Reforming police a Herculean task

Reforming police a Herculean task

Pervez Khattak
Reforming police a Herculean task

PESHAWAR: Despite the tall claims by the government to change the traditional thana culture and facilitate the complainants, bringing reforms in police system seems a Herculean task in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Several orders, issued by the provincial government in this regard, haven’t been implemented so far that shows the slow pace of the reform process. Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has directed all government employees to perform eight hours duty daily but officials in different police stations say that they are yet to get any official order in this regard.

The chief minister has also directed police high-ups to replace all the old moharrers (clerical staff) at police stations with the officials of good reputation. However, the order hasn’t been implemented.Similarly, another order about establishment of female desk in all police stations still awaits implementation.However, work on registration of online FIRs has started and so are three such cases are stated to have been lodged.

An official said that the process was very slow and one couldn’t get a case registered in case of emergency because police were in the habit of using traditional delaying tactics. He said that the process for formation of vigilance committees was also very slow and it needed more transparency.Several senior policemen told this scribe that bringing positive change in thana culture was very difficult rather impossible unless there was a proper check on the moharrer and station house officer concerned.

Policemen have to follow the order of moharrer and SHO otherwise they will have to face disciplinary action. Policemen, without any connection with influential people, have to do long duties and seldom get casual leave despite emergency calls from their families.The provincial government has announced to form committees but no practical steps have been taken so far in this regard. Presently is difficult for an ordinary person even to enter a police station for lodging a complaint. It is up to the clerical staff to register a complaint or convey a message to the SHO.

Talking to Dawn, some police constables said that they were waiting anxiously for implementation of the order of chief minister about eight hours duty because they had to appease the clerk even for seeking casual leave. They said that a constable had to pay at least Rs200 to the clerk for getting a night pass to visit his family for a single night.

“We have to pay bribe to moharrer even if our leave is approved by the relevant superintendent of police. No policeman can leave the police station without the permission of moharrer. We have to remain on duty even for 20 hours if the moharrer is not relieving us,” a senior constable said.The constables also complained about the quality of their uniforms and shoes etc. The cloth of official uniform, they said, was so substandard that no one was ready to spend money on its sewing and opted for buying it in the open market.

The policemen demanded improvement in the quality of uniforms and shoes. “We performed special duty during the last general elections but the department is yet to pay us the allowance,” they said, adding that they should be given cash instead of inviting then to the grand food party on Eid. Riaz Ahmed, a police spokesman, when contacted said that about 100 complaints were received by the relevant officials for registration of online FIRs, which were under process and sent to the police stations concerned for further action.He said that police department would materialise the reforms plan to change thana culture and facilitate people. – Dawn