KARACHI: The Sindh police have finally acquired the multimillion-rupee 4G mobile phone call locator system, the technology that had once been in the exclusive use of the intelligence agencies, and handed it over to the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), which will put it at the disposal of all wings of the police department, it emerged on Saturday.
Officials said the CTD had been chosen by the top brass to run the system as the department handled the most heinous crimes committed by hardened criminals and militants.
“In fact, the Sindh police have acquired two 4G mobile phone call locators, which have been handed over to the CTD for use in the entire province. The police have been using the technology for more than two years but the latest one is a modern [gadget] to trace smartphone communications,” said a police source.
In 2013 the Sindh police had acquired two sets of the system and initially the Special Branch was told to run it, which also facilitated investigation of cases by other arms of the department, said the source. Officials said that those previous sets were capable of meeting requirements of 2G and 3G mobile phones.
“As the name suggests, the caller locator will allow police investigators to spot the exact location from where a mobile phone call is being made,” said the source.
It all began in 2010 when the Sindh police had planned to use the system but they had to shelve it after opposition from the country’s powerful intelligence apparatus. In line with the past practice, police heavily depended on the intelligence agencies when they needed to locate mobile phone calls, especially those made in high-profile cases of kidnapping for ransom and extortion.
The Peshawar police had gained the technology years ago. Moreover, the Sindh government and business community also supported the move to end once and for all police investigators’ oft-repeated excuse that they could not effectively deal with organised gangs in the absence of modern technology.
“The CTD SSP has been appointed focal person for the entire department who could be approached by any unit of the Karachi police with a request for the use of the system,” said an official.
“CTD officials have undergone training in the use of the equipment. Whenever they receive a request from any unit or section of the law-enforcement agency, they move with the equipment to the required location to offer the service.”
He said the use of modern technology would quash the excuse often extended by the law-enforcement agency for its failure in certain cases because of lack of such equipment and it would also enhance its investigation capability.
“The sets acquired by the police have been locally designed and developed. [The technology] has been effectively used for tracing criminals and kidnappers in the interior of Sindh where several groups were busted using the technology,” he added.
Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2017