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Sensitive police? Makes sense

The Karnataka police are undergoing an image change, from a rough and tough department to a sensitive and soft-spoken team.

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Sensitive police? Makes sense
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Workshops are under way to teach Karnataka police how to deal with domestic violence and child abuse

BANGALORE: B Basavaraj, a 50-year-old head constable in a Bangalore police station, is learning how to talk to women and children in distress. He underwent training in a three-day workshop on handling cases related to domestic violence and child abuse.

The Karnataka police are undergoing an image change, from a rough and tough department to a sensitive and soft-spoken team. In the gender sensitisation and people friendly project (GSPP), over 73,000 police force of Karnataka will be learning to counsel, register and investigate cases related to domestic violence and child abuse with greater sensitivity.

Boasting to be the first state in the country to train the state police force on the importance of gender rights and equalities, the Karnataka police in collaboration with UNICEF kicked-off a pilot project on gender sensitisation and people-friendly policing (GSPP) in 2001, which has trained 4,175 personnel so far.

People today are aware of their rights and talk on human rights. The rough and tough image of a cop has to change to keep up with the sensibilities of the present generation. And the project is to make the transition easy for a policeman,” says the additional director general of police D V Guruprasad.

As a result, the numbers of cases registered under the domestic violence act have shot up by two times over the past seven years. “According to a survey done in 10 police stations before the beginning of the project in the state, the police considered domestic violence cases as the personal matter of a family,” he said.

Now, the constables will be studying two papers—— handling of cases of domestic violence and offence against children and human rights.

The objective is to increase the sensitivity levels of the police to deal with such issues. Officers need to be more people-friendly and responsive to women and children in particular,” Guruprasad said.

A monthly three-day workshop will have to be undertaken by policemen across the state over the next three years, where they will learn issued related to gender and power relations, the institutional analysis of violence, violence against women and children, among other subjects.

One trained police officer has been deputed to all 800 police stations in Karnataka to handle such cases.

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