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The policing system in Pakistan is frozen in time without any reforms in the governance structure of the department
Pakistan inherited this policing system from the British law of 1861. Since then the police has faced scarcity of resources, insufficient intellectual capacity, and ineffectual governance within the institution. The deprivation of police officers from the basic necessities, inconsistency in operational management due to political reasons, institutional derelictions and unforeseen security threats increased domestic crimes due to top-down structure of the society. Implementation of Rotation Policy of Officers of 2000 has been used to transfer police officers on political grounds rather than merit which failed the system in Sindh particularly in Karachi city.
The policing system in Pakistan is frozen in time without any reforms in the governance structure of the department. Consequently, the system is losing the credibility among the citizens. Sindh police has remained subject to much controversy after acquittal of many criminals of small and large-scale crimes. This is due to mismanagement of the evidence handled by the police. Along with this, the overall behaviour of the police portrays questionable attitude towards the common citizens. These are factors contributing to latent conflict between the people and Sindh police.
If we need to mend this dysfunctional relation, we would have to examine the police from global perspective. During the cold war period, security structures of the societies were highly dependent on the intellectual capacity of the relevant institutions to judge, assess, prioritise and intervene based on human judgment. However, biases and nepotism make individuals vulnerable to integrity of human judgments. Because of this, the police system did not enjoy full liberty in exercising its role for maintaining and restoring peace in the society.
Often, the civil unrest is stirred by numerous bodies. These include labor unions, social action/pressure groups. The civil society acquires their certain political or social agendas to anchor a desired social change. This practice has triggered corruption and manipulation in the police.
With the passage of time, there has been a great deficit of trust between the police and the citizens of Pakistan. To address this deficit, several interventions such as the Citizen Police Liaise Committee (CPLC) had been commissioned. Apart from this, social service organisations and advocacy campaigns brought about a positive change in the attitude of the police and their approach towards the job. The need for community support towards the police was realised after findings coming from the field about deficiency of police personnel available on duty and the fact that police cannot be always present in all areas of the society. However, these initiatives also proved somewhat ineffective as the available human resource seemed insufficient to operate such high demand operations.
Solving this problem require strategic planning and execution. The Sindh police should adopt a viable long-term plan divided into major initiatives along with their respective goals and deliverables. At present, the department can undertake the following initiatives to improve the quality of policing and overall image of Sindh Police. Training and development of the police officers on criminal investigation, evidence collection and behaviour change are sought. This will prepare the law enforcers to carry out their duties effectively with the combination of their professional practices and education. Women law enforcement officers deal with higher level of stress than their male counterparts. This is due to numerous reasons including work overload, personal distress, social pressures and work-related conditions. For this, life skills trainings should be included in training curriculum of the police. The Green Political Theory can also be introduced across the board for prevalence of equal rights, democratic system of governance, social justice, and a sustainable environment. Infusing in such a system shall address the prevailing issues in the community as well as the police. Along with this, appointment of local police, reduced deputation in protocol services of elites, revised pay structures, upgradation of training facilities and ample career growth shall act as the fuel towards the intended progress and engrave the name of Sindh Police as a synonym to trust and protection.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2022.
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