LAHORE: Inspector General of Police retired Capt Arif Nawaz Khan has issued a new standing order for police for child abuse cases and their investigation.

He directed all the field police officers to hold meetings with their staff on sexual abuse cases to brief them on the new order, asking them to ensure presence of ASPs, SDPOs, DSPs Legal, SHOs, heads of investigation and police posts in meetings and send reports to Central Police Office till today (Saturday) evening.

In the standing order, the IGP has said that in case of agreement between the accused and plaintiff, Section 311 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) should be included into the case so that the accused might not escape punishment.

The SHO or senior officer should reach the area and the crime spot and submit report it to seniors. The SHO will be bound to collect evidence from the crime scene and if the affected person is found injured, he/she should be taken to the hospital by the SHO. The case will be lodged immediately after receiving of information of the incident.

Regarding the investigation, the new standing order says investigating officers (IOs) shall make a detailed sketch of the wound of the affected child. The statement of the affected child shall be recorded and if any affected child or accused is under arrest, his/her DNA samples shall be taken by the police. The affected person shall not be called for his/her presence during the investigation but the IO will himself go to his/her home to record statements. The IO will not ask such questions as may hurt the affected child. Written approval will be sought for medical examination from parents of affected person below 18 years of age.

If the affected child is a female then the investigation will be conducted by a woman police officer, not below the rank of a sub-inspector. If mobile phones or other electronic gadgets are recovered from the accused, these should be sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA), Lahore, without delay.

During investigation, collection of forensic evidence should be ensured with the help of experts of PFSA and its results will be safely received.

In case of presence of a CCTV camera near the crime scene, the IO should secure its recording. Guidance of prosecution branch should be sought if any legal complication is found. The accused will undergo a medical test through a medical officer to know condition for the commission of such crime.

If an individual is arrested on suspicion then he would be immediately shifted to judicial lock-up for identification parade and face of the arrested person must be covered from arrest to judicial lock-up.

A gazetted police officer will review the case documents (Misal Muqadma) and sign it before sending it to prosecution branch. All possible measures will be taken for the protection and security of the affected child and witnesses during the trial.

No less than the rank of a sub-inspector will be deputed as follow-up officer for trial in such cases and with the help of prosecution and judiciary trial in such cases would be concluded at earliest.

All district police heads/SP investigation should ensure coordination with the public prosecutor and district & session judge and cases of sexual crimes against children must be a compulsory agenda of monthly crime meeting.

The SP investigation will be the focal person in all such cases and will supervise investigation from start to end.

Record of all criminal involved in paedophilia either on bail or have previously completed their punishment time or have settled the matter with victims family out of court will be maintained at the relevant police station and district police.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2019