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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Karachi Police Reorganization

Suddle saddles up for bumpy ride

* Massive reorganization * New formation
* Strict postings, transfers
* Complaint options
* Unit for violence against women
* Possible video surveillance throughout Karachi

Staff Report

KARACHI: The principal focus is to reorganize and transform the police force into a public service organization, Inspector General of Sindh Police (IGP) Dr Shoaib Suddle said on Saturday during a press conference at Central Police Office (CPO).

“Our aim to provide relief to the general public and all our energy will be spent to achieve this objective. We believe that only politically neutral, unbiased and even-handed approaches can produce positive results.”

The IGP said that to achieve this goal they need the support of political parties, the civil society and the media. Realizing that without active involvement of the citizens, police efforts can only bear limited fruit. “We are focusing to bridge the long existing gap between the police and the public.”

He said that continuous influence and interference in policing affairs in the past has rendered the Sindh police an ineffective and unprofessional organization. Lots of effort is needed to redress this problem.

He said that they have informed the government of all their impediments and constraints, and he thanked the chief and home ministers for their continuous support and encouragement on all issues. “I am also grateful to the government for putting confidence in my leadership at a critical phase in the law and order situation in Sindh,” said Suddle.

The IGP adding that said in a brief period of four weeks they have take following initiatives:

Rs 50b five-year plan: A comprehensive five-year professional plan has been prepared. The Sindh police is inadequately equipped, both qualitatively and quantitatively, to cope with the growing law and order challenges. In order to redress its major inadequacies, a sum of Rs 50 billion will be required for a five-year prospective professional development plan. The plan will cover manpower, transportation, equipment, training and infrastructure requirements, and a comprehensive integrated security system for Karachi.

Massive reorganization: “We need massive reorganization.” A number of decisions have already been taken and reorganization will be completed in the near future. This will address the problem of maladministration, lack of supervision, anomalies in separation of investigation and operation branches, and the lack of effective police accountability.

Act in concert, not isolation: The focus of all units of the Sindh police has been changed. Earlier, all major police units were operating in isolation. In the new scheme of things, all units will act in concert in the fight against crime. The Sindh police has already started to transform from a purely reactive force to a proactive organization.

Merit only, 3-month terms: Transfers and postings of officers are being done on merit. Officers have been selected for senior assignments purely on the basis of their reputation and professionalism.

Written exams and interviews by a panel of senior police officers are conducted to select SHOs and SIOs. The posting of SHOs and SIOs will be for a term of three months and their continuation will depend on their performance. Performance shall be monitored on a weekly basis. After three months, if the performance of an officer is below what is desired, he will not only be removed from the post but will be demoted after due process.

Furthermore, the present police leadership is very clear on the issue of extraneous influence and recommendations in departmental matters such as postings, transfers and promotions. A zero tolerance policy has been adopted and any officer soliciting extraneous pressure in internal police administration shall be severely dealt with.

Complain online, by phone or in person: An independent police complaint authority, under direct supervision of the PPO of Sindh, has been established in the Central Police Office. Citizens have been provided with completely free access to this facility. A toll-free help line will be installed within a week in the CPO as well, to provide direct and easy access for general public to complain or provide valuable information to help the police.

Furthermore, an online complaint system has also been introduced. Citizens can logon to the Sindh police website found at www.sindhpolice.gov.pk and send their complaints via email.

Need of more supervision: A lack of supervision and discipline among the lower ranks of the police force has created problems with regards to police accesses, politicization, corruption and even criminality. “We are committed to eradicating this menace from rank and file.”

FIR registration: In order to facilitate free registration of FIRs, all police stations in Karachi now have a specialized FIR registration system. Cells will work under direct supervision of town police officers.

Unit to control violence against women: A specialized unit to control violence against women, especially the menace of karo kari, has been planned with the help of the UNDP. This unit will focus on the districts of upper Sindh, where most of the cases of violence against women are reported from.

Video surveillance throughout Karachi: “We need to make use of modern technology to control crime in the metropolis. A number of proposals and initiatives are being planned to install video surveillance cameras throughout Karachi.

In the last four weeks: The IGP claimed that mobile phone theft has decreased from an average of 80 mobiles per day to 50 mobiles per day, showing an impact of more than 35 percent, while four-wheeler theft was down by over 75 percent and two-wheelers by more than 35 percent.

During the last four weeks, he said, the Karachi police has conducted more than 130 encounters/raids and busted more than seven criminal gangs in one week of May alone.

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