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Policing For the People, By the People


Ajay K. Mehra

COMMNUNITY POLICING: MISNOMER OR FACT?
By Veerendra Mishra
Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2012, PP. 226, Rs. 695.00

VOLUME XXXVII NUMBER 5 May 2013

Community policing has several meanings. To begin with, it refers to a process of taking policing back to citizens, for according to some scholars, that is where it began as a measure of public safety even before states and regimes appropriated this role and created a ‘police force’ for maintenance of public order and, of course, for their own protection. Notably, police is a derivative of the Latin word politia, which means citizenship and government. Obviously, police as an idea and organization emerged to meet the needs of public safety, with both citizen and government having roles in it. By implication, the concept of community policing is about a change in stakes from the protection of states and regimes to that of the people, with their active participation. The change in stakes means that police and policing are democratized and in order to achieve that people’s involvement is actively sought in maintaining peace and order. The idea and concept of community policing has been practised the world over for nearly three decades. In India, it has been used and initiated in several states for over two decades, but the result has been mixed. Tamil Nadu (Friends Of Police), Assam (Prahari and Aaswas), Himachal Pradesh (Vishwas Yojana, Suvidha Yojana, Sanrakshan Yojana), Punjab, West Bengal (Sahayata), Andhra Pradesh (Maithri), Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and the NCT of Delhi (Bhagidari) are some of the states that are experimenting with community policing in different ways and in different degrees for some years. However, India would still not rank high enough on the community policing map of the world, as none of its experiences so far has been noted for efficacy.   The book under review which has emanated from the Ph.D thesis of a serving police officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, is the first of its kind on this issue and a welcome contribution that combines both theoretical and empirical aspects of this phenomenon. Aside from exploring both the conceptual and organizational dimensions of community policing in ten chapters, the author also brings in his experience as a young police officer in MP and international experience from his posting as part of a UN assignment in East Timor. The case studies add a qualitative dimension for greater comprehension of the intricacies involved in applying the concept of community policing for what he calls ‘decentralizing and localizing’ policing; he has not used ...


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