Notwithstanding repeated claims to purge the police department of corruption, steps have never been taken to eliminate the reasons behind the menace plaguing the force.
Usually, an ordinary citizen comes across the police as a complainant in case of a crime or any incident. After a hectic effort to get the case registered, when the police begin the investigation they have no funds to bear the costs, such as fuel for raiding teams, facilities for medical, chemical and scientific tests etc.
Police officers say even those who avoid indulging themselves in corrupt practices are compelled to ask for ‘favours’ from the complainants to meet the rising cost of investigating crime cases.
The allocation of funds to cover the cost of investigation is not mentioned in the Police Rules 1934 under which the capital police are still working. Though the need for funds was always felt across the country, the issue was somehow addressed in the Police Order 2002, which has yet to be enforced in the capital city.
For a few years, the capital police allocated Rs50,000 for each police station to carry out investigations into different cases.
On the demand of the police, the interior ministry last year allocated an amount of Rs1.2 million for the police which in the current year was raised to Rs2.5 million.
However, the amount fixed for the investigation of cases was not more than 10 per cent of the actual money spent on them.
According to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) the capital police have prepared, an amount of Rs19,800 would be fixed for the investigation of a blind murder case. But sources said the actual cost of such a case was more than Rs104,000 and even went up if the investigators needed to go outside the city to conduct a raid or arrest an accused. Besides, there are only three draftsmen available with the police to draw the crime scene map who charged Rs15,000 to Rs35,000 each. Moreover, Rs15,000 are spent on the DNA test.
Similarly, an amount of Rs12,400 is fixed for the investigation of an attempted murder case which needs at least Rs65,400. A sum of Rs9,700 is given for the investigation of robbery, Rs4,700 for theft, Rs16,500 for vehicle theft and Rs4,000 for burglary cases which the police sources said were not enough to complete the task.
So with such meagre allocations, the investigating officers are unable to complete the work and as a result they either avoid registering a case or try to fudge figures, for example, when drugs and narcotics are seized.
In routine, an investigation officer (IO) probes a case by utilising his own resources and later submits the bills to the police station concerned, seeking its reimbursement. The bills are then sent to the Central Police Office (CPO) from where it is forwarded to the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR).
But police officials say the IOs never fully receive the money they spent on the investigations. First, the Moharar of the police station raises objections on a number of receipts and drops them from the bill and later the same practice is followed in the AGPR.
Moreover, the IOs cannot produce receipts for most of the expenses incurred during the process of an investigation such as the taxi fares.
When contacted, Inspector General of Police Tahir Alam Khan said, “We are trying to reduce the cost of investigations. There are hurdles in the reimbursement so the investigation officers are avoiding submitting the bills as most of the time they do not get the full payment.”
The IGP said efforts were also in progress to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a forensic lab in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which charged Rs1,000 per sample and also reduced the amount if the number of samples is more than one.
At present, the capital police utilise the services of a forensic lab in Lahore which charges Rs5,500 per parcel of liquor or narcotics, he added. Similarly, a request has been placed for the upgradation of the federal forensic sciences lab.
Likewise, , added, the commandant of the Police College Sihala had been requested to start training courses for the officials of the capital police on how to make a crime scene map. This will also reduce the cost of the crime scene mapping.
“We have decided to release an amount of Rs150,000 to each of the police stations as the cost of the investigations.” The cost of stationery for the police stations has also been increased and each police station has been provided with a fax and photo state machines to facilitate the IOs.
When Dawn approached a number of complainants, including the relatives of murder and robbery victims and asked them if the police investigators ever sought monetary ‘favour’ from them during the process of the investigation, they refused to speak on record.
Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2015