LAHORE, May 2: One can easily get a registration number plate of his or her choice at Rs200 to Rs300 from number plate makers within minutes.
Criminals and anti-social elements use this “facility” in crimes leaving blind trails for police to trace them. Now, the CIA (Organised Crime branch) seeks help from government authorities to streamline data on number plate makers.
The CIA wrote a memorandum to senior police authorities on April 30 that: “Sequel to tracing the general crime, hectic and strenuous efforts are made by the police at all levels. However, in certain cases circumstances appear to be far beyond the control of the local police in order to harness the criminals and arrest the actual culprits. Use of fake and unauthorised number plates is one such sore point vis-à-vis increasing street crime and thefts.”
Police say though their counterparts in operation and traffic wings are to check unauthorised number plates on roads, the cooperation of other government agencies like the Excise and Taxation Department and the City District Government of Lahore is also required to check illegal plate makers.
Interestingly, only the provincial Excise and Taxation Department can issue number plates of vehicles and motorcycles and check illegal business of number-plate manufacturing. According to the police record, everyday car and motorcycle theft and street crime are alarmingly high and outlaws and thieves usually use motorcycles with fake number plates.
The CIA memorandum suggests two options. In the first option, the police suggest that efforts be made to ensure standard number plates and fake number plates be removed and action according to law be initiated across the board.
The police say if the first option cannot be implemented, the second option is that: All number plates makers and their staff be registered; number plates manufactured by the registered number plates makers should have special code, monogram or numbers, and registered number plates makers should check original registration book and ID card of the plate seeker before making number plates.
CIA SP Capt Liaqat Ali Malik (retired) says criminal elements use fake number plates on vehicles and motorcycles making difficult for police investigators to trace cases of heinous crime. He says fake number plates are used in 95 per cent of incidents.
He says no government agency has data on number plate manufacturers and any one can get any number plate anywhere.