LAHORE: In what appears to be an unprecedented move, 61 station house officers (SHOs) with alleged criminal record have been suspended from service and also removed from their posts across the province.
Most of the SHOs are from Faisalabad, Lahore, Sheikhupura and Kasur.
Of the 61 officers, the list of 48 was generated and forwarded by the Central Police Office (CPO) to the senior field police officers for their suspension and removal from the posts. The CPO had recommended action against them on the basis of the criminal record obtained by the Human Resource Management System of the Punjab police department. Others have been placed under suspension and removed from their respective posts by the field police officers on the basis of the criminal record at their respective districts.
Senior officers divided on such a drastic step
Action was taken against them on the directions of the IGP who had ordered the regional, city and district police officers of the province to get rid of the SHOs having criminal record or those who had been awarded major punishments. The IGP received 99 per cent compliance from the RPOs, CPOs and DPOs within 24 days of his order.
Through the official letter, the field police officers were directed to remove the SHOs who were challaned in criminal cases. They were further directed to suspend the SHOs against whom the criminal cases were registered.
It was also directed that the SHOs who were awarded three or above major departmental punishments should be transferred within next 48 hours and should not be posted as SHO in future.
For the SHOs awarded two major punishments, the letter reads, “In case any such officer is retained as SHO, prior permission in writing must be sought from RPO concerned.”
The IGP had also directed that no officer would be posted SHO in future who had not worked for a period of two years in active investigation work.
Eight SHOs were suspended from service by Faisalabad police, seven by Lahore police, five by Sheikhupura, four by Kasur, three each by Nankana Sahib, Gujrat, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Khanewal and Bahawalnagar, two each by Sargodha, Pakpattan, Bahawalpur and one each SHO was suspended and removed by Sialkot, Narowal, Attock, Chakwal, Khushab, Bhakkar, Mianwali, Toba Tek Singh, Jhang, Multan, Vehari, Lodhran and Sahiwal police.
Meanwhile, many police officers declare it a gimmick saying that it should have been implemented from constable to the rank of inspector general of police. They warn of “profound repercussions” of the new initiative saying many SHOs were facing criminal cases lodged either on political grounds or on the influence of the ‘pressure groups’.
The senior officers say that before introducing these guidelines, a detailed departmental inquiry into the criminal cases should have been completed to prepare a list of the SHOs with tainted record.
“Why the buck stops on SHO only,” a senior police officer said, while seeking anonymity. He added that the deputy superintendents of police (DSPs), and few superintendents of police (SPs), fewer still DPOs were implicated in criminal charges and cases had also been registered against them.
Another senior officer said this is against the spirit of law to restrict the action to the SHOs only.
A senior police officer supported the initiative saying it should be fully implemented without any discrimination.
“The reform is a continuous incremental process. There is no single remedy for a very complex problem. Every little bit counts,” the officer said, adding that this is a significant step in the right direction.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2021