Community Policing brings youths’ lives back on track.

At times, gentle persuasion and some mentoring is all that is needed to bring someone’s life back on track.

That is what happened with young Ravi. 12 year old Ravi was studying at the Patel Public School in Mico Layout in Bengaluru. However, he was absent from school for days on end. His absence was noticed by a few policemen of the area and by members of our Community Policing team. On being questioned, he poured out his story to them.

It turns out that Ravi is an ardent follower of cricket. He idolizes Virat Kohli. When the urge to play cricket became too strong, he started bunking class. Every morning, he would leave home with his schoolbag. But, instead of going to school, he would head to a ground nearby and play cricket the whole day. When the policemen and the Community Policing team spoke to Ravi’s mother, they found that she was sorely worried about her child’s behaviour.

They counselled Ravi and nine of his friends at length and convinced them to return to school. They explained to the children why academics were important, and told them that even if they go to school, they could keep their passion for cricket alive by playing the game every evening. The children realised their folly and mended their ways immediately.

Police officials are happy with such interventions and believe that they are actually doing themselves a service. “These are little investments we are making for tomorrow. Five years down the line, the chances of these 10 children getting into criminal activities is much less. We are saving ourselves some work” says B.K. Shekar, Inspector, Mico Layout Police Station.

India has made good progress over the past decade in increasing access to elementary education. Year after year, several school-age children are being brought into the fold of academics. This however, is just the first step. Keeping the children in school throughout the education-cycle is often a big challenge.

Apathy to studies among some children and the mindset of many parents (particularly in low-income groups) of not treating education as a priority are the two main reasons for school drop-outs.

And when children drop out of schools, they tend to hang out with other children who are also usually dropouts. They develop bad habits and often, end up as petty criminals. From there, it is a free fall to bigger, more serious crimes.

One is thankful this did not happen to Ravi and his friends. Here’s to their future!