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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Community policing likely to get a new orientation

KOCHI: The Pol-Com (Police Communities Initiatives in Kochi City) needs a re-orientation among stakeholders. In the first phase, identity cards were issued to representatives of many communities. But not much activity followed after the first two meetings. This led to confusion among the stakeholders on their role in Pol-Com. "The stakeholders appear not to have understood the real import of the identity cards. Those selected were supposed to go back to their community and take up coordination activities there," said P. Vijayan, City Police Commissioner.

So far 32 identity cards have been distributed to representatives of residents' associations, merchants union, residents of unorganised residential areas such as colonies, manpower consultants, hotel and bar association, private security personnel, vital and important installations and senior citizens.

"Identity cards were issued to the president and general secretary. As there was no follow-up on the part of the police, no activities related to Pol-Com were taken up," said K. Venkitesh Pai, general secretary of Ernakulam Merchants Union. The City Police used to have interactive meetings with members of the Union, but this had become defunct of late. "As there were no major issues to be discussed, we put the meetings on hold," said Mr. Pai. At the same time, the Ernakulam District Residents Association Apex Council (EDRAAC) is demanding more representation in Pol-Com by getting more identity cards. On their part, the EDRAAC is planning to print one lakh more copies of `Police at Your Doorsteps' booklet.

The City Police had published and distributed 10,000 copies of the booklet containing tips on preventing crime and helpline numbers. "We have begun negotiations with sponsors for publishing additional copies," said P. Rangadasa Prabhu, president of the Council. To bring back the focus to Pol-Com, the City Police are planning to convene a meeting of cardholders. "The idea is to fix the agenda for action," said Mr. Vijayan. A meeting of former police officials has also been planned on January 30 at the CMFRI hall.

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