TWO traffic policemen ride a motorcycle wearing face masks on Monday.—INP
TWO traffic policemen ride a motorcycle wearing face masks on Monday.—INP

KARACHI: Police authorities unveiled emergency measures on Monday to meet a host of challenges arising out of the coronavirus, rapidly spreading in Sindh, where the majority of the nation’s cases have been reported from.

Withdrawing policemen from guard and personal duties to be deployed at main department stores to ensure smooth supply of essential items, banning weekly bazaars, etc, preventing hoarding, raising reserve police force and anti-riots equipment to meet any law and order situation were some of the decisions taken in a meeting of deputy inspectors general and senior superintendents.

Presided over by Karachi police chief additional IG Ghulam Nabi Memon, the meeting was held at the office of the deputy inspector general of police, South.

As many as 1,000 policemen are likely to be posted at the department stores in Karachi to ensure smooth flow of daily use items in the wake of growing incidence of the coronavirus that have heightened concerns in the metropolis.

1,000 policemen to be deployed at main department stores to ensure smooth supply of daily use items

The city police chief told Dawn that it was decided that the policemen would be withdrawn from guard duty for deployment at the stores.

“The DIG-Security will raise manpower of at least 1,000 police officials out of his security units by withdrawing a portion of manpower deployed for guard and personal security,” he said.

This manpower will be subsequently utilised for the security of the major stores to ensure smooth supply of daily use items to the public in the metropolis.

The police will also improve their intelligence network to check hoarding of essential items and sanitisers, whose demand has increased manifold in the metropolis in the wake of the coronavirus.

The senior officer said that the police reserves had been raised at the police station, divisional SP, district SSPs, zonal DIGs and AIG levels to meet any law and order situation.

It was also decided that the SSPs would take stock of their anti-riot equipment and they would send their demands in case of any shortage.

The AIG disclosed that it was also decided that the police would be polite, but very firm in taking action against violations such as functions at marriage halls, holding of temporary bazaars etc as the provincial government had already imposed a ban on such gatherings and ceremonies to prevent spread of the virus.

Mr Memon said the police had provided security to 22 hospitals where isolation facilities had been set up by the Sindh government.

“District SSPs will ensure that no police officer will be deployed at such location who is old or having any medical issue so that collateral damage may be avoided.”

The SSPs will arrange proper protective gear for such police officers for their security.

“All police leaves are cancelled and nobody will be allowed leave except extreme emergency.”

The SSPs have been directed to ensure the presence for duty of all police personnel which have been relieved by the training institutions because of the coronavirus emergency.

The meeting decided that the DIG-South would coordinate with the medical superintendent of the police hospital at the Garden headquarters for the creation of an isolation ward.

“The DIG-South will contact Dr Bari of the Indus Hospital to obtain 1,000 coronavirus kits against a payment to test the police officers who are suspected to be infected with the virus.”

The AIG vowed that the Karachi police would enhance their community engagement to help the public by providing all relevant assistance as displayed during the last rain emergency in the provincial capital.

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2020