LAHORE: The Lahore police have registered over 16,000 first information reports (FIRs) on the ‘old complaints’ filed by the citizens during the last 10 months.
It is said to be the first incident of burking of crime figures in such a large number that has been detected and the matter was officially reported in recent meetings of the police high-ups.
Some police experts say the term, ‘burking’, has been associated with the crime in the law that means failure to get the information of crime recorded, stifling the criminal investigation process.
An official, privy to the information, said these complaints had gone unreported when police manipulated them to show crime rate down. He said the unethical practice had deprived the citizens of their fundamental rights to take the criminals to the court of law for recovery of their snatched/stolen properties.
Figures burked to show crime down; FIRs now registered on ignored complaints
The official said the citizens had filed 16,533 complaints between Jan 1 to Oct 31 in all six divisions of the Lahore police. All the complaints pertained to the heinous crime, including vehicle snatching, theft, robbery and robbery, gone unreported in the police record.
The much disturbing part of the development was that police had also fudged the crime related to the snatching and theft of vehicles. This form of crime had not gone unreported in the past in such a large number, as is evident from the figures available with Dawn.
The data showed the thieves had taken away 4,209 motorbikes and 139 cars or other vehicles of the citizens besides snatching at gunpoint 45 motorcycles and three cars or other vehicles from the citizens during the 10 months. All these crimes were registered in the month of November.
This unveiled a terrible tendency to fudge the crime figures in the provincial capital right under the nose of the chief minister, head of provincial police and many other offices of the authorities concerned.
The police experts say the efficiency of the police officers is measured usually by escalation or decline of crime rate. They are of the view that the data shows the officers during the period mentioned above tried to ‘manage crime’ by not recording it.
“The manipulation of crime figures was often touted as worst precedent of unprofessionalism that has plagued the police department,” a senior police officer comments.
He says lodging of the FIR is responsibility of the state to maintain a record of the commission of cognizable offences that helps it to assess the law and order situation prevailing in the city.
The official data of refusing the fundamental rights of the citizens to lodge their complaints against criminals in such a large number has badly exposed the police officers as well as the available mechanism.
It said out of total 16,533 unreported complaints, 16 were about dacoities, 2,365 of robberies, 4,413 snatching/theft of vehicles, 570 of house and shop thefts, 1,360 complaints of street crime, 7,210 of properties and 599 were miscellaneous.
According to the division-wise breakdown of the figures, the Cantonment Division was on top of all others by denying FIRs on 4,188 complaints, followed by Model Town Division 3,356 complaints and Civil Lines Division with 2,770 complaints.
Similarly, the City Division had not lodged criminal cases on 2,609 complaints, Saddar Division refused 2,077 while Iqbal Town Division turned down 1,533 complaints from Jan 1 to Oct 31.
Another official, privy to the information, said the police authorities had prepared these official figures after going through a detailed analysis of the complaints gone unreported during the first 10 months of this year.
After a detailed deliberations on the issue in a couple of meetings, he said, the police high-ups sent these old unreported complaints to all the divisional SPs to get them reconfirmed before lodging the FIRs. He said in the entire situation, the beneficiaries were the criminals/robbers who had escaped punishments from the court of law despite committing offences.
After a process of verification, the official added, the police registered 16,533 new FIRs on old complaints that increased burden manifold on the investigation wing, which was already short of staff and logistics.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2021