Virtually addressing the probationers of the Indian Police Service’s 2018 batch passing out of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA), Hyderabad, he said the new image built by the force during the crisis had become its biggest asset and there was a need to preserve it.
Modi said the country saw the humane face of khaki during the pandemic as the police personnel were seen singing songs, providing food and water to those living on footpath and risking their lives to carry patients to hospitals.
“In the eyes of a common man, by and large, the image of police was of a baton, argument and repression. It does not mean that they were not doing any humanitarian work earlier but during coronavirus, the society felt its collective impact for the first time,” he said.
During an hour-long interaction with the IPS probationers from various parts of the country, the Prime Minister shared his thoughts on various issues.
He underlined the need for the police to make use of the power of the society which always comes forward to render humanitarian assistance during crises.
The Prime Minister suggested that the humanitarian works undertaken by police are given a written form at the level of each police station through involvement of local schools. He said this would help the old, young and the coming generation to know about their work.
On the experiences shared by some probationers who worked at the field level during the training amid the pandemic, Modi said the crisis gave them a good opportunity to not only serve migrant workers and others but also to develop leadership qualities.
He said the officers should take pride in uniform just like they take pride in the national tricolour. “You should be proud of khaki instead of flexing its power,” he said, adding that winning the hearts of the people through compassion rather than controlling them through fear will last longer.
Modi called for use of technology for intelligence and effective policing. He said while the system of intelligence gathering at the level of constables remained crucial, the police should also use technology tools.
He said big data, artificial intelligence and social media were the new weapons of the police and stressed the need for their effective deployment.
Stating that this IPS batch has many people with a technology background, he advised them to form teams to use technology.
Pointing out that technology helps in detecting crime through CCTV footage or mobile phone tracking, he also had a word of caution for the police officers.
“Technology is also becoming a reason for suspension of policemen. Sometimes they lose their cool and do something and somebody from a distance records this on camera and it goes viral. Pressure builds on the system to suspend the policemen and it becomes a blot on their career,” he said.
Modi said as the young officers were gearing up to take their assignments in the field, they should be careful about some people who would offer to help them in a new place. “Since you are new to a place, such people offer you transport, food and other help. Don’t fall into their trap,” he said.
The Prime Minister advised the probationers to develop the skill to identify chaff out of grain. He asked them to not cover their ears but to be able to filter the things that they hear. “Do not put locks on your ears but place a filter instead. Only when filtered things go to your brain, it will help you, sift garbage and keep your heart clean.”
He also cautioned them against stereotypes of police officers created by films like “Singham”. He said the thinking of instilling fear among anti-social elements as soon as taking up an assignment diverts attention from the real work. He advised them to do works which bring qualitative change like ensuring cleanliness at the police stations and how the visitors are received.
The Prime Minister also called for efforts to prevent youth from walking on the path of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We need to prevent youth from taking the wrong path at the early age itself. Women police officers can do this by involving women, making them understand the need to stop their children from taking the wrong path,” he said.
He was responding to the observations made by a woman IPS probationer allotted to Jammu and Kashmir cadre, who narrated her experience of an encounter between terrorists and police during the training at Srinagar.
Modi said people of Jammu, Ladakh, the Kashmir Valley and Kargil were all good people. “I am confident that we will succeed in our efforts to bring back their life of happiness,” he said.
Referring to Kashmir’s strength in textiles, he suggested the woman officer to use her holidays to form groups of women and teach them modern designing.
He stressed the need for training and said the mindset that training is a punishment posting should change.
Referring to ‘Mission Karmayogi’ approved by the Union Cabinet two days ago, he said this is a major reform in civil service, both in terms of capacity building and approach towards work. Terming it a shift from rule-based approach to role-based approach, the Prime Minister said this will help in mapping and training the talent and placing the right person in the right role.
Modi also advised the young officers to do yoga and pranayam to deal with the stress.
“Yoga and pranayam is good for all those working under stress. If you do any work from your heart, you will always benefit. You will never feel stressed no matter how much work load you have,” said Modi when the batch’s best all-round probationer D.V. Kiran Shrruti, who earlier commanded Dikshant Parade, mentioned mandatory counselling for policemen in Tamil Nadu to help them deal with stress.
A total of 131 probationers of Indian Police Service of 2018 batch passed out on successful completion of their training at the academy. The batch includes 28 women.