LAHORE: After introducing structural changes to two police stations of the city under a pilot project, the authorities have shortlisted 20 more out of the total 85 police stations in the provincial capital to replicate the scheme.

Police stations are being reformed in phases according to a new scheme -- Revamping and Reorganisation of Police Station 2017 -- launched on Jan 1 this year in Lahore. The basic idea behind this initiative is to change a century-old unfriendly culture at police stations, a senior police official told Dawn.

He said the new scheme had been planned by senior command of the Lahore police by initially selecting two police stations – in the developed area of Defence and underdeveloped Kahna.

Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) retied Capt Amin Wains while talking to Dawn shared background of the police department to understand the purpose of launching the scheme in the city.

“Since 1920, the status of police among people was that of brutality and frontline servants of the Raj, unfortunately,” he said. As a result, hatred towards police started escalating among people.

Policing culture developed on colonial foundations and mindset continued to flourish as the police largely failed to become a service-oriented department, he said.

“Unfortunately, police largely continued to serve those at the helm of affairs while the masses remained neglected; preference was generally given to those who mattered. To change this century-old syndrome and get rid of the typical thana culture, the senior command of Lahore police recently joined heads with the sole purpose of creating a workable and concrete proposal,” the CCPO said.

After extensive meetings, they finally designed a new scheme as a pilot project to introduce structural changes at police station level, he said, adding that after realising the needs of modern times, almost the entire staff had been replaced at the selected police stations.

“The officers posted at shortlisted police stations are comparatively much more efficient, polite, people-friendly and dedicated to serve the public,” he added.

Moreover, entire paperwork of the police stations had also been replaced by gadgets.

“We have shortlisted 20 more police stations of the city to replicate the new scheme at, extending its scope from two police stations to the others,” he said.

The police stations included Green Town, Model Town, Sabzazar, Raiwind City, Manga Mandi, Defence A, Baghbanpura, South Cantt, Ghaziabad, North Cantt, Mustafabad, Tibbi City, New Anarkali, Shahdara Ravi Road, Masti Gate, Iqbal Town, Muslim Town among others.

Under the scheme, the CCPO reaffirmed, a complete ban had been imposed on extra duties of the personnel at selected police stations. Police officials shall discharge duties in shifts and none of them shall work for more than eight hours.

Such structural changes were made for the first time in three major sections of police stations -- administration, human resource and budget, he said. “Highly trained station house officers and other officials having sound background are being posted in these police stations.”

The entire police record was being computerised to avoid manipulation and ensure transparency. Effective monitoring of visitors’ communication with police officers was being ensured through CCTV cameras. These police stations would be centres of peace for the aggrieved where gender-based reporting rooms, investigation rooms equipped with scientific means of investigation, proper facilities for public and welfare measures for police officials had been introduced, CCPO Wains concluded.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2017

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