LAHORE: The Punjab police department has directed RPOs to point out drug addicts in all ranks starting from constables to the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) to purge the force of such elements.
In a meeting chaired by IGP Inam Ghani, the regional police officers received instructions to prepare health profiling of the officers/officials after going through testing in labs in order to identify those using drugs.
The decision was taken in the light of an incident occurred in Lahore’s Abbas Police Lines where a constable hanged himself from a tree in its courtyard following some departmental issues with the senior command, an official told this reporter.
An inquiry found that the constable was facing some psychological issues and was on medication, he said.
When the scope of investigation was expanded, the official said, reports showed many police officials were using drugs/narcotics either to fight depression or taking them as habit in the company of their ‘addict’ colleagues.
Health profiling of suspected drug users to be conducted; addicts to undergo rehab on their own
Most of such drug addicts were pointed out in the tier of the officials working at the police stations as assistant sub-inspectors and sub-inspectors, he said.
During a brainstorming session, the senior command at the Central Police Office proposed that the initiative should not be restricted to the level of the lower grade policemen, and officers from the PSP should also be ‘questioned’ to dispel the impression of discrimination, the official said.
The police high-ups feared that the trend of using cocaine, ice and alcohol was prevalent in most of the ranks and the discipline in the police force can only be maintained by launching a uniform policy.
He said they were of the view that those using drugs during field service were creating a potential risk for other colleagues too as the narcotics seized from the criminals was easily available to abuse at the police stations of the province.
There was also a proposal that those facing psychological issues should not be given sensitive or field assignments with weapons to avoid any mishap.
These officials would be asked to undergo rehabilitation on their own.
Meanwhile, according to a handout issued here on Wednesday, the IG took the above-mentioned decision in the process of implementing police reforms under the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and declared that no drug user will be a part of the Punjab police in future.
He declared that the officers and personnel identified during health profiling would undergo immediate drug tests by authorised laboratories.
“We have decided to conduct health profiling of police to make the process of accountability more effective so that the black sheep involved in the use of drugs can be taken out of the force,” Mr Ghani said.
He feared that the ‘habitual addicts’ in the police force were facilitating or participating in the activities of the drug dealers.
The IGP assigned task to the Internal Accountability Branch (IAB) to tighten the noose around such officials.
He directed that in order to make the process of health profiling transparent and purposeful, the command and field officers themselves should monitor the process.
He said the RPOs and unit heads should also seek assistance from other intelligence agencies, including special branch, in health profiling of the personnel.
Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2021