villages for crime prevention and information collection, reviving the strengthening chowkidari system, having corroboration with private security agencies to exchange of information and forming police-private partnership committees for innovations and leveraging existing facilities especially to put a check on network sharing and financial transactions for terror funding.

The China – our neighborhood had developed extremely effective policing strategies by strengthening the social forces to prevent crime.

My recent visit to the Singapore surprised me when I did not see a sing police force there on the public places and everything is going normal. Yet there is lot of work going on behind the facade and officers do visit various places to educate the public. The concept that is developing there is that of from police to policing. Their Corporate First Responder (CFR) scheme aims to fore a win-win partnership between the government and business community to deal with the aftermath of terrorist attack. The scheme allows key business personnel from CFR members to access the restricted sites post incidents to take mitigation measures to help expedite return to normalcy.

Certain states in India too have taken the initiatives to provide information regarding suspicious activities of undesirable elements with a bearing on terrorism and crime in general with the introduction of Eyes and Ears Scheme under Delhi Police seeks by involving the rickshaw-pullers, hawkers, security guards, shop-keepers etc.

In fact, the idea is to keep a vigil with community participation and the Himachal Pradesh government has introduced the concept of beat policing team.

Likewise, in Tamil Nadu, any member of the public, who is not involved in civil or criminal case can become a member of 'friends of police' who can provide useful information leading to solving crimes.

In Madhya Pradesh also, under the tutelage of District Superintendent of Police, commuters have been formed in urban and rural areas as per te Madhya Pradesh Gram Thatha Nagar Raksaha Samiti Act.

In Kerala flagship project of Kerala Janamaithri Suraksha Project is a three tier structure with the beat and community police officer at the bottom. The beat officer has to personally now at least one member of every household in his beat and constantly interacts with service providers in the area like postmen, linemen, milkmen, gas agencies to get information about the area.

In Punjab, too, Community Policing Resource Centres – CPRCs have been formed with local members but they are confined to women counselling cells only, though with successive rates.

Frankly speaking, the joint ventures by the police in partnership with the community that shares common goals and operations can lead to community involvement, resource augmentation, expertise sharing and improved results.

Moreover, the police can be positioned in such a way that helps to increase safety working in partnership with groups to enhance safety rather than an organisation that provides safety solely. There is need to identify the required linkages to strengthen the measures through community participation.

The measures proposed above would not only help the flow of human intelligence from community to the security forces for more alert and vigilant community willing to aid and inform police forces.

Still it is the right time for the police to switch over to community policing in real sense following the neighbourhood countries by developing the community as a plus point for gathering and sharing intelligence to prevent terror strikes.

With these arrangements, this would unambiguously turn the community in India from being defenseless to priceless supporter in the fight against terror.