Patrolling the police

Pakistan on 28 April 2014
Location : Karachi, Pakistan | Source : The International News

 A more effective, better-run system of policing is quite evidently essential given the times we live in, with rampant crime and a breakdown of rule of law affecting the lives of people everywhere. Given this reality, the draft for a Sindh Police Act, 2014, put forward recently at a seminar in Karachi by the Pakistan Forum on Democratic Policing, raises points that certainly need to be looked at as a means to repair an essentially corrupt, corroded police system that has failed the people it should be serving. As participants at the seminar noted, it is quality that is most badly needed. We must hope this will be taken into consideration as the process of hiring 10,000 more policemen for the Sindh force begins. The committee in charge of this, headed by MPA Owais Muzzafer, has also announced that a new elite force comprising 3,000 personnel would be created. These steps can work only if the recommendations of experts are considered. They have essentially called for the depoliticisation of the police, fiscal autonomy, structural reform, greater sensitization to the needs of women, children and minorities and an attitude more favourable to the people. It has been consistently pointed out that the role of police should focus on service to the community, rather than coercion. Successive surveys have shown that the police are currently regarded across a wide spectrum of the public as a highly corrupt force, feared rather than trusted. This attitude can hardly help crime control. Nations where people and police are most willing to work together generally have the best record of combating crime.

We urgently need to better our system of policing. The issue of political recruitment has come up again and again; sadly, the trend continues. It needs to be done away with if we are to create a professional, well-trained police force able to move beyond the crude methods it uses now. We hope this will happen in Sindh as new recruitments begin. An ex-Sindh police chief has also spoken of the need for specialised training. The lack of this is one reason why so many perpetrators of crime get away with their deeds. A whole range of issues needs to be looked at. These include laws governing the police, with questions raised as to why the police ordinance of 2002 had been rolled back. All these matters need to be examined in depth. But we need to proceed urgently. Too much time has been lost and we have now reached a situation that makes it imperative for us to move forward rapidly if we are to build a bond between the people and the police and by doing so create the stronger force we so urgently need to combat crime and re-establish law in a society that has transformed into a jungle filled with dangers that hold back ordinary life in a multitude of different ways.

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