From the vault: Chennai Police Commissioner S. George Exclusive Interview
January 24, 2017, Chennai
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Shri. S. George, IPS is presently the Commissioner of Police, Chennai.
A native of Thiruvananthapuram, he is a post graduate in Engineering. He did his M.Tech from IIT, Delhi, and his MBA and M.Phil. in Management from University of New York, USA.
He has served in various positions, including ADGP, Law & Order; Inspector General of Police (North Zone) and Inspector General of Police (Central Zone).
He has also worked as Joint Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioner of Police and Assistant Commissioner of Police in Chennai City. He is the recipient of the President’s Police Medal in 2010 and Chief Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Public Service for his work in the conduct of Mahamaham festival in Kumbakonam in 2004.
In an exclusive interview Shri. S. George, IPS, shares with Marie Banu his views on conflict situations.
You have played a crucial role during conflict situations like the anti-nuclear plant stir at Koodankulam and Mullaiperiyar dam protest. What have been your learnings from these situations?
These have been unusual situations. The issue at Mullaiperiyar evoked spontaneous support from the public, and the local police had to deal with crowds ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 people. These people were not against any establishment, but were passionate about the issue. We addressed the situation keeping in mind the sentiments of the crowd and the cause for which they were fighting. At the same time, we did not allow them to go out of control. Police acted with great restraint. Since we understood their emotional state and the issues involved, we handled the crowd differently when they marched towards the Kerala border.
As regards Koodankulam, the issue was about the sentiments of residents of one village, whose views were entirely different from that of the Government. We depended on collection of information from the local community and the co-operation of the religious groups. Here again, we acted with great restraint. We did not want to convert the situation into a communal or religious issue and therefore did not do anything that would be of advantage to the protestors.
In 2011, we saw a rapid increase in vehicle population with 2.22 lakh new two-wheelers and over 52,000 new cars hitting Chennai roads. What measures can be brought to restrict the vehicle population in our city? Can you share your thoughts about the traffic discipline in India and abroad?
It is a policy decision to bring about measures to curb vehicle population.
I have lived in the United States for five years where it is rare to find any traffic violation. There are a limited number of police officers on the road to supervise the traffic. Generally, people do not deviate from the traffic signals and traffic signs. They wait for the signal even if there is no traffic ahead of them.
Community Policing – Can this be introduced as part of the school curriculum? Can you please share your views on this?
In some States, they have Students Police Cadets (SPC). It is always good to train school students to be responsible and socially committed individuals who are willing and able to selflessly serve their community. Such ideas have a positive impact.
We can educate children on hardships faced by the police; and tell them as to how to use information to assist the police during crisis and law and order situations. Role modeling is a good concept that brings about attitudinal change. Role modeling by children with the police will make them aware of the consequences that they have to face, if they do not abide by the laws in our society.
Your advice for IPS aspirants?
The life of a Police Officer is difficult. But, at the same time, it is an excellent opportunity to help people, particularly the weaker sections. It involves a lot of hard work. One will have to work within a system and these systems are not static.