More often than not, the perception of the police amidst the citizens has not been very good. In fact, even many of our movies have portrayed them in poor light. Due to this, we forget that they too are ordinary human beings like all of us. Friends of Police aims to bridge the gap between the public and the police personnel. Conceived by Pratheep V. Philip, Inspector-General of Police, Social Justice and Human Rights, this group has been attempting to change the perceptions of the police since 1993.
This article in The Week states that “the members of FOP are volunteer citizens who keep their eyes and ears open, and pass on potentially vital information to help the police.”
And what was the inspiration for Pratheep to start FOP:
“I know that our department has a negative image, and ever since I joined the service in 1987, I have had this urge to do something about it,” said Philip. He was wounded in the blast that killed Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumbudur in 1991. “I was lying in a pool of blood thirsting for water. The policemen were either hurt or not around. It was a young boy from the crowd that gave me some water. The incident made stronger my idea of involving the public,” he said.
The help to the police, besides improving their image in the minds of the public, has been significant, says the article:
The volunteers have helped ease tensions, and have provided security at festivals and social gatherings in sensitive areas. Having an FOP volunteer around helps the policemen deal with the public better. “They act as an intermediary. And because they are in plainclothes, it is easier for them to collect information besides convincing the public,” said Philip. From unravelling a murder mystery to preventing a terrorist strike, just about anything is possible with FOP volunteers. “They are a viable option in combating terrorism.”
Read the complete article on Friends of Police here.