MUZAFFARABAD: SSP Syed Riaz Haider Bukhari on Saturday formally inaugurated ‘community policing desk’ in the Muzaffarabad oldest City Police Station as a pilot project to “convince people to settle their petty disputes through dialogue and reconciliation rather than the traditional policing and litigation.”

Speaking to reporters on the occasion, Mr Bukhari said the concept of community policing was in practice in many parts of the country for a long time but it had been introduced in AJK for the first time owing to its benefits for the general public.

“After indulging in trivial monetary or property disputes, people tend to rush to police stations for registration of the FIR and subsequent litigation in courts, unmindful of the fact that the practice causes wastage of not only their own time and energy but also that of the police,” he said, adding, “It’s why a pilot project was prepared to launch community policing firstly in the state capital and then in other areas of the state.”

The SSP said that a sub-inspector and four-member team, including a lady constable, had been spared for the desk, under the supervision of SHO Rashid Habib Masoodi.

According to Mr Bukhari, the AJK police had also taken some other initiatives to curb crime on the one hand and increase the trust of the general public in the police force on the other.

In this regard, he said a criminal data bank was being established where fingerprints, past history and other allied information of all prisoners would be stored in the first stage.

Later, the record of those who the police would apprehend in connection with any criminal activity would also be added to it.

“This would help police to a great extent hunt down perpetrators of any unlawful activity at the earliest possible time,” he said.

He said forensic labs were also being established in AJK, for which IGP Salahuddin Mehsud had taken pains after his transfer here.

The SSP further said that AJK police were also going to launch an application whereby citizens would be able to alert their respective ‘district redressal cells’ about any accident, calamity or criminal activity, without physically visiting or calling police stations.

The police would respond to the information in real time, without disclosing the identity of the informer.

In response to a question about the May 29 accident on Kohala Road, which claimed 11 lives, the SSP said that the National Highway Authority had been named in the FIR due to its negligence in maintaining the most important highway of the territory.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2021

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