Concerned about the low investigation rate, Sindh’s police chief will request the provincial government to increase the budget of the investigation branch. Meanwhile, the government has sought details from senior police officers to formulate the Witness Protection Rule.
According to officials, IGP Ghulam Nabi Memon recently held a meeting with his subordinates to review the progress of the investigation branch as well as the steps taken to make the witness protection programme functional.
The IGP has decided to increase the salaries of the investigation police, saying that the investigating officers have to work at the investigation branch for three years. He also decided to make the investigation police a separate cadre.
He said expert investigators will be appointed for murder and other serious cases. He also said the government will be asked for Rs100,000 as the cost of investigation in cases of murder and kidnapping for ransom.
He added that 50 per cent of the cost will be paid to the IO in advance, while the remaining half will be paid on the completion of the case. He pointed out that all the expenses for DNA tests and post-mortem examinations will be paid to the IO.
The IGP also formed a committee chaired by the CIA DIG to examine the rules of the investigation police. Memon was informed that it is difficult to take a truck carrying 50 tonnes of hashish to the court for every appearance, and presenting case property to the IO in court.
The police chief assured the meeting that the matter will be discussed with the provincial government so that changes can be made in the relevant laws.
Moreover, IOs will be given digital training so they can update their cases on a daily basis, and every officer who brings their case to a logical conclusion will be rewarded.
According to officials, the IGP has formed four committees supervised by DIGs to go through the rules and other aspects, including the Criminal Procedure Code, and suggest changes for upgrading the investigation department.
The first committee will determine which officer will investigate murder cases and on what grounds, as well as who will investigate vehicle thefts and other street crimes.
The second committee will ascertain what increase will be made in the investigation cost of the cases, like providing 50 per cent cost for utilisation in the investigation, including autopsies and forensic exams, while the rest will be awarded to the officer on getting a conviction in the case.
The third committee will suggest the rules to establish the investigation branch as a separate cadre, including how much force and budget will be needed, so that the government can be asked to form it later. The fourth committee will focus on modern technology, like how to digitise the investigation department with modern tools and gadgets, and its utilisation and training.
The Sindh government has planned to table the Witness Protection Rule in the provincial assembly, for which it has sought suggestions from senior police officers.
Under this new law, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or content, a chief witness protection officer is the person nominated for the designation through this law. For the purpose of the law, any such person admitted to the programme will be known as a “witness”.
Any person who has witnessed or has knowledge or information on the commission of a crime and has testified or is testifying or about to testify before any judicial or quasi-judicial body or before any investigating authority may be admitted into the witness protection programme.
The conditions that qualify a witness for the programme include an offence in which his testimony will be used is a crime or its equivalent under special laws; his testimony can be substantially corroborated in its material points; he or any member of his family within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity is subjected to threats to his life or bodily injury or there is a likelihood that he will be killed, forced, intimidated, harassed or corrupted to prevent him from testifying or to testify falsely or evasively because or on account of his testimony; and he is not a law enforcement officer, even if he would be testifying against other law enforcement officers.
In case of legislative investigations in aid of legislation, a witness, with his express consent, may be admitted into the programme upon the recommendation of the legislative body where his testimony is needed when in its judgment there is a pressing necessity, therefore, such recommendation is approved by the authority, as the case may be.
Agreement with witness
Before a person is provided protection, he will first execute a memorandum of agreement that will set forth his responsibilities, including to testify before and provide information to all appropriate law enforcement officials concerned at all appropriate proceedings in connection with or arising from the activities involved in the offence charged; to avoid the commission of the crime; to take all necessary precautions to avoid detection by others of the facts concerning the protection provided him; to comply with legal obligations and civil judgments against him; to cooperate with respect to all reasonable requests of officers and employees of the government who are providing protection; and to regularly inform the appropriate programme official of his current activities and address, the said official to be appointed by the chief witness protection officer.
Breach of agreement
A substantial breach of the agreement will be grounds for the termination of the protection provided. However, before terminating the protection, the authority will send notice to the person involved of the termination of the protection provided, stating therein the reason for the termination.
All proceedings involving the application for admission into the programme and the action taken thereon will be confidential in nature. No information or documents given or submitted in support thereof will be released except upon written order of the authority or the proper court. Any person who violates the confidentiality of the said proceedings will upon conviction be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but no more than six years and deprivation of the right to hold a public office or employment for a period of five years.