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Governance

Friends of Police in Tamil Nadu

  • 06 Jul 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the services of Friends of Police (FOP) has been suspended in Tamil Nadu.

Key Points

  • The move came after a controversy over FOP volunteers being engaged in beating of P. Jayaraj and his son J. Benicks, which led to their death in custody.
  • The FOP is a Community Policing initiative that aims to bring police and public closer. It was started in 1993 in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu.
    • FOP helps to promote crime awareness among the people and enables prevention of crimes. It imparts fairness, transparency and impartiality in the working of police.
    • Volunteers can apply for FOP following minimum criteria like no political affiliation or criminal background, etc.
  • Issues Involved:
    • The 3rd Tamil Nadu Police Commission Report, 2008 has said that the FOP scheme is not evaluated by an independent body and its usefulness is doubted by a section of people.
    • It has also mentioned that some undesirable persons enroll themselves under the FOP scheme and misuse the position.
  • Suggestion: The 2008 police report had recommended that the FOP scheme should be modified as Citizen Volunteers Scheme.
    • It mentioned that the effort of Police must be to develop such a bond with the public that all citizens are friends of Police, and not only a designated few.

Community Policing

  • The Basic Principle Underlying Community Policing is that ‘A Policeman is a Citizen with Uniform and a Citizen is a Policeman without Uniform’
  • It is defined as a law enforcement philosophy that allows police to continuously operate in the same area in order to create a stronger bond with the citizens living and working in that area.
  • It helps in reducing the trust deficit between police and public as it requires the police to work with the community for prevention and detection of crime, maintenance of public order, and resolving local conflicts, with the objective of providing a better quality of life and sense of security.
  • Examples of Community Policing in India are:
    • Janamaithri Suraksha Project: Kerala
    • Joint Patrolling Committees: Rajasthan
    • Meira Paibi: Manipur
    • Community Policing Project: West Bengal
    • Maithri: Andhra Pradesh
    • Mohalla Committees: Maharashtra

Way Forward

  • Any volunteers under the Community Policing should be allowed to help police, but not to take the role of police. The criminal background of the volunteers must be checked before their deployment.
  • Community policing is a philosophy, not a program. If the philosophy of community policing is not understood by all of those that are involved, then the programs will not succeed. The biggest obstacle that community policing and the community-based programs have to face is the idea of change. Officers have to change the concept of policing and citizens have to be willing to accept that change.

Source: IE

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