NGO, media discuss ways to make police more effective -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

NGO, media discuss ways to make police more effective

KARACHI: Participants at the ‘National Project for Participatory Citizens-Police Interaction and Training for Improved Policing of Human Rights Violations and Advocating Police Reforms’ on Friday discussed ways to make the police force more efficient, non-partisan, and transparent.
The meeting was organized by Shehri-CBE an NGO, along with the media at a local hotel. The participants agreed that community policing was a better system and sought the opinion of women on police reforms. Speaking at the event the project’s Director Gulmina Bilal Ahmed said that parliamentarians by engaging citizens need to develop a consensus on how to make the police efficient, modern, non-partisan, service-oriented and transparent.
She said that police training must be improved with a special focus on human rights training, and that reforms should be implemented without any political interference.

“We must highlight the positives of the 20 percent of police, even if 80 percent are corrupt,” Gulmina said.
During the meeting Gulmina spoke at length about the need for an efficient complaint handling system, an increase in salaries and benefits for the police force, equity within the police ranks, increase in the number of women police stations and female police officers as well as authority for female officers to investigate cases. She also emphasized on the need to train police in using forensic evidence.
Sindh and Balochistan have notified the Freedom of Order Information Bill and it is our
responsibility to have a standing committee to keep it practicing, she said. Gulmina said that the standing committee has the representation at federal level and out of 13 only eight standing committees are functional in Sindh, however, there are 30 standing committees in the country.

Provincial Public Safety Commission (PPSC) Member Nazir Leghari said that defence and security services must function as independently without any political influence. Speaking about the PPSC Nazir said that it had become an advisory body due to the amendments made to it and
curtailment of its authorities.

The government wanted to make PPSC Pakistan’s Scotland Yard but ended up
withdrawing its powers, he said. Nazir claimed that significant work was done on the
cases which were lodged at the commission but the government refused to accept its
existence and there was no follow up on the cases.

“We were supposed to set up such commissions in all districts and we had even nominated the people to run them but the government didn’t take any steps to set them up,” said Nazir. He also laud-ed the media for broadcasting serials like Andhera Ujala, Pas-e-Aina but expressed disappointment that there had been no positive change in police attitude.
“The largest chunk, around ten percent of the provincial budget, is spent on police while the Rangers get a mere one percent,” said Shehri-CBE General Secretary Amber Alibhai. She said that corruption is so wide spread in the police that the funds provided by the government fail to reach the lower levels.

Media representative Najma Sadeque said that the 1860 Police Order had accorded police with the same privileges as that of the military however practically, the police could not get those privileges simply because it was being run under a bureaucracy while the military remained an independent body. “Police stations have become illegal detention centres and dens of terror due to the political influence,” said Mama Rasheed from Shehri-CBE. The illegal detention of people must stop and the police should not be authorized to detain people for an indefinite period of time, he added. The anti-corruption department has never taken any action against the police who have absolutely no courtesy whatsoever, said another media representative.

Source: Daily Times

Date:1/24/2009