LAHORE: Heavy deployment on VVIP movement and protocol duties have forced the city police authorities to spare only 40 per cent of its strength for the security of around 10 million population of the provincial capital.
The performance of 10,600 personnel available for crime prevention and detection is evident from the fact that total reported crimes increased from 10,457 cases in first 11 months of 2010 to 12,591 cases in the same period in 2011, registering an increase of 17 per cent. The detection ratio of heinous crimes also remained below 60 per cent during the period under review.
Of the total 26,330 strength of the Lahore police, 15,730 personnel are engaged in VVIP duties, protocol, escort and ancillary regular/temporary deployment, official statistics available with Dawn reveal.
Out of the remaining 10,600 personnel, 7,000 belong to the operations wing and 3,600 to the investigations wing.
Of the 15,730, as many 1,200 policemen are with the Security Division, 1,600 with Mujahid Squad, 850 with the Flying Squad, 975 Elite Force and 9,000 are at the disposal of the Headquarters SP.
Around 350 policewomen and 2,300 auxiliary staff (security branch, training courses,) are also at the disposal of the Lahore police.
Of the 900 vehicles, at least 200 are reserved for the VVIP duties, 178 are with the police stations and the remaining vehicles are either with senior police officers or at workshops.
Of the 9,000 personnel available with Headquarters SP at Qilla Gujjar Singh Police Lines, services of around 2,500 gunmen have been placed at the disposal of politicians, judges, bureaucrats, police officers, religious leaders, media persons and other notables.
Among the beneficiaries are relatives of some politicians belonging to all provinces and the federal territories. Of the 2,500 gunmen, around 1,000 are engaged with retired and serving police officers (from the rank of DSP to IGP), 800 with politicians and the remaining with other notables.
At least 3,000 out of the 9,000 personnel are available for law and order duties while the rest are engaged with VVIPs.
Up to 150 personnel guard Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s residence (189-Y Defence Housing Authority) in three shifts and 1,200 personnel of the Security Division guard offices and residences of PML-N president Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
The Flying Squad consisting of 800 officials and headed by an SP is regularly deployed on routes used by VVIPs in routine.
Out of the total 975, only 160 Elite commandoes are available for counter-terrorism operations and high-profile raids on criminals while the remaining ones are deployed for the security of VIPs.
These 160 personnel are also used for security duties of prime minister, chief minister and a high-profile figure from the judiciary.
Of the 67 Elite vehicles, only 14 are available for operational duties while the rest are reserved for protocol duties.
Similarly, 150 of the 1,600 officials of the Mujahid Squad meant for responding to Rescue-15 calls are permanently reserved for escorting VVIPs.
Out of 100 vehicles of the squad, 89 are currently operational, 14 of those are with regular squads while 30 others are reserved for daily VVIP movement.
Of 1,500 motorcycles available with the Lahore police, around 400 are reserved with the police stations and Mujahid Squad for patrolling and official duties while the rest are at the disposal of VVIPs, police officers and their offices.
Not less than 125 motorcycles of the Lahore police are at the disposal of Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
Statistics further show that approximately 40 per cent of the total petroleum allowances allocated to the Lahore police is being consumed for VVIP duties.
A senior police official, who spoke to Dawn on condition of anonymity, said the capital city police had been able to retrieve only 350 policemen and not more than 15 vehicles from VVIPs and police officers.
He said considerable police deployment on other than prevention of crime and detection/investigation were not only causing unusual increase in crime graph but also enhancing trust deficit between the police and public.
Citing example of killing of Hadyara SHO Muhammad Arshad at the hands of a violent mob on Saturday, he said that had the SHO reached the troubled spot with sufficient force, the miscreants would not have been able to kill him.
He said the presence of only three officials with the SHO at the scene proved the assertion that Lahore police stations were facing dearth of personnel and equipment.
He said that in the federal capital, a separate security and protocol division had been constituted to do the needful and the entire police of the operations and investigations wings had been exempted from performing any protocol duty or deployment on any VVIP movement.
Despite constitution of separate security division and a flying squad in capital city police of Lahore, personnel of local police stations were also engaged in performing VVIP duties at the cost of life and property of citizens.