How a Probationary IPS Officer Revamped a Police Station - Leading by Example:
I came, I saw, I conquered – these words define the words and deeds of IPS Pragya Jain.
The probationary period of an IPS officer as SHO is a very short period – barely 3 months, and is meant to learn the tools of the trade. But, IPS Pragya Jain learnt her new assignment so well, that she completely revamped the Police Station within 3 months! She not only understood the issues, but also implemented the solutions on the ground effectively. Quite an impossible task to accomplish within such a short span!The tale is all about her initiatives and outcomes it produced.
The write-up highlights the various initiatives undertaken by IPS Pragya Jain during her District Practical Training - while holding independent charge as Station House Officer. The initiatives resulted in a 360 degree makeover of the Police station within the existing resources and manpower.
She brought about a structural reform in the way the Police Station functions by initiating changes at 3 levels - namely Infrastructure management, Human Resource Management & Perception Management.
The entire work was started and completed within 90 days by IPS Pragya Jain, a probationer who was outsider to the area. But before we proceed with the initiatives, let’s first understand the ground reality to better appreciate the initiatives and results.
Importance of Police Station:
- Police Station symbolizes the police organization and is a physical evidence of police availability to the society.
- It’s usually the first point of contact for the citizens required for safety, security, relief, help and assistance.
- Key functional unit from where the police dis-charges its tasks
- Contributes in fostering police public relations.
- Place where FIRs are registered and rolls the criminal justice system in motion.
Need for Revamp:
- During the 49th DGs/ IGs Annual Conference, Honorable Prime Minister introduced the concepts of SMART Police. The first step towards Smart Policing is to have Smart Police Station.
- Police Station is a public building which should be citizen friendly and clean. People should feel comfortable in terms of space, cleanliness, functionality and privacy.
- To meet the operational and welfare needs of the police personnel
- Increasingly more functions are being entrusted to the police stations, besides Police station always remaining a legal entity.
- Police station creates an image of police, hence desirable and expedient that the new police stations should be revamped as per the needs of time.
Situation at the Time of Joining:
Dugri was an upcoming up-market locality in Ludhiana city outskirts, however, interspersed among these planned colonies are vast, empty plots of land which served as perfect breeding grounds for crime. High drug use led to drug addicts indulging in crime such as theft and snatching so as to finance their drug need. Moreover, these empty plots were hubs for drug intake, thereby reinforcing the “Broken Windows theory”.
The Dugri Police station was severely short staffed with only 37 personnel assigned to it against a total sanctioned strength of 94. The previous 2 years had seen 7 SHOs due to various reasons thereby leading to huge pendency of caseload, poor/ inefficient work culture and low morale of work force due to constant extraneous pressures. The infrastructure was also in bad shape and last repairs were done only at the time of its inception.
Key Issues Identified:
- No washroom for female staff
- No place for petitioners to sit till they were attended to
- Extremely poor hygiene and sanitation conditions
- Overworked and under acknowledged force
- Constant conflict among themselves
- Low empathy towards citizen problems
- No skill enhancement/ capacity building/ talent identification
Police Station Work:
- Huge pendency of case load
- Maalkhana in extremely poor and disorganized state
- Armoury lacked weapon cleanup/ readiness since several years
- PS records not up to date/ disorganized
- Adverse, mainly complaints of inaction
Regular meetings were conducted where entire station staff was invited for deliberations. For the first few days, problems were assessed and solutions envisaged. Everyone irrespective of rank and station was encouraged to speak up. E.g., thana sentry pointed out difficulty in arranging meals from outside thana during duty hours and an ASI with 26 years of service, pointed out difficulty in updating case files due to inadequate computer knowledge, thereby perpetuating dependency on other people. Female employees voiced their concerns over non availability of separate female washroom.
After several such meetings and two way communications, answers to such issues were listed down and strategy penned to implement them.
Action taken can be divided under 3 heads:
- Infrastructure Management
- Human Resource Management
- Perception Management
A requisition regarding all the resources needed to improve the thana functioning was forwarded to higher authorities, which were not done by the previous SHOs. Similar requisition letters were sent to utilize SAANJH funds by making use of “for public benefit“ clause.
Corporate Social Responsibility model was studied in detail and companies identified. 5 Key areas were shortlisted to be improved via CSR funding. The proposal was so drafted that these areas fell under the ambit of CSR.
