In an attempt to change the public perception of the police force and involve the local public in assisting the police, Goa police has launched 'Saad Sanvaad', a community policing initiative.
The initiative was inaugurated by chief minister Manohar Parrikar at the Goa police gazetted officers institute in Altinho, Panaji on Sunday.
The initiative will see police meeting the public, NGOs and other institutions on a regular basis and seeking their inputs on various policing aspects. Police hope to improve intelligence gathering through this initiative.
Parrikar said "community policing is a good concept which we have to enhance." He called for effective community policing stating "the responsibility of making this initiative successful lies with the police."
Parrikar, who holds the home portfolio, said '5-10% people who are alert and have knowledge of what goes on in society can help police solve crimes." He said 50% of leads given by public in solving crime cases turn out to be genuine.
He urged police to find out from the people how they could improve their functioning and not to turn this initiative into a publicity show.
DGP Kishan Kumar said the police cannot be present everywhere and the community as a force multiplier can be an effective tool of surveillance and intelligence gathering.
He observed that "the gap between public perception and reality of the police force needs to be bridged by continuous interaction between the police and the community."
Kumar disclosed that the crime branch had begun taking feedback from random complainants on complaints.
Chief secretary B Vijayan felt while the police had cracked down on drugs, prostitution and matka gambling, solving of heinous crimes like murders and robberies needed more focus. He said the police force was recruiting personnel to meet manpower requirements and would soon segregate law and order from crime investigations.
There was some embarrassment for organisers when some of the traffic wardens from Chorao who were invited for the function, were upset that their voluntary community services were not acknowledged at the function despite being an example of community policing.
Esperanca Rodrigues, one of the 12 traffic wardens from Chorao, said, "We have been doing this community policing for the past three years. We are surprised and hurt that our services were not acknowledged today. We have been totally ignored at this function. We thought we would have been presented with a certificate."
Edward D'Abreu, also a voluntary traffic warden from Chorao, said "the traffic wardens should have been acknowledged. That way more people would come forward in voluntarily helping the police."
The wardens were later mollified by Vishram Borkar, SP Traffic and later met the DGP Kishen Kumar. They were assured that they will soon be given certificates acknowledging their service.
Prizes to winners of various essay, poster and photography contests organised by the Goa police were distributed on the occasion. Mayor of Panaji Vaidehi Naik, IGP Sanjay Singh, bureaucrats and the top brass of the police were present on the occasion. [TOI]