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Internal security cause for concern: PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called upon the police to reach out to citizens and address their needs and expectations.

The Prime Minister’s address at the Conference of Director-Generals and Inspector-Generals of Police — 2007 here today reflected the UPA government’s aam aadmi thrust with his speech dwelling at length on the problems faced by the common man and his expectations from the police in day-to-day life.

He said citizens wanted a secure environment to live in and carry out their activities. “Their worries centre around petty nuisances, harassment by local criminals or gangs, goondaism, dadagiri, and in some areas, threats of violence and even kidnapping and extortion. Women and senior citizens are increasingly concerned about their safety. Girls worry about the growing menace of eve-teasing. Parents worry about child abuse. As we get more urbanised, these offences are increasing. White collar crime, too, is seeing a rise,” he said.

The Prime Minister said it was only by addressing these concerns that police forces would be able to reach out to citizens and win their confidence and affection. Setting out a benchmark, he said people should be willing to approach a policeman with the same assurance with which they visit a doctor. “That should be our common endeavour.”

Terming the police as an essential pillar of a civilised society and one of the vital institutions of the state, the Prime Minister said people expected police forces to be fearless, dedicated, competent, tough while also being fair, humane and honest.

He said the internal security situation in the country continued to remain a cause for concern for both the central and state governments. Referring to the terror attacks in Hyderabad and the Naxal violence, the Prime Minister said these pointed to the formidable challenges faced by the country. “Violent incidents continue in some states of the North-East, particularly in Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. The ethnic overtones of violent acts in Assam are particularly disturbing. While the situation in Jammu & Kashmir has shown some overall improvement, violent incidents keep recurring,” he said.

The Prime Minister also referred to incidents of vigilantism and citizens taking law into their own hands, particularly in Bihar. “While some of it could be a result of personal frustration, some of it also arises out of dissatisfaction over the functioning of the law enforcement and justice systems,” he said. Calling upon police to constantly improve internal security machinery, he said the police forces should improve in terms of training, skills, equipment, resources, mobility, attitudes.

Assuring government’s support, he asked the police chiefs to provide necessary leadership and direction.

On Naxalism, the Prime Minister said while concerted efforts were being made to boost development and remove any feeling of alienation , the police forces needed to redouble their efforts to control the spread of this phenomenon. “Some states like Andhra Pradesh have demonstrated that where there is a will, there is a way forward. Other states need to work with equal determination and in tandem to eliminate this menace.”

He said terrorism had become a global phenomenon with terrorists being determined, committed and highly motivated adversaries working with an evil design and intent.

On problems related to the North-East and Jammu and Kashmir, he said the government was working on many fronts to improve the situation and police forces had an obligation to continually work towards a safe and secure environment for the ordinary citizens.

He said maintenance of law and order on matters which directly impinge the citizens may not be a high profile issue but it was of great concern to the people. “This is the bread and butter work of any police force which can get neglected due to other pressures,” he said, adding that policemen should ask themselves if they were effectively addressing people’s concerns.

Calling for speedy movement in making the required changes in the criminal justice system, he said it should facilitate the creation of a social climate conducive to equitable and effective development and social justice.

Referring to recommendations on the issue, the Prime Minister said he was hopeful that there will be forward movement on a large number of issues, including multiple criminal codes, standard of proof, trial procedures, courts ordering further investigation, admissible confessions, protection of victims and witnesses. He said the National Police Mission should help create a new vision for police forces and bring about a paradigm shift in their functioning and in their working.

“We must make police functioning more accountable, enhance their skills and competency particularly at the grassroots, where people come in contact with our police forces. A culture of excellence must be developed in our police force. We must also make better use of modern science and technology,” he said.

Pointing out that the Police Mission needs to also study modern policing issues like community policing, he said it should come forward with practical solutions to problems like non-registration of First Information Reports. The Prime Minister also gave away President’s Police Medal to the police personnel for their distinguished services.

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