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January 6, 2015

Sindh police chalk out plan to protect schools


January 6, 2015

In light of heightened threats at the educational institutes of the province, the Sindh police on Thursday shared details of a special contingency plan that includes increased security measures such as screening of staff members and security personnel, installation of CCTV cameras, higher boundary walls and relocation of parking areas.
Moreover, dedicated assault teams will be constituted at the zonal and district levels, while search operations would be conducted in the vicinity of institutes facing threats. The steps are being taken in the wake of a Taliban attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in which over 140 people, most of them children, were killed.
Speaking to The News, Sindh police spokesman Moizuddin Peerzada said extensive discussions were held over security plans for educational institutes in a high-level meeting chaired by Inspector General Ghulam Haider Jamali.
City police chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo, Karachi’s zonal Deputy Inspectors General (DIGs) and DIG Special Branch Naeem Akram Bharoka attended the meeting, with Bharoka submitting a comprehensive report regarding the current security situation.
In his report, Bharoka suggested that security at schools and colleges should be categorised according to threat sensitivity but IGP Jamali advised that the classification should be based upon possible threats and targets or specific information.

SOP issued
According to Peerzada, the IGP had called for a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be finalised and implemented before January 11. The meeting participants, he said, had completed their workings in this regard and the SOP was finalised after discussions.
“The SOP has been issued to all educational institutes of the province. One of its main features is that schools have been advised to relocate their parking areas at a safe distance from the premises. Similarly, only authorised vehicles and personnel should be allowed to their

grounds,” he said.
He added that the zonal DIGs informed Jamali that all SHOs have been issued specific instructions and were preparing lists of all institutions within their jurisdiction. “Once they are identified, we can work on increasing security with the resources available,” he said. The managements of all institutes have been instructed to increase the height of their perimeter walls and install CCTV systems at their respective institutes. Moreover, they have been advised to tighten screening procedure for staff members and security guards in coordination with area SHOs.

Search operations
Peerzada said the zonal DIGs also spoke of plans to form dedicated Counter Assault Teams (CATs) to deal with any attacks. “Under the Disaster Response Program, CATs are being constituted at the zonal and district level to deal with any emergencies.
The teams will comprise police commandos who have been specifically trained in response strategies and emergency evacuation plans,” he said.
The spokesman added that IGP Jamali ordered that operations against terror and criminal elements must be expedited. “Proactive policing remains the key to avert any unfortunate incidents, therefore, we have to improve our intelligence gathering and response mechanism,” he said, quoting the IGP.
As for institutions that have been receiving threat calls, district SSPs were told to conduct thorough search operations in their vicinities.

Zone-specific measures
DIG West Tahir Naveed told The News there were nearly 2,500 schools, colleges and universities under his jurisdiction, all of whom had been issued copies of the SoP in both Urdu and English.
He said the managements of these institutes had been briefed over the possible threats and added that response forces had been set up for immediate assistance.
Similarly, DIG East Munir Sheikh said the managements of the nearly 2,000 educational institutes, which include the NED University and University of Karachi, within his limits had received the SOP finalised by law enforcers.
He said teams have been formed under the direct supervision of SSPs to review security measures at schools, colleges and universities. DIG Sheikh said the administrations have been directed to inform the police regarding measures they undertake such as installation of CCTV systems and screening of staff.
“All SHOs of the area have been told to increase patrolling near the institutions, particularly in the morning and afternoon rush hours. We have also made it clear that no vehicle should be allowed to park near or around the institutes,” he said.
DIG South Abdul Khalique Sheikh, meanwhile, said that he had divided schools into three categories; defence forces schools, missionary schools and high-profile schools, particularly girls’ colleges.
He said meetings were held with the administrations and assured that all possible efforts would be made to protect their institutes.

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