Merit-based postings, security of tenure suggested for effective policing

Updated February 11, 2020

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The annual policing plan passed recently by the Sindh Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission has stressed the need for an effective leadership, operational autonomy, reasonable budget, selection of field officers on merit and tenure posting for police officers in order to meet the challenges of law and order in the province. — AFP/File
The annual policing plan passed recently by the Sindh Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission has stressed the need for an effective leadership, operational autonomy, reasonable budget, selection of field officers on merit and tenure posting for police officers in order to meet the challenges of law and order in the province. — AFP/File

KARACHI: The annual policing plan passed recently by the Sindh Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission has stressed the need for an effective leadership, operational autonomy, reasonable budget, selection of field officers on merit and tenure posting for police officers in order to meet the challenges of law and order in the province.

The Sindh police’s annual plan, presented by Inspector General of Police Syed Kaleem Iman, also envisaged establishment of a centre to carry out research about patterns of crimes and human rights violations and organised mechanism to address grievances of the people.

It was pointed out that policing nowadays had becoming an increasingly complex challenge in terms of new crimes, fast-paced development of technology and growing public demands for greater accountability and transparency.

Referring to the factors that have been hampering the performance of the police, the document states: “One of the important predictors of effectiveness of police in evolving complex situations is the effectiveness of police leadership.”

According to the plan, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the need for an effective police leadership in countries like Pakistan was greater than ever.

The Sindh police propose setting up a research and study centre in the annual policing plan

High crime rates, widespread organised crime and numerous incidents of terrorism have been stated as serious challenges being faced by law enforcers.

“While the police are making a sincere effort to deal with prevailing law and order situation, a number of factors continue to weaken the efficacy of this endeavour,” the document said, adding, “In order to enable the police to perform their legal role to the satisfaction of the society, the police leadership has a crucial role to play.”

“Unless the provincial commanding officers are selected on merit through a transparent process and given a reasonable tenure with full control over their subordinates, the police cannot optimize its capability to tackle the challenges of modern policing,” the plan added.

Operational autonomy with provision of reasonable resources was also termed as the key to better policing.

Cut in budget hampers police performance

The annual budget of the Sindh police was Rs98 billion with Rs82bn (84 per cent of the budget) reserved for salaries and Rs16bn allocated for operational requirements.

“It is evident that the quantum of operational budget is significantly low in relation to the increasing demands of modernising the infrastructure and inflated exchange rate.”

The document noted with concern that a sizeable portion of the operational budget was slashed during the financial year 2018-19 causing an “adverse impact on the performance of police”.

It was “unprecedented that not a single vehicle or arms could be procured during the year and several schemes were left abandoned for want of funds”.

The document revealed that the Sindh Police Research and Study Centre (SPRSC) will be established to lead research on key areas of policing.

The police considered research as the most important aspect and vowed to invest resources to “transform policing to research-oriented policing and decision-making”.

The proposed research centre will be established in collaboration with well-established research organisations and universities of good repute. It will be measured on the basis of the number of research studies conducted on the key issues and challenges of policing in the province.

Moreover, as part of new initiatives, the plan said that a systemised and organised complaint redressal mechanism will be adopted.

In order to enhance capacity of police trainers on modern lines, a memorandum of understanding with Karachi University was in process while more instructor development courses will be conducted for identical purpose.

23pc hike in FIR registration

Describing fighting crimes and registering FIRs as core functions of the police, the document said that the policy of free registration of FIRs was adopted and an unprecedented increase of 23pc in registration of FIRs was witnessed.

Common people were encouraged to lodge their FIRs and they showed their trust in police. “The increase in registration of FIRs does not mean that crime increased rather it is on the contrary.”

The police claimed that there was overall 7pc reduction in crimes and this was due to effective crime fighting, street patrolling, busting of gangs and arrest of proclaimed offenders and absconders.

Establishment of 221 reporting rooms, 36 complaint centres and women protection cells have been stated as some of the initiatives taken by the police in 2019.

One of the major initiatives was improving the emergency response and service delivery at police station level.

In order to improve thana culture and focus on community policing, the initiatives like open katchehri, seminars, campaigns, public meetings were held by officers that have believed to have brought fruitful results in winning community support, trust and confidence.

Other initiatives were setting up a school of investigation, a school of intelligence, school of public disorder and riot management, criminals’ record management system in jails, Hotel Eye Management system and designing of web application for missing persons and unidentified dead bodies.

Neutralising “hardened terrorists” allegedly involved in suicide blasts in Jacobabad, Shikarpur and Sehwan, arrests of 25,203 suspects, actions against smuggling of Iranian diesel, gutka, and mainpuri, etc, have been cited as some of the achievements in 2019.

The annual policing plan has been prepared by the IG Sindh under relevant laws for review of the safety commission. Its purpose was to objectively analyse the working of the Sindh police in preceding year and to set goals and targets for the coming year.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2020