Surge in number of policemen on guard duty

Published September 4, 2014
File photo
File photo

KARACHI: Around 10,000 police officials instead of doing regular policing have been assigned the duty of protecting senior officers, legislators, politicians and other ‘important personalities’, it emerged on Wednesday.

Over the past couple of years, there has been a significant rise in the number of policemen deployed for the security of individuals.

Karachi police chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo responded in the affirmative when he was asked if nearly 10,000 law-enforcers had been deployed for the security of individuals.

The situation was said to be disturbing for the police hierarchy that had mulled over the withdrawal of a number of policemen from the duty of guarding individuals, but did not take a final decision, said official sources.

Over half of the sanctioned strength of the key law enforcement agency was carrying out either administrative jobs or guard duty to protect individuals, they said.

“Until July 2012, the number of policemen deputed on the duty of guarding individuals stood at 6,590,” said an official, while citing some recently gathered figures.

“The number of policemen on such duty has now reached close to 10,000 and the expenditure would also have surged proportionally. The policemen have been assigned duty of protecting individuals on different grounds and recommendations,” he added.

Amid the rising challenges of militancy, targeted killings, kidnapping for ransom and street crime in Karachi, the authorities seem more concerned about the security of senior officials, legislators, politicians and other ‘important’ personalities’ by allocating only half of the sanctioned strength for policing in the city of 18 million people.

A senior official, however, argued that it was the issue of strength that forced the police hierarchy to plead its case before the authorities and propose the recruitment of ex-servicemen to fill the gap in regular policing. After hiring the services of 2,000 former soldiers in recent months, the police are likely to recruit 1,000 more retired servicemen.

“The chief minister has recently approved the induction of another batch of 1,000 retired army soldiers into the Sindh police force in addition to the 10,000 appointments planned for the current financial year,” he said.

“It was in fact the Karachi police proposal, considering that the recruitment and training of 10,000 personnel would take time but ex-servicemen would be available for policing within two months.”

The official was sure that the move would help police in many ways, as the growing security challenges and ‘consistent policing efforts in Karachi’ required a much larger force than the existing one. The recruitment would also help ease pressure on the overburdened strength, he added.

“The benefit of hiring retired troops is that they are already prepared to join the police force with immediate effect,” he said. “They just need to learn the basics before being inducted and that’s why this proposal was forwarded to cater to the immediate manpower need of the Sindh police.”

The Karachi police are in need of strength that is mainly affected due to a large number of policemen being deployed for the security of individuals, the officer said.

“Certainly there is threat to the lives of many individuals, but there are exceptions also who are allowed to keep police guards merely as a status symbol,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2014

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