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October 14, 2019

Senior, junior police officials differ over proposed reforms


October 14, 2019

PESHAWAR: The senior officers are not happy with some of the proposed reforms but the junior ones believe that financial autonomy to the station house officers (SHOs) would help improve policing, a source told The News.

The federal government has proposed reforms in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Police and has sought comments from the officials concerned in the two provinces. Under the proposed reforms, the SHOs will have financial autonomy. Presently, the police stations get funds from the police lines.

Many junior policemen said the SHOs have to arrange money from ‘own resources’ for running the affairs of the police station as they didn’t get enough funds. “The district police officer needs to post an upright and competent cop as SHO and give him financial autonomy as well as respect and powers to maintain law and order. Then the seniors can hold the SHO accountable if he doesn’t perform well or is found involved in any irregularity or wrongdoing,” a junior police officer requesting anonymity told The News.

He added that most of the SHOs only got salaries, 10-litre fuel per official vehicle per day for patrolling and in some cases payment for bills. “Some of the registers are provided but it takes a lot of time to get it printed from the government press when you send the demand. The rest of the funds are arranged by the SHO from his resources. This is why most of the competent and honest policemen don’t want to be posted as head of any police station since they cannot arrange money for the official affairs,” said another junior official.

Officials have claimed on several occasions that the SHOs are given fuel, stationery and funds for utility bills, including gas, electricity and telephone.

“However, it depends on the head of the district police as to whether he provides all the stuff to the police station smoothly or asks the SHO to arrange things on his own. The lack of funds allows the corrupt SHOs to mint money from smugglers, land mafia and other groups to run the police station,” said the source.

He continued that policemen enjoying good reputation mostly shied away from being posted as SHOs while the rest feel obliged for being posted as SHO and don’t complain about lack of funds. He added the repair, renovation and other affairs are mostly run by the SHO from his own ‘resources’.

“Some district police officers in KP and capital city police officers in Peshawar spent sufficient amounts on police stations and provided funds to SHOs for running their affairs during their tenure,” said the source.

However, he added that mostly SHOs didn’t get enough funds to run all the affairs of the police stations and buy fuel for patrol cars, entertain a large number of people and guests coming daily or arrange the ‘Khuli Kutchehri’, public liaison committee meetings, visits of bosses and other affairs.

He said many police stations needed more patrol cars for which they used case property vehicles with the consent of the seniors but they don’t get fuel for it.

The spokesman for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police said the force was ready to give financial autonomy to SHO but for that, the laws were being amended.

“For the purpose, the SHOs have to be given the powers of drawing and disbursing officer (DDO). The act needs to be amended for the purpose as they are in grade-14, which is junior for DDO. They also need to be trained to run the affairs well,” said the spokesman.

He added that every police station in the province is given fuel, funds for utility bills, stationery and all the required stuff. “They are given all the funds, bills and stationery. Yes, if they don’t claim something, including the cost of the investigation or else, how would the bosses know about it?” asked the spokesman.

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