Mr. Mubassir Latifi is known to be police mana with probably the biggest humane side in the department here in Jammu and Kashmir and which is why we would like to present a more personal side of this top cop in this exclusive interview. Reading about the personal side of a cop who is known among all circles as the cop with a big heart. It is that he is nice that he has a massive following on Facbook from Jammu and Kashmir.
Do you have a personal hero, who inspires this human side in you or does it come innately?
During young days one always desires to achieve something and that is the basic reality of everybody’s life. After joining Police, if I find myself to be able to do justice with this job and fulfil the expectations of the people who look up to us, I think that is a bigger gift that this job gives people like us. That joy in particular if more satisfying and inspiring rather than just following somebody as a hero and falling into his footsteps.
From among the youth in Jammu and Kashmir, there are very few people who want to join Police forces as such, how did you first decide to opt for police services?
I appeared for exams and after the results I had numerous options ahead of me but I chose this department. I think this is one department where you get a hundred opportunities to give justice to people, instant justice for that matter. Everyday scores of people come to us with one or the other problem. An urge to serve the society, to do better for the mankind- is something that this job provides.
Also, the society looks up to us as the first responders, the crisis managers- any disaster or trouble and we are the one they approach. It is always the Police who comes to rescue. Some people argue that it is just the glamour of the uniform, but in my understanding it has never been the cause behind my joining. I have always wanted to serve people in a better way, to serve mankind has been my only motto. That is what inspired my decision to join here.
There are many personal achievements in your kitty. Is there an achievement that is personally close to your heart, something that you remind yourself about time and again?
There are many, in fact whenever you investigate a case and solve it – the satisfaction of that and the satisfaction you see on the face of the victim who has been wronged – that is the biggest achievement for any of the officers. I have been a part of a number of special investigation teams and I have realised that when you are able to put the culprits behind the bars, when you can make people believe you and your whole department, when you can make them put their faith in your service and when you can make them trust you – that is the biggest achievement. That appreciation among the people, when you hear from a third person for your organisation is what matters the most.
The more common sight is the cops climbing and riding the common public whereas you yourself carried an injured colleague at the time of Raghunath temple siege. Where does that helper’s instinct come in you from?
It is great when you are actually able to rescue somebody from trouble or save somebody’s life. My colleague had faced a bullet shot and retrieving him from the encounter site where bullets were flying everywhere and in the end being able to save his life- there can’t be a better feeling than this.
What is your personal style of policing? Do you like to be authoritative, do you like to lead, do you believe in teamwork?
I believe in team work and taking everybody in the team along. See, we deal with issues where law has to be strictly enforced, come what may. There is no room for soft pedaling and there are times when you have to be harsh. Criminals don’t have a sense of remorse, they have no regrets. You can’t be soft with them. We, as a team, have to perform our duties within the strict parameters of law and all that requires team work. I cannot declare my words as the final words. It has to be about everybody’s involvement and contribution.
A demanding job such as yours definitely must have a taxing effect on your family life. What all do you have to sacrifice?
I believe everybody has to strike a balance between one’s professional and personal life. My family has always been supportive so I haven’t faced any problem on that count and I too, know how to balance the two and not one affect the other.
There are so many cases of corruption that must come your way? How do you handle those who think greasing the palm can get anything done?
There are a number of cases like these, even in the Crime branch. Corruption can be seen everywhere. People look up to us as protectors of law so I ensure transparency wherever I work. I can’t confirm every situation as an ideal one but I think there should be zero tolerance for corruption. Total transparency is what forms the integrity of our department, our work. This is something that I least expect from my partners. If anything comes to my notice, I make sure to take an action.
What are the more common crimes in Jammu? What is the status of organized crime in Jammu? How do you go about handling these cases? What is the most challenging part of handling these crimes?
Normal crimes are investigated only by the district police. The Crime branch deals with specified offences like narcotics, frauds, forgeries, land- cases of public importance are dealt by the Crime branch. As far as Jammu city is concerned, most of the cases we deal with, are related to land, banking loans, finance companies looting people, unregistered organisations fooling the public.
Another crime that is on rise these days is the looting of money from ATM accounts. People receive anonymous calls asking for their PIN and then the money is taken away. We have been telling people not to share such confidential information but cases like these are on rise. We have also asked bank authorities to provide more security measures.
Another big challenge is cyber crime. Cyber bullying, cyber stalking- these cases are being reported lately. However, the crime rate of these cases is not so massive in Jammu but even if 10 cases are reported in a month, it is there. Of late, many cyber crime cases have surfaced. If even one person is being harassed on networking sites like Facebook, it is happening out there and we need to eradicate it.
How wide spread is gateway drug menace in Jammu?
Not narcotics but drugs are more influential in our city and that is not a good sign. Youth has fallen prey to drug menace and the district police across the state is doing a lot in controlling but seizing certain contrabands, drugs and narcotics alone is not going to solve the problem. It is a bigger challenge as one has to come up with joint strategies. It requires intervention at various levels.
Police is definitely doing its bit but this also has to involve parents, teachers. The role of police comes much later. I would request parents to keep an eye on their kids. Police, at the maximum, can control the sale or take action against the illegal sale but their role comes after parents’ and teachers’. Students, these days, look for these routes as escapes and many gullible students get trapped. To solve this, involvement of parents and teachers is necessary.
The society in general is scared of the police whereas a symbiotic relationship ideally is the preferable scenario. How do you personally think, policing can change so that over a period of time the police-public relationship can be more harmonic in nature?
That is sad but it is true- public is scared of the Police. Police doesn’t bully, it is just a wrong perception. With the passage of time, a lot has improved. Police performance and Public expectations – that gap needs to be bridged. I think nobody should feel scared of the Police. There has to be a mechanism where people can approach the Police with ease, they should not feel scared coming to the station.
Services should be instant. If one is ignored, it should be easy for the people to reach out to the higher authorities. I think a lot is yet to be improved. From little things like the attitude of a Police constable at Naka to the Police official tackling with the case- much needs attention. A lot has improved with time but a lot more needs to be done.