Our quarterly newsletter brings you in-depth analysis of policing topics throughout South Asia by experts who are on the front-lines of advocacy, activism and policing. Multimedia interviews and up-to-date resources round out the NIPSA Quarterly, a must read for anyone interested in police reforms in South Asia.
NIPSA Newsletter Volume 3, 2015
Welcome to the Network for Improved Policing in South Asia's E-Newsletter for this quarter! There have been major policing developments throughout South Asia in the last few months. As always, we bring you cutting edge analysis and multimedia from experts to keep you in the know. Don't forget to comment, subscribe, and tell your networks about our network.
This quarter we:
- Examine serious concerns surrounding a new anti-terror bill in the Maldives, and the potential consequences it has to fundamental rights;
- Analyses a seminal study on the need for Shift Systems in the Indian police to limit excessive work hours and increase productivity and people friendly policing;
- Review an initiative known as the Dolphin Squad in Pakistan, which hopes to decrease street crime and increase safety in Lahore;
- Examine President Obama's upcoming trip to Kenya, and how two polarizing issues of LGBT rights and Security can, will and should be influenced during his visit.
- We also are happy to announce a new NIPSA Resource: CHRI's popular 101 Things You Wanted to Know About the Police But Were Too Afraid to Ask is now available in both Bangla and Urdu.
Special Laws Must Not Pre-empt General Criminal Law
by Devyani Srivastava
On 6 July 2015, a new anti-terrorism bill was submitted to the People’s Majlis that aims to replace the existing Anti-Terrorism Act 1990. Drafted by the Attorney General’s office, the bill was submitted by the President’s Office and is yet to come up for discussion in the parliament.
According to media reports, the bill defines offences and actions that constitute an act of terrorism and bestows additional investigative powers to state authorities. If passed, the bill will expand the legal framework to deal with terrorism.
This gives rise to several concerns. First, any new anti-terrorism law must abide by the 2008 Constitution. At present, Maldives is working to finalize its Penal Code, Evidence Act and Criminal Procedure Code to revise basic criminal law to align with the 2008 Constitution. Special laws are based on an assumption that a distinct legal framework, beyond general criminal procedures and standards, is needed. There is no basis as yet for this assumption in the Maldives. Laws like on anti-terror are legitimised under the pretext that “special circumstances require special procedures” but are often an excuse to let the inefficiencies of the state continue at the expense of civil liberties. Across the world, they have been used to reduce the rigor required by the standards of fair trial and have made it easier to put away dissidents and other people inconvenient to the ruling regime of the day. Once a specialized security regime is put in place, it is very difficult to rollback powers vested with the authorities as well as mitigate impact on civil liberties.
The government must, therefore, clearly articulate reasons behind introducing this bill. What is the level of terrorism threat in the country? What are the factors including socio-economic causes leading to its purported spread, and why is general criminal law (as being finalized) considered ill-equipped to address the threat? These concerns must be addressed now if Maldives is to avoid a legal regime where exceptionalism prevails over constitutional principles and accepted legal standards of criminal justice as embodied in general laws.
Moreover, the definition of terrorism provided in the bill, as indicated through media reports, is likely to be misused particularly in the absence of a penal code. The definition, for instance, includes activities carried out with the intent of promoting ‘unlawful’ political ideologies among others but what constitutes unlawful is not defined anywhere. This leaves space for subjective interpretation. Who gets to define an ideology or what is unlawful, or at what stage an ideology becomes unlawful?
Such drafting appears designed to curtail rights of Maldivians to freely associate and to establish and participate in the activities of political parties guaranteed under Article 30 of the Constitution. It also has the potential of being used arbitrarily to target and suppress political opposition, particularly when seen in light of additional powers of surveillance vested with the authorities. Even if left unused the very presence of such laws lying on the books creates a chill that shrivels the democratic impulse.
