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February 2, 2019

Police force for Fata facing acute shortage of seniors

National

February 2, 2019

PESHAWAR: Already facing crisis-like situation due to acute shortage of officers in senior grades, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police is going to move into seven more districts of the erstwhile Fata as well as six Frontier Regions and one district of Pata, a source said on Friday.

The force will need more officers, at least 30 percent of the already sanctioned seats for senior cops, while moving into the tribal areas. The positions in the junior ranks are to be filled by inducting the personnel of the Levies and Khassadar force already working in the merged districts.

"For the senior positions, the force will need more officers of the Police Service of Pakistan from grade-17 to grade-20. Though the KP Police through the provincial government has requested time and again for transferring more senior officers to the province, it is yet to get the required cops for the merged districts and other towns," a source told The News.

The source said the bosses at the Central Police Office were looking for options, including posting junior officers as district police officers, SP Investigation and SPs and SSPs in other wings of the force after moving into the erstwhile Fata. The process of deploying cops in the tribal areas is likely to start in the next few weeks.

The acute shortage of officers in all senior grades, from grade-18 to grade-21, can be gauged from the fact that the Central Police Office mentioned it in at least three of its letters sent to the concerned quarters in December 2018 alone.

A large number of junior policemen have been posted on senior positions due to the dearth of officers in upper grades. "A letter of the DIG Headquarters at the Central Police Office to the secretary Home and Tribal Affairs in mid-December stated the force has sanctioned five positions of Additional IGPs in grade-21 and they do not have a single officer in the required grade," a source said.

The source added that the letter also mentioned that there were 19 sanctioned positions of the Police Service of Pakistan in KP in grade-20, 35 positions in grade-19 and 54 in grade-18. There is shortage of three officers in grade-20, 21 officers in grade-19 and 15 officers in grade-18, it added.

A number of officers have managed their posting out of the province in recent months due to one or the other reason. Hardly a few have reported to the province in recent months.

Due to the shortage of officers, some deputy inspectors general (DIGs) of police in grade-20 are posted as Additional IGPs, which is a grade-21 position. Besides, a number of grade-19 officers are working as DIGs, which is a grade 20 position. The same is the case with SPs, DSPs and other junior grades.

The police authorities had to approve a policy a few months back to post grade-17 deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) as DPOs due to non-availability of cops in the required grades.

The provincial police authorities on a number of occasions had asked the federal government through the KP government to declare the province a 'Hard Area' like Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan so that police officers in senior grades were posted here for a mandatory term.

Senior officers have to serve for a certain mandatory period in 'Hard Area' to meet the criteria for posting to top grades. A large number of senior officers were transferred to Balochistan in the last many years after the province was awarded the status of 'Hard Area'.

The source pointed out that it was a test case for the ruling PTI now that it was running the federal government to accept the genuine demand of the party's government in KP and the KP Police.

"We have written letters to the government for transferring more officers to the province, especially when we are moving into the erstwhile Fata and taking over more districts. We especially need officers in the rank of SSP and SP for Fata," KP Police Director Public Relations, Waqar Ahmad told The News when asked as to what steps had been taken to meet the shortage of officers in the KP Police.