Did u know about IndiaTopCops?
By Maxwell Pereira
maxwelpereir@gmail.com

Not many know about the exclusive discussion forum on the web for senior police officers – IndiaTopCops@YahooGroups.com. Not even most cops! In fact, even though I could be excused as an ex-cop, I myself had no clue to its existence before I was invited recently by its moderator Nandkumar Saravade to join this forum. Saravade who is running this exclusive group with over 350 members now, is an active police officer with nearly 20 years in the IPS - currently on deputation to NASSCOM.

The IndiaTopCops forum is a free and easy-to-use service to send and receive group messages, coordinate events, share photos and files, and more. It provides a platform to the young and the old still serving – the raw and the seasoned; and others retired who are never tired but just re-tyred yet again ready for more miles to roll on with their instructional pearls and repertoire of educational yarns and experience. It is an electronic meeting place to participate and share, and provide insights to group members on this forum; meant to enable police officers to keep in touch, learn from each other, discuss matters of professional interest, post articles on new trends in policing with focus on technology, and examine governance issues facing the police service. All with the hope that it would evolve sooner than later into a vibrant online community determined to make a change for the better.

Much as IndiaTopCops is a dynamic and vibrant interactive arena for the still serving, it is no less a learning field for forgotten seniors to keep abreast of latest trends and developments in contemporary thought and events. And especially for the ignoramus often stricken by the pox of the ‘blissfully ignorant’ and yet with a tendency to think we are the ultimate – the know-alls on everything – unlike the diligent learner for whom it is never too late to learn more. It is only the latter who realises with each new day, how little we know and how much more there is to know! So IndiaTopCops is pleasantly for has-beens like me too, irrespective of the miles already trudged and traversed, affording a new learning ground with life’s each new step.

In the short span of my own exposure to IndiaTopCops forum and its archives of messages, files and folders, I am fascinated by the variety of topics covered, the level of intellectual debate generated, the quality of discussion and learning, the opportunity to read from those more knowledgeable, to offer, participate and debate one’s own point of view.

Topics ranging from (…to name just a few) Police Vision 2010-2020, developments and status of ongoing efforts at Police Reforms, reforms in the Criminal Justice Administration and Delivery System, the recent Plea Bargaining debut in India, and Trial by Media; on Police Systems and prevailing varied practices despite the unifying Police Act of 1861, guidelines for Public Private Partnership, the phenomenon of Burking, and Corruption; narco-analysis in investigation, ‘forensic nursing’ for ‘victim support’; on Information Forensics – the flip sides and requirements of law for Police Blogs – their merits, demerits, advantages and limitations; aspects of cyber crime, the mobile revolution in India, tracking criminals through cellphones; vehicle tracking devices; on ‘bandhs’ and ‘hartals’, money laundering, the naxal menace, even illegal sex selection for female foeticide; and importantly, the topic of the day – terrorism, the Mumbai blasts discussed and analysed threadbare, the defence of the ‘Intelligence’ community, especially the role of the National Security Advisor unjustly and irrationally attacked in the media.

Fascinating also, to experience the breaking of boundaries and hierarchical barriers between seniors and juniors, the superior and the subordinate – to enable free and frank flow of thought in a conducive non-intimidating environment. Reflects Prof Arvind Verma, “This is in sharp contrast to the earlier period when we had difficulty in even communicating with senior police officers. Now that this wall has come down in the virtual sphere, hope it will bring down the walls existing in the real world of Indian police and bureaucracy”.

Elaborates Nandkumar the initiator of the forum, “The dynamics of virtual groups are fascinating; a feature that catches one's attention, is the level playing field available to all. Nothing else matters than the ability to articulate one's opinions in a clear, logical and concise manner. An ideal way to overcome constraints of hierarchy, especially in a country like ours which has seen stifling social stratification for hundreds of years”

Veteran Dr. S.Subramanian finds the Topcop forum highly educative, the views expressed by young officers refreshing. He feels it is necessary for the police fraternity to set “our own house in order”, which we can do ourselves without outside support. In this context, he welcomes the discussions on internal organisational infirmities. He too bemoans the fact that very few young officers are aware of Topcop.

Already dubbed one of the most promising developments in Indian policing scenario, IndiaTopCops reflects the positive transformation in the police services with many inductees coming in as technocrats with professional qualifications impacting with their fresh perspectives. They lend a new dimension to police work, initiating well conceived and impressive projects with lofty objectives suggestive of venturing out of the beaten path. An opinion also expressed, that “some of the distilled wisdom of seniors and super seniors is flowing into and influencing younger copminds”. “All this augurs well for the Indian police where bold innovative thinking is required”.

IndiaTopCops completed one year of its existence last weekend – cause to celebrate and raise a toast. One can see it is well on its way to become the voice of police leadership in the country – mandarins in the ministries that shape destinies would do well to note.

July 25, 2006: 950 words: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http:// www.maxwellperira.com and maxpk@vsnl.com

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