She said drug menace and a growing graph of violence against women were the biggest challenges in the Valley after militancy.
"You have to eliminate militancy in Kashmir. But militancy cannot be wiped out by killing militants alone," the PDP leader said while addressing the attestation-cum-passing out parade of 947 recruits at the Police Training School here.
Nearly 200 militants, the highest number in years, were killed by security forces in Kashmir this year. "We need to understand the reason and the real problem behind militancy," Mehbooba said.
Advocating a "soft" approach for dealing with extremism in the state, the chief minister referred to the government's recent decision to revoke cases against first-time stone-pelters in the Valley.
"The police has to engage in parenting and counselling of these children. I had invited pellet victims to my home recently. I was surprised to know that most of them were minors (14, 15 or 16 years of age)," she said.
Mehbooba also lauded the state police force for demonstrating discipline and restraint in the face of serious provocations.
She said the job of the police was very sensitive in Jammu and Kashmir, where the challenges were much more than the usual policing in other parts of the country.
Reacting to reports of roughing up of Kashmiri prisoners in Delhi's Tihar Jail, the chief minister said, "The shameful incident not only maligned the name of the policemen and their state, but the entire police force.
"In comparison, our (Jammu and Kashmir) police is doing a wonderful job despite being faced with difficult situations. They are dealing with stone-pelting and bullets (militancy) with great determination, discipline and restrain which is praise-worthy. There is no match for our police force," she said.
Asking the police recruits to have a humane approach in dealing with public, Mehbooba said the real test for them would be outside the training school.
"I have heard about your training and skills...It is not just about firing SLR and Ak-47, but how you behave when you face a 9-year-old and an 80-year-old. The real test awaits you outside," she said.
Mehbooba added that the drug de-addiction centres run by the police in Srinagar were doing a wonderful job.
"l salute district police chiefs, who despite facing financial constraints, are helping drug addicts to overcome the problem. I would like the officers at district level to supervise such de-addiction centres".
The chief minister expressed concern over the growing graph of crime against women and lamented the fact that the victims were not coming forward with their complaints.
"There are two reasons for women not seeking legal assistance. First, they do not want to publicise family matter, and secondly, they do not have faith in the police," she said.
"We have set up women police stations so that the victims of domestic violence can talk about their problems openly. Since such stations do not have much strength, district police chiefs need to pitch in and help them get justice," she said.