RAWALPINDI: Regional police officers (RPOs) across Punjab have been directed to blacklist all those officials with proven history of inflicting torture on citizens or causing custodial deaths and not to assign them any field duty.
The incidents of police torture and deaths in police custody in recent days have sent shockwaves and anger among the citizens.
The incidents forced the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Arif Nawaz Khan to call a meeting recently with the RPOs and conveyed to them that his orders regarding media policy were not read carefully as junior officers were holding press conferences and sharing videos of police investigations with the media.
IGP also directs that such officials should not be assigned any field duty
He also acknowledged that incidents of torture or deaths in police custody were a failure of the field command. He said formal and informal visits and inspections of police stations had been abandoned by district heads and there had not been a single meeting held by the central command in which zero tolerance on the incidents of torture and deaths in police custody was discussed.
He also expressed his dismay over ignoring his directives saying it was the task of the field commanders to implement the instructions, policies and directives given by the Central Police Office.
“District police officers have to come out of their luxury offices and watch what is happening in the police stations,” the IGP said.
On the other hand, the subordinate staff is taking the district heads as if they do not exist and with each passing day the commanders are becoming irrelevant, said the IGP.
He also suggested that corruption or inefficiency of the police officers must be reflected in their annual confidential reports (ACRs). The IGP directed the RPOs and DPOs to hold interactive meetings with all ranks in small groups and direct them to follow SOPs and sensitise the force on torture/death in custody.
While citing a recent example of torturing a woman by some officials and private people in Vehari, the IGP said it was an example of unprofessional command of the district police officer. A committee comprising local notables, SDPO and the SHO was constituted to investigate a theft of gold case. The committee tortured one of the suspected women.
The irony of the situation was that the SHO, who inflicted torture on the woman, was made the complainant of the case. Later, the RPO had to be sent to Vehari to hold an inquiry.
Separately, police have decided to launch a crackdown against those using blue lights or tinted glass in private vehicles.
The direction in this regard was issued by City Police Officer Mohammad Faisal Rana.
The CPO said criminals were disguising themselves and attempting to dodge the law often by using blue lights over their vehicles or tinted glasses.
He said the crackdown against private vehicles using blue lights and tinted glass was being initiated on the directives of the chief minister.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2019