Daringly Different

J.K. Tripathy, I.P.S. took proactive policing to a new level by listening to peoples’ needs and expectations. An IPS officer from the 1985 batch, he received the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration in 2008. He is also the recipient of the International Community Policing Award conferred by the International Association of Chiefs of Police at Toronto, Canada, in 2001 and also a gold medal for ‘Innovations in Governance’ at Glasgow, U.K. in 2002, by the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management.

He received this award for introducing an innovative ‘Community Policing Module’ in Trichy, where he served as the Police Commissioner. He had also launched a ‘Slum Adoption Programme’ in which orphans, drop-outs and children mostly from broken families, Ex-convicts etc., were provided an opportunity to go back to school or take up vocational courses, in order to improve their employability, deterring them from being driven to delinquency.

J.K.Tripathy, I.P.S., Commissioner of Police, Chennai, shares with Marie Banu his views on how NGOs and Police could work together to bring about change in the society

You have received an International award for introducing community policing at Trichy. How can this model be replicated in Chennai?

I did not win this award. It was our team ! This system gave good results in terms of controlling crimes and enhancing police performance in all parameters, by empowering the citizens and constabulary, to fight crimes of all types; thus, improving police image. Definitely, this has to be scaled up.

Your first case as Chennai Police Commissioner was solving the case about the kidnap of a three-year-old girl from the Marina. How can parents and the community be precautious of such instances in the future?

Parents are cautious. What we need to do is to educate the child, both in schools and at home. They should be told what to do and what they should not do. It is not only about their safety, but also against any abuse.

Parents play a very important role. When they go out or when they keep the child in somebody else’s care, they should be doubly sure about it. We offer to conduct antecedent verification of the domestic helps they employ, but they should be absolutely careful, while giving custody of their child to somebody or while taking them out.

On our part, we are taking strong action against those, who indulge in kidnapping children for the purpose of illegal adoption or subject them to any kind of abuse.

There are many crimes happening in the city. Which of them do you think is the most challenging to curb?

First of all, I do not know how to qualify ‘many’, while comparing the present crime rate with the previous and the corresponding period, as well as with the crime scenario in other metros.
I meet around 100 people every day. I very rarely come across someone who says, ‘I am a victim of an offence, and the police did not register my case’. This implies that police are registering complaints and statistics can be trusted. Chennai is the safest among all metros and we are striving to make it ‘still safer’, by effectively handling snatchings.
I see crimes as a socio-psychic problem. As long as poverty, unemployment, greed and other diversions exist, the society will be burdened with this menace. However, we are equal to the task, with the active cooperation of the NGOs and the community.

Which are the areas you think NGOs and police could work together to bring about change in our society?

For us, in every scheme of things, we can enlist NGO participation. NGOs can play a vital role in empowerment of the community in our fight against crimes. They can support in our slum adoption programmes, Boys Clubs, rehabilitation of criminals etc. We have a women help line, through which we try and rehabilitate the women victims through NGOs. Overall, they can create awareness on various issues concerning the people, while acting as a bridge between us and the community. Depending on their level of commitment and capabilities, it is for the police to network with NGOs and enlist their support.

As a police officer, one is expected to be available 24×7. How do you overcome stress?

I do not get stressed at all. I just keep working through.

I am missing my games, but this is an initial job demand. There might be some element of de-stressing while playing, but it is not a soul war. I have held several positions, and I have enjoyed each of them thoroughly.

Your advice for youth, who aspire to join the police?

I really have a dream for the youth, growing up as good and responsible citizens, upholding ethical and democratic values. If some of them wish to join the Police, they are welcome. But, whichever field they are, let them not be self centric, always asking themselves- “What are we giving back to the society ?”