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December 6, 2018

South police visit schools to brief students, teachers on security measures


December 6, 2018

In order to strengthen bonding between the police and community, officials of the Karachi police, especially the District South police, have started visiting schools to discuss matters related to security and take the teachers, students and school staff into confidence about safety measures taken by the police.

District South Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Pir Mohammad Shah and Clifton SP Suhai Aziz have visited several schools recently. They interacted with teachers and students and guided them regarding safety measures that should be taken during any untoward incident. Students were told that they should consider police force as their friends. The officers also made the students aware about emergency phone numbers and road safety precautionary measures.

It is also pertinent to mention here that District South has formed a division for school safety to work in liaison with the management of schools, teachers and students. The SSD will advise the schools’ management on security and will coordinate with them in emergency situations.

The Karachi police had also earlier issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for security at the schools, colleges and universities; however, a large number of educational institutes have yet to adopt the SOP. Karachi Additional IG Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh also expressed concern over inadequate security at the educational institutes and directed his subordinates to hold meetings to resolve the issue.

Standard operating procedure

The SOP read: “Raise the concrete boundary wall from eight to 10 feet, fix concertina wire on the two-foot angled iron grill above the boundary wall so nobody could jump over the wall, and have three gates, one of them being the emergency gate manned by three to four professional guards on a 24-hour basis.”

The educational institutes were also directed to Install CCTV cameras along the boundary wall and inside the premises on strategic points to monitor movements of any suspicious person. The CCTV system was also supposed to have the requisite video analytics to detect any intrusion, raise an audio and visual alarm and recordings of at least 15 days.

The schools, colleges and varsities were directed to construct watchtowers along their boundary wall to retaliate effectively in case of any security emergency.

The police also told the educational institutes to display the mobile phone and landline numbers of the SDPO and SHO concerned at prominent places and ensure that they are updated so that in case of emergency, anyone on the premises may contact the police.

The SOP also required that every educational institute nominate an officer to look after the security arrangements. The institutes were also to ensure a telephone connection at their main gate so that guards could inform the police themselves in an emergency situation without waiting for the security officer or the principal.

The educational institutes were also told to install walkthrough gates at all the entry points. There should be a centralised announcement system through which the security officer could establish contact with classrooms, hostel, mess, library and hall.

Educational institutes were directed to arrange walkie-talkie sets for communication between security guards and security officers, besides an intercom that would connect security staff at the main gate with the security officer and principal.

The SOP required security guards at the educational institutes to conduct a visual anti-sabotage check of the entire premises before the students arrived in the morning. The footpath in front of the school, the area along the boundary wall and the parking lot were also to be checked to detect any suspicious object lying unattended.

For the principal, teachers and students to alert the security staff in case of any contingency, a suitable alarm system was to be installed connecting all the gates with a central point inside. The alarm must also have the feature of getting automatically activated if any vehicle or unauthorised character crashes into the gate or someone tries to scale the wall.

The educational institutes were also directed to ensure that there was proper illumination along with the perimeter so that nobody could jump over the wall at night. In case of kidnapping of a child, guards at the main gate or the security officer were directed to immediately inform the police and give a proper description of the vehicle such as its colour and model so that the police could initiate snap-checking to catch the vehicle.

Students and teachers were advised that In case of any intrusion, they should immediately inform the police and stay back in their rooms while those outside should rush to the nearest room, close the door and lie down to escape indiscriminate firing. Security guards should rush from their positions with keys of to open the gates to safely send the children outside as and when possible.

The SOP also included instructions about parents as news of untoward incidents at the educational institutes generally spread very fast and parents would then rush to the schools in panic. In order to ensure that parents did not rush to school and create obstructions in the subsequent operations by the police and Rangers, they needed to be informed to come to a pre-determined place close to the school. This could only be possible if the school management had a system having the mobile numbers of all the parents of children in a centralised database.

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