These concerns are amplified in light of the continued attempt to restrict constitutional rights through legislative action. Under the bill, those suspected of terrorism can have their right to remain silent and access to lawyers restricted. In November 2014, the Majlis amended the Law Prohibiting Threatening and Possession of Dangerous Weapons and Sharp Objects which restricts the same rights for arrested persons in case of violent assault. These rights are fundamental features of a fair trial and need to be protected for proper administration of justice.
Given the serious ramifications of the bill, a process of public engagement on the subject matter is crucial. The government must use this as an opportunity to galvanize a national debate on whether an anti-terror law is needed at all in the Maldives, and if so, how best to ground it within the framework of democratic freedoms, human rights and international norms. Parliamentary committee review, which is likely to follow once the bill is accepted at the floor of parliament, is important but not sufficient.
The government is urged to make the bill public at this stage, invite public comments and hold wide-range consultations, as is now the accepted practice in several democracies. The benefits of such an engagement are manifold, from building public confidence, creating a more informed citizenry to generating a sense of ownership among the public. It is also imperative that legal experts are involved to ensure that any new legislation is necessary and if so, that it is drafted in strict accordance with the 2008 Constitution.
Ultimately, unless the government makes sincere efforts to inform and involve the public before laws are enacted, restrictions being proposed through such laws are likely to lead to unrest and deep dissatisfaction among the public. The process of democratisation which began in 2008 is ill-served by processes which take no account of public opinion when drafting legislation; it is time this gap is addressed and this seems a good moment to make a new beginning.
Give Humane Duty Hours and Receive Quality Police Service
by Zeenat Malick
The present management system of the police, particularly at the police station and district level, does not lay down fixed duty hours. The 1861 Police Act laid down an “always on duty” dictum keeping in mind the need for availability of staff on 24X7 basis. Without a shift system, it has meant staff at the police station keep unduly long and irregular work hours. This is very unhealthy and unfit for any human being with mental, physical, family and social needs.
Every recruit in the force generally knows that their job is to provide security to the public, prevent crime, apprehend criminals and produce them before the court for appropriate action. But, to fulfil said responsibilities with utmost motivation and diligence, the physical and mental comfort required is lacking in the present policing arrangement. It is difficult to put a limit on the work hours particularly of the station-level personnel who come in direct and frequent contact with the public. Consequently, they work for12-16 hours a day, do not get to visit home for months, and may not remember the last holiday they had. The brunt of these overworked and overburdened police personnel is borne out by common and often distressed people. A common man who might be looking for protection, empathy and help from the police is left to be re-victimized by irritated, misbehaved and rude police staff, a pattern which leads to mistrust and a bad name for the police. Whatsoever may be the case with the on-duty police, s/he has to behave with the public in a civilized manner.
Study on Shift Systems
There have been extensive deliberations on this issue within the government, police leadership and other stakeholders. One of the proposed solutions has been implementation of a shift system at the police stations as the basis for improving the quality of police performance and behaviour. The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) sponsored an empirical study to assess requirements for implementing this idea. BPR&D assigned the responsibility of doing nationwide research to a retired IPS officer, Shri Kamal Kumar and a report on the findings of this study was published in August 2014 titled “National Requirement of Manpower for 8-Hour Shifts in Police Stations”.
In the words of Mr. Kamal Kumar, “The problem of inordinately long working hours for police station staff has been well known, yet there were not many empirical studies in the past on the subject. So, except for vague estimates, no data was available to support a case for rationalizing their working hours. The results of this study fill that gap.”
The study findings are based on extensive field survey conducted across 23 states involving 12,156 police station staff, 1,003 SHOs and 962 supervisory police officers from 319 police districts in the country.
