Gujarat Police seeks suggestions from citizens to reform the force

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The police insist on the soft skills of the cops

The State Police has launched what is promised to be a series of reforms in the department which has direct interaction with the general public.

The Suraksha Setu company, long considered the Gujarat police’s velvet glove that covers its iron fist and falls under the police reform division, issued a letter on Thursday seeking suggestions on a list of 10 major issues and 33 related programs that can help bridge the gap between police and public, build trust and cooperation.

The move comes less than a month after DGP-ranking IPS Anil Pratham was handed over as chief of police reforms on October 18.

The 10 major points mentioned in the letter seeking suggestions from the public, civil society and NGOs include starting programs to sensitize the police towards citizens, bringing out the human side of police personnel, developing friendly relations with the neighborhood police, providing home help to people in need, etc.
The move comes just weeks after videos of cops flogging citizens tied to a pole went viral.

A retired mid-level officer stressed the need for results-oriented training for field staff, because “at the end of the day, even if officers may behave decently, the real relationship of the police with the public is measured only on the behavior of the gendarme.” “Unless the police do not differentiate their behavior with a criminal and a citizen, there will be no confidence in the uniform”, he said. declared.

An SP-ranking officer told the Mirror: “Improving the working conditions of police officers will directly affect their behaviour. Just as someone who spits or litters on the road will not do the same in high-end premises, a better environment in police stations and better working conditions in the field combined with soft skills training will result in better police behavior with the public.”

A volunteer from the police department told Mirror: “The main problem to be solved is that ordinary people should not fear men in khakis and that police stations should be an environment where even children are not overwhelmed and where all sections of society feel safe. There is also a great need for change in the way police personnel speak with the general public.

Asked about staff sensitivity training, Vikas Sahay, the DGP of police training, told Mirror: “Currently we are training cops of all ranks in soft skills. This includes behavior, communication and body language. This curriculum was revised two years ago and the new curriculum has placed even greater emphasis on soft skills in policing. Further refresher courses are provided by the respective CPs and SPs. »

Gujarat received the dubious honor of being the state with the highest number of deaths in custody in India for the second consecutive year (2020 and 2021), with the state reporting 23 out of 88 deaths in custody in the country, according to the 2021 NCRB report. On this, Sahay said that serious attempts to reduce the rate of deaths in police custody were underway and that from January to October 2022, the state reported 12 deaths, most of which were due to medical emergencies and suicides.

Asked about the aim of the latest reforms, Pratham said: “Our first priority is to seek input from potential beneficiaries of the Suraksha Setu programme, what people feel is lacking in the police and what they expect from the department.

“We hope to receive mixed opinions. Reforms are a broad topic that includes police and public cooperation. We want to streamline the process and have a direction of where we want to go from here.

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