After due permission from the senior officers, a liaison was established with these firms and talks initiated. The Dugri PS team held seminars regarding Crime against Women and simultaneous meetings with the top managements in these firms. This enabled Pragya Jain IPS to create not only awareness about a social issue but also meet the Managing Directors and convince them regarding the proposal personally. Finally funding was approved under the following heads.
- Renovation of female toilets and installation of dustbins (to segregate bio-degradable and non-biodegradable waste) under ambit of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.
- Refurbishment of public waiting room, with a seating capacity of 15, for general public especially senior citizens, divyangs and women.
- Installation of water filter and dispenser for general public.
- Development of green cover to promote safer, cleaner and healthier environment.
Community support and crowd funding was also mobilized after regular meetings with local sarpanchs and responsible, reputable citizens. All the initiatives undertaken were communicated to senior officers via proper channel.
Reception Area With Helpdesk:
- Specialized waiting area for senior citizens, women and divyangs with drinking water facility, comfortable seating and waiting arrangements.
- Helpdesk, so as to assist the visitors
- Corporate type cubicle partition for duty officer to ensure privacy to the complainant.
Co Operative Mess (Saanjhi Rasoi)
- Reverse osmosis system in kitchen for clean drinking water, funded by CSR.
- To be maintained by PS staff on a contributory basis.
- Ensured healthy, hygienic and timely meals to the personnel.
- Went a long way in boosting efficiency as well as self-esteem.
- Initially Rs 1000/ - was contributed by thana staff to make the kitchen functional. After one month of functioning, average cost per meal came out to be Rs 18/- which was highly cost effective and economical.
- Old disused toilet refurbished as ladies washroom for thana female staff.
- Public washrooms were also refurbished.
- Regular cleanliness was ensured in all the washrooms.
- Overhaul of entire maalkhana as per Kaizen’s principles (according to 5S)
- Register number 19 was digitalized.
- All case property were indexed and arranged in rows in the maalkhana with proper markings.
- Excise act case property was disposed off.
- Case property vehicles were sorted and color coded as yellow (MV Act) and Red (unclaimed). Process was initiated for their disposal.
Parking Space (Inside & Outside):
- Sorting of case property led to space clearance inside the Police Station which was converted into parking space for the personnel.
- Area near entry, which was earlier occupied by case property, was cleared and developed as Parking space for visitors.
Help was sought from civil administration in the following areas:
- Executive engineer - Sanction for interlocking tiles for outside parking
- Local councilor - Road rollers for flattening and clearing the earlier debris. He arranged it via municipality.
- Traffic lines - Crane for moving and shifting the vehicles
- Community participation - Local shop owners in the immediate vicinity of the thana too contributed in getting the debris cleared by arranging for tractor trollies and laborers.
Bilingual signboards were put up not only outside the PS but also inside to indicate various rooms and facilities of public convenience. This was funded by public support.
Human Resource Management:
- Team of 3 people (1 NGO+2 EPOs) formed. It enhanced efficiency due to high co-ordination, team spirit and better understanding.
- Use of Whats app for getting parwanas noted regarding petition.
- Handwritten, signed, scanned copy of statements received via Whatsapp from out stationed witnesses/ complainants to reduce petition pendency.
- State level beat wise system developed to ensure servicing of summons/ warrants. 4-5 districts allotted to each NGO including their home district.
- Use of Whats app live location feature to monitor PCRs.
- Peer training regarding use of alchometer, IO kit and live location, enhanced functional capabilities of the PS.
- Behavioral transformation via regular meetings, two way communication and talent identification so as to render police efficient, democratic and humane.
- Ensured good, healthy and safe working conditions.
Public Perception Management:
- Accessibility- Public can call, come and meet SHO anytime.
- Responsiveness- Ensured duty officer/ PCR reaches the location, take action on complaints.
- Partnership Model- Police public partnership via regular meetings, seminars, Whats app groups of separate PCR areas.
- Revamp Thana- Inspire love, esteem and acceptability among the masses.
Impact Impact on Effectiveness:
IPS Pragya Jain, toiled hard to create of a Modern Police Station. The end result was a Modern, SMART, gender sensitive and techno savvy Police Station.
She has now been transferred but she continues excel in her new assignments. Her story has been an inspiration of how hard work and dedication can overhaul an organization.