Social context of Community Policing in Kerala

Kerala is the most literate State of India. It is the least corrupt State (Transparency International-2005). The area is maximum media penetrated with 78 Lakhs copies of print media and 16 TV channels. Hence any new idea will be under media scrutiny.

10% of Kerala population live outside the Country. At least 20% of the population has visited a foreign country. Thus the people view things in a global perspective.

Kerala is a highly politicised State. Almost everybody has his/her political belief. But at the same time they are highly tolerant. For example, in the same family you may find people working for different political parties.

The population is multi religious with 50% population belonging to minority groups. There is no untouchability. There are no nuclear villages. People live intermixed. In Kerala, PQLI is very high but there are no major industries. Service sector is the most developed.

Police constabulary of Kerala are highly qualified. Highest paid and highest qualified policemen of India are from Kerala. This has a historical background. The Travancore State Manual by T.K.Velu Pillai (1882-1950) (first published in 1940) mentioned that only literate persons were recruited in Police Force. Men of high education are frequently chosen to fill places in the subordinate ranks. The document further states that “Prominent persons like Mahatma Gandhi have been so much impressed with the discipline and courtesy exhibited by the generality of the Force that they have thought it fit to give them high compliment by comparing them with London Police.”

Public appreciate political neutrality. Public sensitivity is high on open and brazen partiality. Civil society appreciates impartial policing. However they are highly critical of any police action.

Against the back drop of such a social milieu, many individual officers of Kerala had attempted and succeeded in implementing Community Policing Programmes.