Study moots for police station in every panchayat

Study moots for police  station in every panchayat

With the existing police system “considerably alienated” from the rural mass, a new study has suggested that there is an “urgent need for increased involvement” of panchayats in the functioning of the police.

There should be one police station per panchayat in order to have a better working relationship and sharing of budget and other schemes between these two institutions at the local level, according to “Local Self Governance and Policing: a study on two Grama Panchayats of Thrissur District, Kerala” by Sony Kunjappan.

The study based on “Janamaithri Suraksha Project” and “Jagratha Samithi” (Vigilance Committees) in two gram panchayats in Kerala was aimed at examining the functional relationship between grama panchayat and the police in rural policing, thereby exploring ways to strengthen the rural citizen’s access to justice.

Acknowledging that the existing police system “continues to produce fear and inaccessibility” in time of need, the study commissioned by the Bureau of Police Research and Development said the police stations should not be viewed as “symbols of a foreign power or an alien form of government” imposed on the local community.

“Police stations must be transformed into centres of justice where citizens may enter with confidence to demand that their rights of citizenship be secured. For this, a policing system that interacts directly with the people must be created,” the study said while commending the Kerala Police initiative of “Janamaithri Suraksha Project”.

The study said that the police stations do not have enough staff and each one caters to more than one local body.

It goes on to suggest the  need for outsourcing the functions of service of summons, escort and such general duties to appropriate agencies.

There is “also an urgent need for increased involvement” of local government in the functioning of the police, it said adding, “police functions such as traffic control and solving minor law and order problems should come under local self governments. It needs transfer of most of the police functions along with the personnel to the local self governments over a period of time.” With politicisation of police “causing considerable amount of barriers to human rights based policing”, the study said, insulating the institution of police from politics and related dynamics are of paramount importance towards ensuring the constitutional mandate of equal treatment for all citizens before law.

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