Key findings of the survey under the study are:
- 76% of Station House Officers (SHOs) felt that the current duty arrangement has potential to cause various health problems amongst the staff;
- Nearly 80% staff has reported that they are unable to meet their family and social obligation;
- Over 80% of the staff are recalled on duty during their off time;
- 96% of the police feel that work performance of the police will improve with the implementation of the shift system;
- 90% of SHOs and more than 90% of supervisory staff feel that shift system would improve quality of policing;
- 96.3% senior supervisory officers feel a shift system will be beneficial for their personal, family and social responsibilities;
- For implementation of shift system, the additional manpower requirement would be 3,37, 500;
- The addition of 3, 37,500 police staff will increase national police-public ratio to 173:1,00,000 population.
The study identifies several factors which lead to 90% of police personnel working more than 8 hours: ever increasing law and order duties, continuously increasing VIP duties, increased complexity in criminal activities, lack of manpower at the police stations, unorganized working of the police stations, attachment of manpower in non-policing work, insufficient flow of technology and unavailability of technical assistance/equipment, process of court work, etc. Looking at these factors carefully, it can be suggested that there are many factors leading to excessive work that can be outsourced. For instance, VIP duties can be given to private security agencies. Besides that, all data entry work at the police station could be given to non-police personnel specifically hired for this job.
The report provides an assessment of extra manpower required for implementation of a shift system at the police station level across India. This comes to an additional 3,37,500 personnel. This is by no means excessive. At present, India has 145 police personnel sanctioned for the policing requirements of 1,00,000 of population. With the addition of 3,37,500 more personnel, as suggested above, the police/population ratio would become 173 per 1,00,000, leading India closer towards the United Nations prescribed norm of 222 police personnel per 1,00,000 of population. It has further been suggested in the study that if the required extra police personnel were women, it will not only improve the police/public ratio but also women in police ratio from 6.11% (Data on Police Organization, BPRD, 2014) to 20%.
Undoubtedly, implementing a shift system at the police station level will not only improve overall police performance, but is equally important for the common man. Ultimately the consumer of police service is the citizen, and as the police fall under the jurisdiction of the state as per the Constitution, it is the state’s twin responsibility to provide the people with the most adept, smart, strong and rested police as possible. Implementing a shift system would go a long way in this regard.
Dolphin Squad To Curb Street Crimes in Lahore - Progress and Concerns
by Bilal Saeed
Lahore, the capital of Punjab province and the second largest city of Pakistan, is home to approximately ten million people1. Owing to the demographic changes brought about by a population explosion coupled with poverty, inflation and unemployment, Lahore faces multifaceted challenges at several fronts. An area of vital concern has been the rising street crime in the city. Incidents of car theft, mugging and shop robberies frequently surface on media leaving the citizens in a continuous state of fear and insecurity.
The 2015 report of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) produced by U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, based on the data collected from Law enforcement agencies in Pakistan, categorizes the overall crime rating of Lahore as “high”2. The OSAC’s report on Lahore further states that 71,928 crimes of all kinds were reported to, or cited by, the police in 2014.3 Police sources reveal that auto-lifting has become a flourishing industry for the gangsters in the provincial capital Lahore because on average about 20 citizens are deprived of their vehicles daily.4 Mugging incidents are also on a continuous rise in Lahore, with people being deprived of cash after they leave ATMs and banks and women being targeted once they return from shopping or dropping off their kids at school. Looters walk away with jewelry, cash, mobile phones and other valuables that they find.5 Street crime figures of 2011 presented by the Daily Times reveal that on an average, 30 to 40 street crime cases were reported in Lahore city police stations on a regular basis, which did not include the number of those citizens who, despite being robbed, do not bother to register cases due to hassles and repeated visits to the police station.6 Similar reports of escalating street crime in Lahore have kept surfacing in newspapers till date.7
As per CCPO Lahore, Amin Wains, currently there are more than 30,000 police officers in Lahore.8 However, around 16,000 trained young officials, including elite commandos, are on security of VIPs, protocol, emergency and other miscellaneous duties9, which leaves behind approximately 14,000 police personnel to cater to a population of 10 million. If international standards of 1 cop for 250 citizens are followed, Lahore police faces a shortage of 26,000 cops. Dearth of adequate training and technology coupled with shortage of cops in Lahore police has rendered the department weak to counter increasing street crimes.
