Police in Islamabad lack funds to meet cost of investigation

Published February 26, 2021
The capital police have Rs3.5 million for investigation for the year 2020-21. — AP/File
The capital police have Rs3.5 million for investigation for the year 2020-21. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: The capital police have only Rs400 as the investigation cost for each case, resulting in poor outcome.

An officer of the police told Dawn on condition of anonymity that due to shortage of funds, only Rs400 were available to be spent on investigation of each criminal case.

As a result, either complainants or the investigating officers have to bear the expense from their pockets. This practice is encouraging corruption in the department, he added.

The government is talking about police reforms to depoliticise the force and make it corruption free. Besides, Islamabad Model Police Act 2020 is also under discussion in a subcommittee of National Assembly Standing Committeeon Interior but without addressing the shortage of funds the police will never be corruption free, he said.

The capital police have Rs3.5 million for investigation for the year 2020-21. Last year, the police investigated 8,746 cases, including murder, attempted murder, robbery, vehicle snatching and kidnapping, the officers said.

Allocation unchanged since 2011, says official

Against the Rs3.5 million budget, much more was spent on the investigation of the cases and that extra amount was pooled in by the complainants or the IOs.

In 2018, the estimated cost of investigation for the police stations was Rs119.847 million which has further increased now.

Funds for investigation or cost of investigation are not mentioned in the Police Rules 1934 under which the capital police are working. For the first time, the capital police released Rs50,000 for each police station in 2010 and in 2011.

The cost of investigation was revised in 2011 according to the nature of crime, but it is still unchanged after the passage of a decade. According to the standard operating procedure, an amount of Rs19,800 is fixed as the investigation cost in a murder case, Rs12,400 in an attempted murder case, Rs2,600 in kidnapping and rape cases, Rs700 for fatal and non-fatal accident, Rs9,700 for robbery, Rs4,000 for burglary, Rs4700 for theft, Rs16,500 for vehicle theft, Rs700 for narcotics and liquour, arms recovery, and other cases.“There are only three draftsmen available to draw a crime scene map, who charged Rs20,000 to Rs30,000,” they stated. Besides, Rs30,000 are required for a toxicology/pathology test, Rs25,000 for a DNA test, Rs20,000 for burn tissue, Rs4,000 burn material and Rs3,000 for blood analysis.

Thousands of rupees are also required to make sketches of suspects, collect evidence from the crime scene, including fingerprints.

An amount of Rs300,000 each was spent only to trace and arrest culprits in two murder cases - one a triple murder case of July 2020 and another the murder case of a bank manager in September 2020.

The investigation cost varies according to the case, the officer said, adding these days the minimum cost to investigate a murder case is Rs100,000, and it increases if the investigators have to go outside the city for raids and arrest a suspect.

They said in practice, an IO spends money on the investigation of a case and then submits the receipts for reimbursement to the moharar of the police station. The moharar sends it to the officer concerned.

There are hurdles in getting the amount reimbursed, so the investigation officers avoid submitting the bill as most of time they do not get full payment, the officer stated. So the IOs ask the complainants for payment.

But such a practice encourages corruption as investigation officers have to generate money to bear the cost of investigations, he added.

In 2018, the capital police convinced the Punjab Forensic Science Agency not to directly charge the police officials who approached it with samples for investigation rather the police would send them monthly bills. As a result, the IOs and complainants do not need to pay for the tests but still bear the transportation cost.

When contacted, director media of capital police SP Amjad Farooq confirmed that as per the available budget the police had only Rs400 for investigation of a case.

There is a shortage of funds to meet the expense of investigation cost, he said. But the police have other sources to meet the investigation cost, including from its welfare funds and fee charged on issuance of entry cards to the Diplomatic Enclave, he added.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2021

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