Just after assumption of power, new DGP of Manipur Shahid Ahmed has swayed the interest of the public by promising to prioritize the establishment of trust between the police and the citizens. Although, it is too early to pass any judgement on the veracity of the statement of the new police chief or the firmness of his plans, nobody can fault the people who had reacted with conviction to his pledge as they can relate with whatever the DGP meant to mend. Not just the public, but the administration and the law enforcement are equally fatigued with the estranged relationship between the common man and the men in Khakis spanning many years. Public perception of the state police and the security forces in general has undergone drastic changes over the last two decades and sadly in a negative way. The process of change has been marked by a steady yet continuous decline of mutual trust between the men in uniform and the citizens. On one hand, the public have developed an awkward feeling of discomfort at the sight of the ‘ferocious looking’ security personnel and forbid themselves from getting to close to exclude the possibilities of being the next collateral damages of a militant attack. On the other hand, security force is wary whether the law breakers or militants are in the midst of the unassuming civilians around them or indeed one of them and thus scales each and every one of them with the same yardstick. The irony is that despite the rift both sides are desperate for restoration of normalcy in their ties and eager to try out any remedy thrown at them. Because, at the end of the day both realized that in this modern society the existence of one is dependent on the other.
Here, we need the police department to develop new concepts (turning back on the basic practices of policing should qualify as one), to depart from the unmovable mindset of strengthening its arsenal and size, and spare some resources on improving communication with the citizens for the purpose of solving the common problems besetting them. In this undertaking, the first task ahead of the DGP is to present the police personnel as public servants. Portraying the security force as humans and its acceptance is vital in rebuilding the fragile bond and establishment of good faith. Such a condition will open the door for interaction between the police and the public on a regular basis. Further, the higher tiers of the police department should hold sensitization programmes to endorse the importance of the involvement of civilians in police works. In this way, they can understand that their power and effectiveness are linked directly to the support they receive from the citizens. When and if the public-police-partnership model started to bear fruit, it will usher in the best form of democracy.