The recently appointed Karachi police chief held his first media briefing on Saturday and, among other policies, disclosed his plans to curb street crime in the metropolis, which includes a dedicated WhatsApp number where citizens can easily file their complaints.
Additional Inspector General of Police (Addl IGP) Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh said his plans for the city include ensuring a respectful relationship between law enforcers and citizens, as the latter usually have to face difficulties in registering their complaints, which then rarely yield any results.
To redress this situation, Dr Shaikh plans to set up a help desk that would be manned by an officer of the inspector or sub-inspector rank, who would inform the complainants on the day-to-day development of their respective cases.
He has also dedicated the mobile number 0343-5142770 for citizens to file their respective complaints on the WhatsApp messenger app regarding different crimes, especially street crime, so that immediate action could be taken.
Citizens are advised to also send footage of criminal offences captured on their mobile phones as well as register complaints about police officials’ errant behaviour.
The Addl IGP admitted that the biggest challenge he faces as the city’s police chief is street crime, but he vowed that the law enforcement agency would rid the metropolis of this menace very soon.
In this regard he had conducted a meeting at his office with deputy inspectors general (DIGs), including Security DIG Maqsood Memon, and other subordinates, who briefed him about the current situation in their respective jurisdictions.
The city police chief directed them to update the list of criminals involved in different crimes, including absconders and proclaimed offenders as well as those who were recently bailed out and had returned to committing crimes. He plans to launch a grand operation against them.
The officer said the Karachi police conduct 10 to 15 encounters a day on an average, but the arrested criminals are bailed out after a few weeks and return to a life of crime due to the negligence of the investigation staff.
To address this issue, he met with the heads of the investigation department and decided to devise a policy by making some changes in investigations, such as trying to expedite the entire process and increasing the rate of conviction, which is very low at present.
In response to a question regarding street crime, Dr Shaikh admitted that every new police chief has his own policies and vision, and that his predecessors had succeeded in their respective missions.
He cited the example of the Karachi of the past that was riddled with lawlessness, with daily reports of kidnappings for ransom, target killings and extortion cases.
However, he said that today the picture is quite different, as the major issue that has been plaguing the metropolis since the past few months is street crime, but he has formulated some policies to curb the menace.
As part of his initial plans, on Saturday he inducted 50 vehicles with policemen from the Special Security Unit; they were directly linked with the Madadgar-15 service of the Karachi police and shall also patrol the checkpoints where street crime is reported on a daily basis.
He informed the media that the police department has adopted extra security measures for Independence Day, with the deployment of 13,000 personnel throughout the city, including 1,000 for Sea View alone and over 500 more for the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
He said they have also consulted with the traffic police for ensuring smooth flow of traffic on Independence Day and its eve in view of the expected rush at Sharea Faisal, amusement parks and Sea View, for which the city’s law enforcers would assist the traffic police.
Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar was transferred and Dr Shaikh appointed the new police chief for the city in his place by Sindh police chief Amjad Javed Saleemi on Wednesday.
A notification issued by the Sindh Police Department stated that in exercise of the authority conferred by a Sindh High Court judgment, Mahar, a BS-21 officer of the Police Service of Pakistan, had been transferred as Addl IGP of Karachi Range and directed to report to the Central Police Office, Karachi.
Another notification said Dr Shaikh, a BS-21 officer of the Police Service of Pakistan, who was posted as
Finance, Logistic & Welfare Addl IGP, had been transferred and made with
immediate effect and until further orders Karachi’s police chief.
Shaikh has served in key positions throughout the province and is known for his swift actions as DIG South and Karachi’s DIG Traffic. As Karachi traffic police chief, he had managed to improve the performance of the force by getting traffic laws implemented as well as by introducing an Electronic Traffic Ticketing System.
Dr Shaikh told The News earlier that he wished to upgrade the police helpline Madadgar-15, for which he would ask the government for motorcycles with tracking devices so that whenever any mugging incident is reported by a citizen, the Madadgar-15 Centre operator would be able to immediately locate the official deployed at a nearby location and tell him to respond accordingly. He was confident that by this practice street crime would be controlled to a large extent.
He said that being the Karachi police chief he would assist the traffic police, especially during rush hours, to ensure smooth traffic flow for the public. He added that in view of Eidul Azha he had convened a law and order meeting in which he would ask his subordinates to brief him about the necessary measures they had taken for the security of citizens.
During the Eid holidays, he said, a situation of rush would be witnessed at recreational spots, including Sea View and Aladin Amusement Park, so he would be concentrating on the security situation and would direct police officials to adopt extra security measures to avert any untoward situation.