Lahore police has consistently tried to counter the growing menace of street crimes in the past; several patrolling models have been experimented with and found ineffective. In the latest bid to foil escalating street crime in Lahore, the Chief Minister (CM) of Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif has consented to implement a police-patrolling model called the Dolphin Squad. Dolphin squad is a patrolling model that would be set on lines of the yunus (dolphin) polis established in Istanbul, Turkey in 1993. The idea of dolphin squad was presented by a high level national police of Turkey delegation, led by Dr. Mustafa Ozguler, to the CM in May 2014. The delegation has extended its cooperation and support in setting up the organizational structure, recommending equipment, providing overall guidance and training the master trainers for the Dolphin Squad in Turkey.
The Dolphin Squad is an expensive patrolling project for which the government of Punjab has approved PKR 910 million. Punjab anti-terrorism minister, retired Col. Shuja Khanzada, while speaking about the Dolphin Squad, said they would have heavy bikes and would be equipped with modern weapons and communication gadgets. As per the news10, the Dolphin Squad would be equipped with 300 motorcycles, 10 mini-buses for field support, 600 body cams, 200 GPS locators and 300 radios. Moreover, the cops who would patrol on bikes would be equipped with helmets with wireless radio, small arms, handcuffs, GPS tracking devices, cameras and other gadgets. One unit will respond in emergency to at least 30 citizens a day and 100 units would respond to a minimum 3000 people daily. Each dolphin unit would consist of four police officials. Armed with latest equipment and fast paced means of transport, the Dolphin Squad would have the ability to immediately reach a crime scene and take action in congested areas or amid heavy traffic thereby serving its role as a rapid-response unit to counter street crimes.
As reported by The Express Tribune, a group of 29 police officers were selected to leave for Turkey on March 29, 2015 for training as master trainers11. These trainers were selected by a five-member selection committee and consisted of UN volunteers and foreign qualified officers with policing/instructional experience. The group that was reportedly led by SP Saddar Gujranwala, Syed Karrar Hussain, included 5 Deputy Superintendents of Police, 10 Inspectors, 7 Sub Inspectors, 3 Assistant Sub Inspectors, 1 head constable and 2 constables. The training was to last for two months and at the completion of the training, the group was to come back as master trainers and train their fellow colleagues.
The recruits in the Dolphin Squad are to be at least 5 feet and 9 inches tall and between ages of 25 to 35. The minimum educational requirement for the members of the squad is matriculation, while that for the trainers is intermediate12. The total strength of the force would be 1,800 constables, 60 Assistant Sub-Inspectors, 15 Sub-Inspectors, four DSPs and an SP and they would perform their duties in three shifts.13 As for now 1,200 police officials have been selected for this unit.
The deployment of the Dolphin Squad would be based upon crime hotspots analysis and population concentration. The GPS tracking would allow for continuous monitoring of the Dolphin units in the field. A Superintendent Police would be made responsible for leading the squad from a command center, with the total area of Lahore city divided into five localities with 50 motorcycles each.
