LAHORE: The provincial police officer (PPO) has delegated his powers to the additional inspector general (AIG) of investigation wing to evaluate the performance of senior superintendents of police (SSPs) and SPs heading investigation at district and regional levels.
In another related development, the department has also established for the first time a complainant engagement system, and monitoring units at district and regional levels to improve the standard of investigation.
Provincial Police Information Officer (PPIO) of Punjab police DIG Sohail confirmed the development. He told Dawn the major emphasis was on improving the investigation wing of police through fielding trained investigation officers (IOs), provision of requisite resources and enhanced supervision.
According to official data, every year 500,000 first information reports (FIRs) are registered under local and special laws in the police stations of Punjab. In Lahore alone, nearly 100,000 cases are registered every year. Under the new system, SSPs and SPs of investigation wings would be answerable to the investigation AIG regarding the investigation into registered cases.
Dawn learned that several other initiatives are also in the pipeline that included revamping of the investigation wing of Lahore, capacity building of IOs, provision of sufficient human and material resources to all investigation units, induction of modern-day technology and, most importantly, arranging the surveillance of habitual offenders and creation of provincial heinous offences unit on the pattern of the Counter Terrorism Department.
Mr Sohail said the renewed focus on investigation would be an important component of the strategic initiatives and institutional reforms after an extensive diagnostic analysis of the problems impacting the criminal justice administration in the province.
The Punjab police department is mandated with law enforcement of the province housing half of the country’s population.
“With the passage of time, the quantum of governance challenges has increased manifold thereby necessitating the need of delegating the powers of provincial officers, including the office of IGP to improve organisational efficiency,” he said.
The PPIO said the move is expected to bring about a quality change in facets of investigation ranging from crime scene processing, crime detection, victim support, prosecution and conviction thereby paving the path towards the ultimate goal of sustainable prevention of crime through accurate detection and commensurate convictions.
The close supervision of the provincial investigation branch would also entail standardisation and uniformity in the working of investigation units, he said.
The planned development of the investigation wing as a specialised unit has been a feature of the Police Order 2002.
“Globally, investigation wings are always given precedence over the watch & ward and other police units,” the PPIO said.
Unfortunately, he said, the previous governments continued investing in the watch & ward function of police at the cost of the investigation wing.
Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2021