The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bridge between police-public

Suchi Arya,
Hungerford Street.

The crime scenario in the city is not at all pleasant. The newspapers are filled with reports of murders, injuries and accidents. The government sits back after promulgating a law and it is upto the police officers to enforce it. But of late, the officers themselves have become lawless. Whom does one trust' If the situation improves by letting the locals enforce laws, then so be it. In fact, it is the duty of the citizens to abide by the law. If they keep a check on each other it would only prove to be beneficial to the city. Therefore, the police should empower local citizen groups with law-enforcing powers.

Abhishek Arya,
Minto Park.

Yes, I do feel that the police should empower local citizens with law-enforcing powers. Since the force itself suffers from mismanagement, it would help cops if citizens can sort out petty matters by themselves.

Prasanta Kumar Ghosh,

The citizen groups will function as another centre of power. Some people, puffed up by such authority, will wreak vengeance on others. Moreover, individuals in the group cannot take action against goons who are protected by political leaders. What the police can do, common citizens cannot. The police hold transferable jobs, but residents who have to live on in the same area will be placing their lives in jeopardy.

Ujjal Bhattacharyya,

This practice, if carried out successfully, will definitely reap benefits. Given the rise in crime rate in and around the city, the police may empower local citizen groups with law-enforcing powers. This will strengthen the public security network as well as create a sense of responsibility in people. Proper training ought to be provided to such groups and their line of operation should be checked so that things do not go out of hand. Precautions must be taken so that under no circumstances can such groups take the law in their own hands.

Had all the law-keepers been like the courageous Bapi Sen, such moves would have been unnecessary.

Madhusree Gupta,
Anil Roy Road.

I shudder at the very idea. Thirst for power leads human beings to commit the most unscrupulous acts. Investing law-enforcing powers with local groups will produce unfair judgments, clouded with personal interests and motives. Social and monetary status and other socio-religious differences will spark off an unhealthy competition in the name of maintaining law and order. Local bodies should have the power to monitor and inform the police about lawlessness in their locality, but the ultimate law-enforcing ability must rest with government.

Ronak Pal,

It’s an innovative idea no doubt. If implemented properly, it will help the police cope with the spurt in criminal activities like abduction, extortion and theft. It will also bring peace and security in the para by keeping rogues at bay. But in order to achieve all that, it is essential that the groups do not resort to factionalism or side with any political party. The power should not be misused.

Govinda Bakshi,
Budge Budge.

The proposition implies that the police department has broken our trust in the force. Wouldn’t such a move invite conflict between the police and citizen groups' Moreover, who will be entrusted with forming and leading the groups' A new law will have to be enacted to implement this undesirable proposal.

B.N. Bose,
Dum Dum Park.

Good idea. With the crime graph always on the rise, it will be appropriate for the police to empower local groups with law-enforcing powers. Retired judges, advocates, defence personnel, educationists and social workers of the localities may be entrusted with the leadership. A four-member group might be the ideal unit.

Fakhre Alam,
Tiljala Lane.

Of course not. If local citizen groups are empowered with law-enforcing powers then what will the police do' The suggestion reveals the inability of the police to control a law-and-order situation. If there is a dearth of personnel, the authorities can recruit a few more. Needless to say, the government holds examinations for inducting cops. Citizen groups, when empowered with law-enforcing powers, are likely to take undue advantage of their position. Common people will feel more insecure and will be scared to speak up.

Sarfaraz Ahmed,
Chamru Khansama Lane.

Citizens today are totally unaware of their duty towards the law. This new system will not only arouse a feeling of duty but will also help the police. Second, whether we accept it or not, doubts have cropped up of late in the minds of people about the police. This system will act as a bridge between the citizen and the police. If this makes for better police-public relations, that in itself will be a great achievement.

Arunava Bose Chowdhury,

The idea, if implemented, will lead to gross misuse of power. It may even lead to unnecessary interference from different political quarters. However, it can never be expected that citizen groups which have no experience of how to tackle goons, will be able to carry out the entrusted duties effectively. In the name of enforcing the law, the innocent will be ill-treated while the real culprits will walk away scotfree. So, the idea is absolutely baseless.

Virendra Shah,
Amratalla Lane.

It is absolutely undesirable for the police to empower local groups as this will lead to a serious law-and-order problem. Before embarking on such a scheme, the police must learn to be disciplined and earn people’s confidence. Most people prefer to maintain a distance with the police, which is not a very healthy sign.

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