In Pakistan, where only $7.6 is spent annually on security per person as compared to $135 in Turkey14, the plan to counter street crimes through a hefty billion rupee investment in the Dolphin Squad is surely an expensive venture. There are areas of vital concern that must be looked at for making this project a success, some are outlined hereunder:
- The timely approval of funds and prompt execution of the project has banked upon the personal interest of CM Shahbaz Sharif in the initiative. So far, the project has faced small setbacks as the bureaucracy did not allow the Turkish delegation to regularly meet the CM15. Political support and facilitation must continue for the successful implementation and sustainability of the initiative;
- There have been instances where the recommendations of the Turkish police delegation have not been swiftly followed. For example, the Punjab authorities have only recently approved the purchase of 500cc bikes16 (prior to it, only 250cc bikes were approved by the cabinet committee for law and order17). It would have been futile to implement the Dolphin Squad model with the essential features such as faster bikes for rapid response and high-paced mobility missing;
- There are apprehensions amongst some policemen who think that chasing dacoits on 500cc motorcycle would be much difficult, rather impossible, due to its heavy speed.18 The Dolphin Squad must, therefore, be imparted sufficient training on high paced motorcycle riding and safe maneuvering in congested traffic before they are sent to the field. This training is important not only to ensure better performance of dolphin squad in chasing and catching criminals but also to avoid accidents from occurring;
- As reported by news agencies19, senior police officials have responded unenthusiastically to joining the proposed Dolphin Squad due to lack of monetary incentives and limited prospects for professional growth. Reports of half-hearted response from lower ranks have also been received due to similar reasons. Officials joining the Dolphin Squad should be adequately motivated as without a high morale the squad will not be able to accomplish its goal of curbing street crime in Lahore;
- Numerous times in the past, police motorbike patrolling squads have been found involved in incidents ranging from citizen exploitation to illegal activities for monetary benefits20. It is important that the Dolphin Squad should be thoroughly educated, guided and monitored to abide by a strict code of ethics and professionalism during the discharge of their duties so as not to tarnish the squad’s image, which would be detrimental in the long run;
- The focus of Dolphin Squad must be kept restricted to the work they are trained for as a large percentage of police force is found deployed on VVIP movements and protocol duties in the provincial capital21 and police patrolling squads are no exceptions. Such deployments not only shift the focus of the personnel from their core work but also demoralize them.
- The Dolphin Squad project is being immediately extended to limited areas in Faisalabad as well. As per May 06 report of The News22, 1,000 young policemen with 50 bikes would form the Dolphin Squad in Faisalabad’s Iqbal town, Lyallpur town and Madina town. Launching and testing in Lahore before extending it in other cities would have been a more pragmatic approach, which, unfortunately, has not been followed.
At the moment, we cannot foretell whether this initiative will prove a success or not, but only hope that the concerned authorities would follow the guidelines of Turkish experts in essence and effectively address issues and concerns that might prove disadvantageous to the project. Unless the Dolphin Squad proves its mettle in Lahore and Faisalabad by effectively curbing street crimes, prospects of its sustainability and extension across Punjab would remain a pipedream.
Obama's Visit to Kenya: LGBT Advocacy and the Need to Rethink the Security-Human Rights Nexus
by Uladzimir Dzenisevich
The US President is set to visit Nairobi at the end of July. The capital is already undergoing a major refurbishing, while the nation, trapped in the grip of Obama-mania, is actively discussing his upcoming visit. At the same time, the debate is raging about what Obama is going to say to Kenyans, or – how it really fleshed out – what he should or shouldn’t say. Two issues top this debate.
Firstly, it is LGBT rights, especially so in the light of two court rulings – by the US Supreme Court and the Nairobi High Court, the former allowing for same-sex marriage across the US, and the latter demanding Kenyan authorities to register an LGBT group. The nation is heated up on the issue, with national newspapers running with titles like “Is Barack Obama introducing homosexuality in Kenya?”, or publishing fresh reports about another person of prominence telling Obama not to raise this issue.
Local politicians are leading the race in reminding Kenyans that they are all members of a conservative and god fearing nation, with the Deputy President William Ruto going as far as to say that there is no place for homosexuals in Kenya and, consequently, asking LGBT activists to leave the country. When a powerful politician charged with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court cracks down on a minority, it should really be ringing bells at the highest quarters of international community.
On their part, the many faces of Kenyan clergy have (obviously) joined the cry and asked Obama to leave the preaching to them. The White House, however, would not listen and confirmed that Obama will not hesitate to advocate for LGBT rights during his visit.
