The graph of registered crime in the city has lately shown an upward swing. Just who will accept the responsibility for it?
The recent wave of violence and street crime has shaken the public trust in law enforcement agencies, chiefly the police. Questions are being raised with regard to their capability and capacity to provide effective security to the citizens’ life and property.
The attempt on the life of the opposition member of the provincial assembly, Bilal Yasin, last week in broad daylight, which followed the curious escape of over a dozen under-trial prisoners from the Model Town Court lockups and the ignominious incident of harassment at Minar-i-Pakistan, has created a sense of fear among the masses.
Many a question awaits answers. Whether the common perception about the poor performance of the police is true or not? Also, as in the case of the assassination attempt on the PML-N MPA, was it an act of terrorism, and could there be more of such incidents in the future, at least till the next general election?
Insofar as Bilal Yasin’s case is concerned, the MPA has said on record that he has no personal enmity with anyone. The police are still clueless about the criminals involved. Yasin was shot at by unidentified men on January 2, on Mohini Road. His assailants were riding a motorcycle.
The police first claimed that the incident was the result of some personal enmity the MPA had with some local roughnecks. They said that they had recovered a 9mm pistol used in the shooting that could help them identify the criminals. Sunday last, the police went back on their earlier statement, and said that the pistol was unlikely to be of help.
Sources privy to the investigations say that the pistol was locally manufactured and the number marked on it had been tampered with. Hence, it is difficult to establish its ownership.
The police were also unable to lift any fingerprints from the pistol. However, the nine bullets recovered from the magazine led to some important information. The fingerprints are now being sent for forensic analysis.
Sources privy to Bilal Yasin case’s investigations say that the pistol recovered from the criminals who had fled the scene was locally manufactured and the number marked on it had been tampered with. So, it’s difficult to establish its ownership.
Meanwhile, the graph of registered crime in the city shows an upward swing. To understand the actual position, TNS had a detailed conversation with the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO), Fayyaz Ahmed Dev.
It may be mentioned here that Dev recently replaced Ghulam Muhammad Dogar, after the authorities failed to keep the TLP protestors within the city. The new CCPO says that one method of ascertaining whether incidents of crime are on the rise, is to go through “registered crime.” He is quick to add that this “may not be an effective or efficient way to go about it.”
To substantiate his argument, the CCPO says that many incidents of crimes, especially street crime, go unreported or the complaints aren’t registered. Therefore, reaching a conclusion on the basis of just the registered crime data is not right. A better way, he says, is to “assess what’s happening in the city through the data collected by the Safe City Authority. The minute an incident takes place, it is usually reported on Police’s emergency helpline . The caller can thus be instantly verified, and if the incident is confirmed it is automatically noted in the data of the Authority.”
He rejects the notion that the crime rate has spiked in the city. “In fact, if you take into account the record of calls on 15, you will find a drop in incidents of robbery, dacoity, and theft, by almost 40 percent, over the last four months.”
Dev goes on to say that since he assumed charge in November 2021, his priority has been “to change the mode of operation of Lahore Police, and bring them back to the basics.” Explaining his point, he says that earlier the police’s energy and expertise were wasted mostly in dealing with cases of altercations on land and property. By the grace of Allah, I have been able to shift their [police’s] focus to what is their professional duty — of fighting crime.”
He also speaks of galvanising the police to “identify, track down and apprehend” all those involved in crime. This is what is actual policing.”
The writer is a senior journalist and can be reached at email@example.com