Listing law and order along with safety of life and liberty of every citizen as his topmost priority, Punjab director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora on Friday underlined the urgency of changing the police mindset to restore public faith in the khaki uniform.
Having got the reins of the police force at a juncture when cops’ image has hit rock bottom and troublemakers, including Sikh radicals, are seizing every opportunity to grab the centre stage, the task before Arora is full of challenges.
“The police-public connect has to be re-established fast. The belief that we are in public service has to be reinforced, apart from changing the mindset of the force as I am going to accord top priority to law and order, safety of life and liberty of common citizens. I cannot work in isolation. And I have my imperfections, such as I am obsessed with the idea of ensuring and doing justice with all,” Arora, the 1982-batch Punjab-cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, said in an exclusive, freewheeling interaction with Hindustan Times.
Unfazed by the current upheaval and determined to ensure accountability in police functioning, the DGP on Thursday evening held a meeting with police top brass and frontline police officers posted in the field and unveiled his brief “back to basics” 10-point agenda with terse instructions to “ensure respect for citizens, transparency and fair conduct.”
Another area of focus, Arora said, would be to strengthen and streamline police stations and police control rooms across the state. “First, the major share of the cake (police budget) will go to the police stations to fulfil their requirements. Necessary steps will be taken on this front on priority,” said Arora, who was appointed as state police chief on October 25.
With public fury on the rise due to shocking incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and the ongoing protests testing patience of cops to the hilt, the DGP has ordered to set up quick reaction teams in each police district. These teams will have 60 trained police personnel who will be used as emergency response at a short notice.
The time-tested mob dealing drill of the Jammu and Kashmir police will be incorporated, while the quick reaction teams will be trained in using only non-lethal weapons while dealing with agitating crowds.
The DGP said: “We are studying what all we can do to deal with protesters in a non-lethal manner. We may customise best practices of the J&K police in dealing with mobs.” Already, he said, necessary work on this front has been started. “We are focusing on what all is required to deal with mobs without using lethal force. The force will be prepared on priority on this front,” the DGP said.
TASK CUT OUT FOR ADGPs
While the new DGP has decided to hold meetings every Monday at 11am with all his Chandigarh-posted police officers in the rank of additional director general of police (ADGP), each ADGP-rank cop has been tasked to prepare a long-term as well as short-term plan or projects concerning their respective departments.
“There is a need for having and using new tools for investigation. On this front, some steps are being taken as capacity building for investigating crime, and monitoring activities across social media platforms has become imperative,” Arora said.
BRAKES ON FAVOURITISM
Stressing that “welfare of the force is very close to my heart” the state police chief said he, however, would not give any “out-of-turn promotion” as has been the case in the past. “I have made this clear to all officers,” he said.
“There will be merit-driven promotions only. Cops doing good work will be rewarded and promoted,” he said, pointing out that zero tolerance would be adopted against those deviating from the basics and rules.