The second issue on Obama’s agenda is security, though, unlike LGBT rights, it did not draw much attention. Kenya is a long-standing security partner of the West at least since the dawn of the Cold War. Now this relationship is defined by Kenyan contribution to fighting the war on terror. Al-Shabaab, a Somalia based terrorist organisation, has been a target of the US military operations and a security threat to Kenya for quite some time. Natural allies in this fight, the US and Kenya have been partnering to bring the group down in a joint undertaking marked by financial contributions, military aid, intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism trainings.
More often than not, this support has been unconditional, and Kenya’s western partners (US included) have been willing to turn a blind eye on structural flaws in Kenya’s security policy as well as individual excesses and abuses by country’s security forces. Numerous organisations have reported grave human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, perpetrated by the GSU and ATPU – Kenya police’s counter-terrorism units. As one commentator put it, the support from the Western governments “empowered Kenyan officials in new ways” and “enabled them to justify the profiling of Somalis and Muslims and legitimise the suspension of civil rights”, thus turning Kenya into a “necessary evil” – something that the West might not be comfortable with, but has to tolerate and support in order to secure their own interests.
The latest round of attack on human rights and civil liberties came in the form of Security Laws (Amendment) Act, 2014. The law that, among other things, overly extended period of pre-trial detention to up to 360 days in terrorism cases, prescribed 30 years of prison for adopting and promoting “extreme belief systems” and empowered intelligence agencies to carry out covert operations without court oversight in order to “neutralise threats against national security”. CHRI has made several submissions regarding this law, stating in particular that the law sets back “the process of reforming the police and broader security sector” and its implementation will “lead to greater insecurity and weaken the sanctity of the Constitution itself”.
It should be noted that the US State Department expressed similar concerns, but the US officials were soon accused of being hypocrites by senior Kenyan politicians. Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, said that “our law is better than the American Patriot and Homeland Security Acts that give rogue powers to security agencies”, and Munyori Buku, senior director of public communication, scathingly noted that Kenya “has no Guantanamo Bay”.
Kenyans are not the first to notice the double standards approach practiced by the US, but accusations of hypocrisy are not the point here. The point is that the US cannot promote human rights and sponsor violent and abusive counter-terrorism policies at the same time. By trying to keep a foot in both camps, the US is hardly getting anywhere in either direction. As a result, counter-terrorism efforts consistently fail to prevent regular terrorist attacks, regardless of harsh onslaught on human rights and civil liberties committed in the name of security.
Obama can and must speak strongly about failings of the joint security policy during his visit, but concrete steps to redefine security cooperation between the US and Kenya must also be taken, not the least because current security policy is self-defeating, alienating and marginalising vulnerable communities. These steps must also be taken to stop human rights violations by Kenyan security services and for the US to live up to its self-styled role of a global human rights promoter. After all, as Professor Winnie Mitullah of the University of Nairobi“ points out, “[Kenya’s] relations with the west hit a low not witnessed for decades in recent years and it will be a chance, in effect, to reset the partnership and create a new narrative”.
To reiterate an oft repeated point, the magnitude of decisions by American courts and government has confirmed once again the position of power the US occupies in Africa and in the world. The US courts and the President are powerful agenda makers and amplifiers of issues, be it LGBT rights or security. Being highly controversial in Kenya, the LGBT rights debate is, nevertheless, simple to follow: adversaries know what they want, where they stand and who their allies are. Unlike the LGBT rights, security – the second issue on Obama’s agenda – is muddier, and therefore requires a closer attention and a more persuasive advocacy from Obama in Kenya. The fluidity of the debate and the absence of clearly drawn battle lines may make it possible for Obama to sway some policy makers and, hopefully, lead to opening up of a debate on human rights oriented approach to security.
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is pleased to announce the Urdu and Bangla versions of your favourite book on policing: "101 Things You Wanted To Know About The Police But Were Too Afraid To Ask - A Children's Book for Adults to Learn from." Also we include the 2015 English version for your reference.