Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reforms police department

Pakistan on 10 October 2013
Location : Peshawar, Pakistan | Source : Central Asia Online. Image Source: Central Asia Online

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government is revamping its police force to improve provincial security.

KP police implemented several changes at two police stations in the province and declared them as models for the rest of the province.

All of the province's 210 police stations will be converted into model stations within three years, Ihsan Ghani, former KP inspector general of police, told Central Asia Online before leaving the post in late September.

Re-organising police work and stations
The model stations are well armed and staffed with enough properly trained officers, Ghani said.

"The KP Police have established schools of investigation, lines schools [schools within police lines], schools of intelligence and traffic schools all over the province, where refresher courses and training sessions will be imparted to the officers to polish their skills," he added.

To prevent overwork, police are switching to a regularly scheduled shift system and politicians no longer can order transfers of officers.

More sniffer dogs and bomb detectors will be added, allowing police to stage random sweeps for explosives.

In August, the provincial force recruited 1,300 policemen in Peshawar, according to Ghani. "We need at least 8,000 more policemen in the province to meet the present challenges," he said.

Changing tactics
In addition, the police are changing their tactics in order to battle militant groups more effectively.

"A special intelligence unit is being established in [the] police force that will help counter any terrorist attack before it happens," KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said. "We will take every measure to improve the sense of security among the general public."

"We have improved co-ordination and intelligence sharing with the Frontier Corps, the Frontier Constabulary, the army and political authorities to go after militants … especially in areas close to the tribal areas' boundary," Ghani said.

Still, police are lobbying the federal government for increased powers that would allow them to go into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), from which many attacks originate and where militant groups find refuge.

The police force must go after the criminal and terrorist gangs to eliminate their network, Nasir Khan Durrani, KP's new inspector general of police, said.

In the meantime, the police are arming security posts that border the tribal areas with heavy weapons and ammunition, Ghani said. "We are going to further strengthen these posts to stop attacks from the tribal areas."

This pro-active type of policing encourages police to go after militants and their hideouts, instead of waiting for the militants to attack, he added.

Technology also is playing a role in controlling crime and countering terrorism, Shiraz Paracha, Khattak's spokesman, said.

"We are going to install closed-circuit television cameras [CCTVs] all over Peshawar, including public places, busy squares and markets and outside and inside police stations," Paracha said. "This will help keep a check on any suspicious movement from a centralised operation room at the central police office."

Senior police officials will be held accountable and pushed to perform according to public expectations, he added. "The elements in [the] police who are not going to perform well will be ... replaced with better ones."

Citizens who have witnessed or experienced a crime can now register First Incident Reports online rather than having to go to a police station.

"We are going to make it sure that every high-profile case is properly investigated … whether the incident occurred due to negligence or there were other factors behind it," Ghani said.

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