LAHORE, Feb 15: The Punjab government has notified five big cities as general police areas, formally declaring them police units independent of the central police office, headed by the provincial police officer (PPO or the IGP).

It has also notified the creation of police regions in place of the ranges, re-adjusting cities under the new system. Some regions are larger than the previous ranges.

“The notifications had been issued by the home department two days ago,” a senior government official informed Dawn here on Thursday.

He said according to the first notification, Lahore had been declared the capital city police, and Rawalpindi, Faisalabad Gujranwala and Multan as city districts.

This meant that like the PPO, the police chiefs of these cities would have administrative and financial powers of the head of an attached department according to the Police Order 2002, he said.

The law provided for the appointment of a capital city police officer (CCPO) in Lahore not below the rank of an additional IGP and a city police officer in the remaining four cities not below the rank of a DIG.

In Lahore, the government had recently appointed an additional IGP as the CCPO. It had also appointed two other additional IGPs in BS-21 as CPOs of Faisalabad and Multan against the law.

According to the official, after the notification, the police in the capital city and the other four cities would function as independent units. The IGP would have mere operational control over them as he could only advance policy guidelines. He would, nevertheless, have powers to form rules for the police.

The rest of the province would be under his command which would include regions and small cities that would continue to be headed by DPOs.

Transfers and postings in the capital city and the city districts would not be made under the IGP. This would be done by the provincial government in consultation with their heads -– the CCPO and the CPOs.

Transfer of officers and officials of all ranks from one city district to another or from the capital city to any city district, and/or from these places to the rest of the province would also be made by the provincial government through the home department.

The IGP would continue to wield powers of an appellate authority in case of punishments by the CCPO or the CPOs. But the final authority would lay with the home department, the official said.

The CCPO and the CPOs would make their own budgets and have administrative system like that of the IGP office.

The official said the notifications had led to the real implementation of the police order. So far it had been implemented to the extent of wriggling out of the clutches of the bureaucracy, and having more budget and more senior posts.

The notification was meant for moving towards local policing which had been successful everywhere in the world, he said.

According to the official, the new regions having more than 10,000-man force would have BS-21 police officers as the regional police officers and those having less force would have DIGs in BS-20 as their heads.