Policemen from 40 countries to attend Kochi meet

Monday, November 1, 2010

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM - Top police officials from 40 countries, among them the US, Britain, South Africa, Australia and Sweden, will attend a two-day meeting on community policing in Kochi beginning Wednesday.

State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan Monday said that such a meeting was being held for the first time in the country.

“Kerala has led the way in this new initiative of community policing since 2007 and by the year-end this would be in place in at least one police station in each of the state’s 140 assembly constituencies. It is already being followed in 43 police stations,” Balakrishnan told reporters here.

The conference, which will be inaugurated by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, is aimed at different countries sharing their experiences in community policing.

Community policing is a strategy based on the idea that community interaction and support can help control crimes, with citizens helping the police identify suspects and bringing problems to the attention of the authorities.

And the police say the initiative has seen positive results, specially in checking alcohol and drug abuse.

“The response to our efforts in community policing has been hugely positive and the number of crimes recorded has come down. The success of this initiative is dependent on the beat official who interacts with the community members,” Balakrishnan said.

“One huge gain in our state is that the ill-effects of alcoholism and the use of drugs has come down drastically, and we have now started a drug de-addiction centre in Kochi as part of this,” the state home minister said.

Director General of Police Jacob Punnoose said 33 countries have confirmed their participation in the two-day conference and more positive replies were expected.

“Those attending include a few ministers from some countries as they head the police in their country…The end result would be on how we can have a good people-police relationship,” Punnoose said.

Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan will be present for the closing function on the second day of the conference.

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