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October 14, 2019

SHOs and SDPOs being selected on merit, claims city police chief


October 14, 2019

The police high-ups are trying to end nepotism in the police force while efforts are being made to bring reforms in the investigation department, which includes its separation from the operations branch to ensure that no criminal gets the benefit of the doubt.

The Karachi police chief, Additional IG Ghulam Nabi Memon, said this as he was interviewed by The News. Commenting on the rising street crime in the city, he said he had held a special meeting on the law and order situation, especially street crime in the city, which was attended by all the DIGs, SSPs and other officials, during which he directed the police to maintain law and order in Karachi and fulfil their responsibilities.

The police will not be reluctant to offer any sacrifice and also will not allow the sacrifices of martyrs go in vain, he said. To a query, Addl IG Memon said 60 per cent of crime was committed by drug addicts and several of them had been arrested during the last nine months. Citing statistics, he said the police had detected 4,600 crime cases during the nine months and arrested several suspects, especially street criminals and dacoits, and also seized a large amount of narcotics from their possession.

The officer said most of such criminals who were addicted to narcotics were hired by drug lords who provided them weapons to commit crimes.

When asked about weaknesses in police investigations that often led to the release of criminals in a short span of time, Addl IG Memon said a major problem in this regard was that many of the citizens refused to became witnesses in the cases or refused to lodge an FIR and this all benefitted criminals.

He also highlighted another major issue that was the unavailability of chemical laboratories in Sindh. To prosecute most of the suspects who were arrested under the Section 6 of the Narcotics Substance Act, the investigation branch has to submit a chemical report before the court of law but due to unavailability of any laboratory in Sindh, it helps criminals obtain bail, he added.

The city police chief explained that there was a laboratory in Punjab but sending samples to it was a lengthy procedure. He added that the police had requested the government to establish a chemical laboratory in Sindh.

Police reforms

Addl IG Memon said he had decided to separate the investigation branch from the police stations, for which 25 posts had been created for deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) and each DSP would look after four police stations. He added that the police wanted to speed up the investigation procedure and assure that no criminal shall get the benefit of the doubt.

To another query, the officer replied that no incumbent SHO was asked to appear in the test for the selection of new SHOs, however, a few had appeared in the test on their own and were told to return.

He said shifting of SHOs from one police station to another was allowed in the scheme and that was done in the Gulshan and Al-Falah police stations and others. However, he explained that if an SHO was removed under corruption charges, he had no chance to become the SHO in any other police station.

For the selection of sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), the only criterion was passing the interview, the city police chief said, adding that the candidates would have to appear before a board that would select or fail them. He explained that the same procedure was witnessed on last Friday and those who were declared pass in the interview were posted accordingly.

Shedding light on the wisdom behind the selection process, Addl IG Memon said, “I don’t want that any police officer takes decision in his individual capacity for posting of SHO and SDPO. In this scheme, seven senior police officers are taking decision instead of one and they carry out objective assessment of the officer.”

He went on to say that the scheme had stopped ‘Sifarish’ culture and enabled the selection of such candidates who had good background, integrity and performance. This scheme is very popular in the force as around 600 candidates for SHO and 14 for SDPO have appeared before the board. Those who are selected feel that they have been chosen on merit and without any ‘Sifarish’, due to which they have great self-respect and their performance is better than an ordinary police officer, the city police chief remarked.

“A board comprising me and six DIGs was constituted who examined around 600 officers of the rank of inspectors and sub-inspectors,” he said, adding that each member of the board was asked to give his individual assessment for each candidate in the shape of marks on the two criteria of performance and integrity.

It was also ensured that members of the board did not know what marks other members were awarding to candidates. The board members would also have to explain the reason for giving high or low marks to a candidate if their marks did not match with the average marks awarded by other members of the board, he said.

Those who secured 60 per cent average marks were declared successful and asked to appear in a written test, in which they were asked five questions in a sealed envelope that were picked up from around 200 questions prepared for the examination. There and then these selected five questions were announced and candidates were asked to give answers in one hour.

Five young officers of the rank of SP were given one question each to check that too in front of candidates and the result of papers was announced there and then, after which only 66 candidates were qualified for the final test, Addl IG Memon said. He asserted that nobody was given any favour.

We will carry out the selection of the next batch as soon as candidates of this list are exhausted, he said, adding that his objective of having this system was that he and his other senior officers should have no authority to take individual decisions to post SHOs.