In a step towards strengthening the community-police interface, the Punjab police department is in the process of resolving social disputes with the help of mediation. Come this Monday, all district police heads have to set up panels of 15 members picked from the community, who would be involved in settling disputes by mediating in the good old traditional panchayat mode, with assistance from the police. The venue: Saanjh Kendras.
The Saanjh Kendras have been set up by the police as a first step towards improving interaction with the citizens. "There are certain disputes in the community which are not taken to court. But even these non-cognizable disputes cannot be ignored. To tackle such complaints, we would be seeking help of people from within the society," said SK Sharma, additional director general of police (ADGP), law and order, here on Tuesday.
Speaking with HT after a crime review meeting, ADGP Sharma added, "As part of the community policing project, we set up the Saanjh Kendras in the first phase. Each such kendra is now processing 90-95 complaints everyday. Now, as part of the second phase, we would be shifting non-cognizable community complaints to Saanjh Kendras."
Legally speaking, such disputes are usually non-cognizable, which means the police cannot proceed with an FIR or probe unless there are directions from the court.
"A panel of 15 community representatives would be enrolled as volunteers. Time slots on weekly basis would be fixed and the disputing parties would be called for finding a solution to their problem. The SSP or the police commissioner concerned would handle the selection of the panel," the ADGP added.
"On the panels, we intend to have people from different walks of life, like retired officers, advocates, academicians, who can devote about three hours a week."