Constables follow orders of their seniors. But, besides doing what they are told to do, constables in the Assam Police have begun giving ideas to top officers for better policing.They have, in the process, drawn the attention of the officers to niggles in the department and what needs to be done to boost the morale of men and women at the bottom of the ranks.An “ideas exchange” interaction between the officers and the constabulary was organised on Friday at the 4th Assam Police Battalion in Guwahati. It was a first-of-its-kind initiative where the officers listened to the constables, speaking only to tell them what could be done with their ideas. “This interaction, followed by a community feast, was for letting the constables share their experience since they know the ground realities better and deal with people more than the officers. The idea was to try to incorporate new ideas towards better, people-friendly policing,” Kuladhar Saikia, Assam’s Director-General of Police told The Hindu on Saturday.The officers of the Inspector-General of Police rank and above, noted suggestions such as turning up at social or religious functions to congratulate or wish the people, and attending the funeral of a villager. The constables also suggested putting the “right man in the right place”. Khargeswar Deka, a constable from western Assam’s Dhubri said the force had post-graduates working as drivers and reporting to police station officers who were academically inferior. “We can make better use of qualifications and certain skills of our colleagues with a bit of honing,” he said. Badrul Haque Laskar from southern Assam’s Hailakandi said the constables get deflated by the lack of promotions. “The department has not conducted exams for constables to become assistant sub-inspectors since 2004,” he said. “We are working on skill development. Eight of our 29 Battalions have been chosen for developing classrooms with computers where all police personnel will be given a refresher course including on public relations every three years,” said A.K. Sinha Casshyap, Special DGP (Training and Armed Police). But some constables underlined the deficiencies of the battalions. Hemanta Narzary from north-eastern Assam’s Likabali said the battalions should have a school for children of the department’s staff. “Each battalion has more than a thousand families and a school would keep us off certain worries while on duty,” he said.“We hope to interact more with the backbone of our 80,000-strong force. Their points have been well taken,” Mr. Saikia said.