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The fact that police is under-strength has been brought to committee’s knowledge by officers who said it made the force’s primary task of combating crime difficult.– File Photo

HYDERABAD: The Sindh Assembly standing committee on home affairs has finalised its report on police reforms and issues relating to law and order in the house.

Some of the conclusions the committee has drawn during its findings pertain to de-politicisation of police and suggest that performance of ranker police officers is a little better than PSP (Police Services of Pakistan) officers.

The 11-member committee is headed by MPA Anwar Mahar. It was formed in 2009 when he moved a motion on worsening the law and order situation in the assembly. It has assessed in detail police-related issues in the province.

The committee met civil society leaders, PSP officers and former judges like Nasir Aslam Zahid and others. Its members visited various districts and regional police headquarters.

It has examined the issues, flaws and possible remedies to reform provincial police force.

It is learnt that committee is now revising its report that is to be submitted in Sindh Assembly probably in its next session.

The fact that police is under-strength has been brought to committee’s knowledge by officers who said it made the force’s primary task of combating crime difficult.

The members were informed about colonial-era policing in the region when a police station used to be set up on vast areas.

They would house residence of the SHO and his force. But it is not the case now, although tribal clashes in upper Sindh are a perennial problem.

Sindh police are faced with basic issue of salaries that make them vulnerable to bribery. This point is to be discussed in comparison with salary structure of Motorway police.

“Even dacoits have more sophisticated weapons than police, yet they are expected to fight criminals,” said a member.

Education, training and health of policemen are core issues which must be looked into by the government to get desired results from police force in the province.

“Politicisation has crept into the department and is eating the very force. It is reflective from transfers and postings of police officers that are done under political influence. There has to be a tenure fixed for a police officer with no political involvement there. From the SHO to SSP, all officers, have to be independent in their working,” said a committee-related source.

The department needs reasonable budgetary allocations and is not organised along true professional lines. “With the result that the money that is currently being invested in them is going down the drain,” he said.

The committee members have also noted that the experience of posting PSP officers has not given desired results. “We came to know that rankers give more output then PSP officers. The latter even do not venture out of their offices while rankers at least visit the sites,” the source said.

The rankers have a complaint that PSP officers seek to keep them under pressure of their position.

The committee has also looked into working of special branch and was briefed that it has nothing to do with crime detection. It is merely associated with VVIP protocol duty or escorting foreigners to monitor their activities in the province.

The committee also tried to get details of policing in United Kingdom and India. “In a nutshell we have seen that Sindh’s police remain under strength, under-paid and under resourced,” observed a member.

PSP officers pointed out to the committee members that police need institutionalisation to make it a vibrant force, otherwise its authority will keep on eroding. Some suggested that a separate security wing has become essential to take care of protocol duties and leave crime combating exclusively for operational wing of police.

Advanced training courses for SHOs, inspectors and head constables are required for better training. The courses will lead to capacity building of the force.

Inspectors must be imparted advanced training to make them realise that they are answerable to courts even in petty affairs, thus they must know how to respond to a judge in civil, session and high courts.

The committee members were told that there should be a centralised training institution for Sindh police to avoid financial burden on the government.

The committee was informed that Rs47.35 per day per vehicle is being spent for 772 vehicles of Hyderabad zone that has nine districts while present price of diesel is Rs56.21 per litre and police mobiles are supposed to be on patrolling or other duties almost round the clock.

A comparison was given to committee between Punjab’s Rahim Yar Khan district and Sindh police. In former’s case medical allowance, TA/DA, Eid package, gas charges, hot and cold water, financial assistance, uniform stitching are given which is not available to the latter.

Operational budget of Hyderabad district is Rs76.659 million against Rahim Yar Khan’s Rs127.435 million with respective strengths of 3,423 and 2,531 policemen, the committee was told.

Welfare schemes for policemen like Sindh Police Cadet College are necessary to enable children of policemen get quality education, it was told.

Practice of posting of junior policemen in place of senior should be curbed as seniors are awaiting posting while juniors are working as DSP, SP and SSPs on ad hoc basis, the committee was told.