RAWALPINDI: The Dolphin Force was formed in order to keep a check on street crime.
Inspired by the Turkish Dolphin Force, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had launched the force in Punjab - first in Lahore and then in Rawalpindi.
The force in Rawalpindi was equipped with 75 500cc heavy bikes and is 140 officers strong who have been trained by Turkish experts.
CPO says no separate funds allocated for the force
The force’s slogan is “We Are Family” and is also meant to improve the public’s image of the police force via the way they interact with residents.
But how effective is the force? Has it really helped curb street crimes in the garrison city, seeing as the force is only on duty for eight hours, and that too during the day.
Conceding that the public feedback for the force was not encouraging and that the force’s personnel have not even made a single arrest yet, City Police Officer Israr Ahmed Abbasi however, claimed that crime has decreased in the city after the launching of the Dolphin Force.
“We have changed the force’s timing since they are meant to keep a check on street crimes,” the CPO said.
However, he acknowledged that there were no separate funds for the force.
“We are using regular funds of the Rawalpindi police to run Dolphin Force,” the CPO added.
An Inspector of the Dolphin Force, Mirza Yaseen, told Dawn that the force’s personnel perform eight-hour shifts during the day between 7am and 3pm with four personnel in each area on two motorcycles.
The second shift is between 4pm and 11pm with extra patrolling in the Cantt areas, especially in Saddar where there are many shoppers and where there are more chances of purse and mobile snatching.
Asked about keeping a check on street crimes during the hours not covered and outside the Cantt areas, Mr Yaseen only said the maximum area is covered by the force during their duty hours.
Talking to Dawn, a police official who was part of the force said the Dolphin Force is temporarily settled in the barracks in the Police Lines as its headquarters in Morgah is under construction.
He said the force’s personnel are facing uncertainty as their extra allowances have not been paid, which are given to Dolphin Force members in Lahore.
The force cannot also conduct patrols in all areas of the city due to the shortage of staff as 140 people are not enough to cover the entire city.
All the bikes are not used due to the shortage of staff and only 60 of the 75 bikes are being currently used.
The heavy bikes, procured for Rs1 million each, are parked under the open sky due to a lack of covered parking.
“Some of the force’s personnel bought parachute material from the local market and made covers for their bikes so they do not rust,” the police official said, adding that some of the personnel pay for washing and tyre maintenance of the bikes from their own pocket.
All bikes are given seven litres of fuel a day and a bike is used for 40 minutes every hour for patrolling and is rested for 20 minutes.
“It is not possible to drive a 200-kg heavy bike for an hour and some of the riders are already complaining of back pains,” he added.
The force members will also face problems while performing eight-hour day shifts in the summers as their uniforms are made of parachute material.
However, senior police officials are considering changing the uniform material.
Another police official told Dawn the force will soon run out of funds and may only be used for providing security to VIPs.
Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2018