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December 18, 2016

I have failed to reform Thana culture, admits IGP


December 18, 2016

AD Khowaja says people will trust policemen when the latter feel the former’s pain

AD Khowaja admitted on Saturday that while he had made efforts to improve the police department since being appointed the Sindh police chief, he had failed to improve how cops behave with the common man.

IGP Khowaja was the chief guest at a seminar on Improving Service Delivery & Public Dealing at Police Station that was organised by Karachi police chief AIG Mushtaq Mehar, and was attended by officials of the Sindh police as well as representatives of the business community and the legal fraternity.

Sindh’s top cop said eight months had passed since he was appointed the IGP, adding that he wished to inform everyone of his achievements and failures in trying to serve the police department, the province and the city.

“I have done a number of things to put things right in the department during this brief time – recruitments, promotions, compensations and seniority cases. But I feel I couldn’t make any changes or improvements at all in the treatment meted out to people at police stations.”

He lamented that people were being treated in the same manner at police stations, adding that complaints against police behaviour were more or less the same as they were before he took over.

He said he had called on DIG South Azad Khan and other associates to mull over the issue and formulate a strategy to improve the culture prevalent at police stations.

“I think we should conduct seminars on this issue at every level and invite people from diverse walks of life to share their points of view. Viewpoints of policemen deputed at different police stations should also be heard because they are equal stakeholders in this matter.”

He advised inviting head moharrars (head clerks) and SHOs as well because they were an integral part of the same chain of system that needed to be set right.

“My own point of view is that the foundation of an institution should be set right. For this the most important step that needs to be taken is posting the right man for the right job.”

Moreover, he added, the perception regarding policemen or the police service could only be improved if the public was able to develop confidence in cops.

“We can win the trust of the people only when we are able to make them believe that we share their pain equally and are willing to help them.”

He said the police department was at the forefront of the criminal justice system. “There have been several complaints of street crimes, but I want to know how many people are willing to go to a police station to lodge their complaints and to pursue their cases in courts until the culprits are punished.”

He lamented that even after culprits were apprehended, the police work was shoddy at best and a few months down the line the detainees were freed to resume their criminal activities.

“The prevailing lack of confidence among the public concerning the criminal justice system of the country is a big question mark on our performance. To rectify the entire system we need to merge together the jail system, the police system and the judicial system, and view them as a whole.”

Earlier, DIG Azad Khan had told the participants of the seminar that improving the police service and public dealing was possible through revising and upgrading the course content, improving the infrastructure at police training centres and hiring trained experts from the Pakistan Army, as well as offering monetary incentives for police trainers with the allocation of training charges for the external faculty.

He also advised establishing specialised police training schools, increasing manpower, procuring modern equipment, conducting merit-based recruitments, ensuring merit-based and timely promotions, making the process of procuring equipment transparent, launching welfare initiatives and, especially, implementing the new police law.

He also stressed creating specialised IT cadres, and installing CCTV cameras, criminal record management systems, police station record management systems, human resources management systems and complaint management systems.

He was also in favour of upgrading installations of police vehicle trackers and establishing modern reporting centres at police stations with separate women reporting desks.

Other services that needed improvement according to him included police facilitation centres, upgrading and partial outsourcing of Madadgar 15 with training and capacity building, structural reforms, technology-led policing, and public facilitation and community engagement.

Other participants of the seminar also shared their views and suggestions that were appreciated and accepted by the police heads.