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Towards gender sensitive policing

Pakistan on 01 August 2013
Location : Pakistan | Source : Pakistan Observer. Image Source: Pakistan Observer

Thursday, August 01, 2013 - Pakistan is in dire need of a police reform in order to improve the human security net within the society. The reform will provide to the transition from a colonial style police force to democratic policing by strengthening the Pakistan’s Police’s ability to contribute to a safer and more secure environment based on respect for the rule of law, human rights and equitable access to justice with a specific focus on the poor and disadvantaged, women and children. 

Gender Sensitive Policing, is working towards “Promoting the rights of women and children to be free of fear through improved representation of women at all levels and the provision of equitable and sensitive policing and victim support services. To achieve this, it is important to increase the participation of women in Pakistani police at all ranks, with increased gender awareness and improved victim support services. It is widely acknowledged that women are under-represented in law enforcement in Pakistan. Increased representation of women in the Pakistani Police is critical to sustain reform. For example, the retention and effective deployment of women police is linked to the sustainability of the crime prevention and community policing outcomes, as more female investigating officer’s will likely encourage more women to assist the police with investigations and prosecutions. 

All support to this outcome will be consistent with Pakistan’s Police policies and regulations. It is important that Pakistan police must derive a Strategy to increase the number of women police and use them more effectively and support an action plan to ensure the progressive deployment of women police officers around the country. This includes a comprehensive plan to actively recruit women at all levels, for instance through advocacy programmes, awareness creation in the community & universities, or advertisement published in the newspapers so that more women are motivated to take on this challenging career. As such, Gender Responsive Policing Project, a combined venture of National Police Bureau (NPB) and GIZ funded by the German foreign office has undertaken special initiatives in different divisions of the country to attract women from different socio-economic groups to join the police. 

The program has also focused on increasing the quality and quantity of female leadership within the police department. It has taken on different initiatives, one of which was the formation of a network among the women police. In July 2012, Women Police Network (WPN) commenced its activities. It is important to mention that involvement of police women in the UN mission has created an optimistic image of police women of Pakistan. It has shown that police women can carry out such missions under difficult circumstances. Police women from Pakistan are actively participating in UN peace missions, and are playing a major role in making a level playing field for other educated women of Pakistan who want to join police as a profession. It shows the leadership role of police women has amplified. 

Police women have been challenging the stereotypes about women’s ability and demonstrated that they can deal with crimes and other tasks. The establishment of Women Police Network has helped the police women to share their problems and suggestions with their colleagues properly. Women Police Network meets with women police to identify their needs and help them to build the capacity of the women police so that they can provide women friendly services to the community. Women Police Network is creating awareness among the women police about the roles and responsibilities of women police. The network has also taken special measures to create professionalism of women police, and they have done work to promote gender sensitive policing in Pakistan. Creating gender sensitivity among the police is a challenging task. Gender is a social and cultural construction; therefore it will take time to make all the police personnel gender sensitive. Both long-term and short term activities/programmes are needed to motivate and persuade them.

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