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New Karachi police chief vows to change ‘thana culture’

Updated July 19, 2019

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Number of police stations to be reduced from 107 to 45 for ‘betterment’. — AFP/File
Number of police stations to be reduced from 107 to 45 for ‘betterment’. — AFP/File

KARACHI: In his first meeting with subordinates and later on speaking with the media, newly appointed city police chief Additional IG Ghulam Nabi Memon underlined on Thursday the importance of improving or changing what was described as ‘thana culture’, bridging the gap between the people and the police, reducing the number of police stations from existing 107 to 45 for effective policing, establishing three model police stations and simultaneously initiating welfare and accountability processes of policemen.

“Despite massive efforts, no perceptible change has been seen in thana culture,” admitted the city police chief while addressing DIGs, SSPs and SPs in a meeting held at the office of DIG South.

“Despite [policemen] rendering tremendous sacrifices, the gap between the people and the police still persists,” lamented the senior officer.

Number of police stations to be reduced from 107 to 45 for ‘betterment’

“Existing process of snap checking would be changed as it was not bringing desirable results,” believed Mr Memon while talking to media at Saleem Vahidi Auditorium in Clifton later on.

A senior officer would be present during the snap checking along with cameras while Qaumi Razakars would also be there.

“Small police stations of all three zones of Karachi would be turned into big police stations as per standard practice in the world to avoid significant difficulties, which emerge from lack of sufficient force.”

It would be the responsibility of each SHO to promote “social activities” in their respective areas apart from dealing with crimes, the officer added.

“Three model police stations would be set up in the metropolis and if this experiment succeeds, higher authorities and the government would be approached to create more such model stations.”

Mr Memon said he would make endeavours to reduce number of police stations from existing 107 to 45 in the city by merging small police stations. “There should not be more than 50 police stations in the city.”

After reducing the number of police stations, duty hours of policemen would be reduced from present 12 hours to eight hours in phases. He opined that it was more important to provide “sufficient manpower and resources” to SHOs instead of increasing number of police stations.

The city police chief said upgrading the investigation department was also among his top priorities and promised to provide facilities for fingerprint and DNA sampling.

A proposal to this effect has been submitted to IG Sindh Dr Syed Kaleem Imam who has given his consent to it, he said.

“Providing additional allowance to the thanedars and investigation officers is also among my priorities,” said Ghulam Nabi Memon.

Number of criminals in city

He revealed that there were estimated 8,000-10,000 criminals in the city and the investigation wing would be made “powerful” so that such criminals do not get released from prisons frequently.

He also underlined the importance of bringing some changes in the laws to this effect.

He said police would encourage people to lodge FIRs as there would be no problem if crime registration increases as it would help arrest criminals.

The city police chief said that SPs and SSPs concerned would conduct inquiry into allegations of corruption against policemen.

Vehicles without registration number plates

The city police chief announced that citizens should ensure use of standard number plates given by the excise and taxation department till July 31 and later on a campaign to this effect would be launched from Aug 1.

Earlier addressing police officers, Mr Memon asked them to take important steps to create “strong friendship ties” between the general public and the police.

The police chief also asked for giving briefing to policemen on daily basis before their deployment at duty points.

Personnel guarding religious places should be deployed at “secure places”.

Arms being given to the policemen should be checked regularly while arrangements should be made for weapon handling and refresher courses for firing, he said.

SHOs and DSPs concerned should personally monitor snap checking points.

Working condition of all closed-circuit television cameras installed in the metropolis should be checked while checking and cleaning of all police lock-ups should be ensured.

All SSPs and SPs should visit their respective police stations and seek information about its condition and problems.

Banks’ security should be checked regularly and one police officer should be assigned the task of checking recording of CCTVs installed there as per standard operating procedure.

Guards deployed at banks should be briefed about their duty and their weapons should also be checked.

Mr Memon declared that the police officers demonstrating good performance would be rewarded, while departmental action would be taken against the personnel involved in corruption and misuse of power.

Earlier, all DIGs presented detailed reports about overall performance and problems being faced by them in their respective zones, said a police spokesperson.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2019