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News: An IPS officer used soft policing to crack down on illegal hooch distilleries in Solapur.
What is Soft Policing?
• Soft policing, also known as community policing, means to increase the uniformed patrol on the streets and to give the communities a real say in police priorities.
• Soft policing focuses on problem-solving and social work within the community rather than strictly fighting crime. In recent years, soft policing increased in popularity as it has been discovered that most of the work performed by police officers involves social-work-type jobs rather than crime fighting.
What is Operation Parivartan?
• When Tejaswi Satpute, a 2012-batch IPS officer was posted in Solapur (Rural) as Superintendent of Police in October 2020, the region had acquired a reputation as the primary supplier of hooch to at least nine districts in the state.
• Satpute launched ‘Operation Parivartan’, a four-point action plan that combined soft policing methods such as counselling with a concerted crackdown on the hand-operated illicit liquor distilleries in the police district.
• A year later, nearly 80 per cent of the hand-operated illicit liquor distilleries in Solapur (Rural) have shut down and over 650 families involved in the trade have been rehabilitated.
• Satpute was awarded the FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) Smart Policing Special Jury Award for Operation Parivartan. 86 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.dics.co GS-4
Challenges faced by them:
• The families involved in the illegal trade traditionally belonged to the Banjara community which were notified as ‘criminal tribes’ by the British. Stigmatized under the tag, it made it difficult for their men and women and youngsters to get any normal job.
• The families were unskilled and thus reluctant to give up hooch production.
• The police started Parivartan Udyog, under which for close to 45 days, women were trained to operate sewing machines and thereby be eligible for gainful employment.