LAHORE - The revival of international cricket in Pakistan has proved that Lahore is a safe city where people love sports and stars, CCPO Amin Wains .

In an exclusive interview with The Nation Friday, he said in future, the Punjab police are ready to help government host international sports events with much fanfare.  “The revival of international cricket is a success story, indeed. It was the last week’s rare cricket event that brought police closer to public. The cricket homecoming boosted up confidence of the police force at a time when terrorists were desperately trying to target the law enforcement agency,” the Lahore police chief said.

He says the police won hearts and minds of the people by ensuring foolproof security for the visiting guests, players, and cricket fans during the T-20 match last week.

“We are confident that the world players will come to Pakistan in future as well. Lahore has become Pakistan’s safest city now and, for this, the credit goes to the government especially Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif for introducing multiple initiatives to reform the police.”

Wains was appointed as the Lahore capital city police officer in August, 2014. Earlier, he was leading the Punjab Counterterrorism Department. He is among a few police officers who are most popular among the public. He straightforwardly removed the “chit system” soon after he took over as chief of the Lahore police. Anybody can enter into his office for any problem without any reference. In February, he survived a suicide bomb attack targeting policemen on The Mall.  He was mediating with protesters in front of the Punjab Assembly when a suicide bomber struck a group of police officers. Luckily, he remained unhurt. However, his seven colleagues including DIG Traffic Syed Ahmad Mobin and SSP (Operations) Zahid Gondal were among 14 people who died in the blast.

During Sunday’s T-20 Final, the Qaddafi Stadium was packed to capacity. Tens of thousands of people were inside the stadium while thousands of police were on guard . People cheered as top police officers went past by the crowds in the Stadium shortly before the start of the match.

The next day, a video clip went viral on the social media, showing crowds chanting “Long Live Punjab Police” slogans as officers visited different enclosures to review security deployment.

“We will never forget the great sacrifices of our brave officers. What we have achieved today is due to the sacrifices of police heroes. The heroes who lost their lives in the line of duty and brought back peace and prosperity in this country,” he added.

Joint efforts

The CCPO say security and intelligence agencies work side by side with the police during major security operations. The Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence have joined hands with the police and paramilitary troops to intensify security sweep. He said the Punjab Police mounted one the biggest security operations in years during the recent cricket matches.

Police intelligence system

A few months ago, he inaugurated intelligence collection mechanism called triple-one intelligence. Police will use a mobile phone application to transfer and pass on intelligence. The city police department, in case of actionable intelligence , will quickly respond to the situation. This high-tech intelligence system involving more than 35,000 policemen is said to be the brainchild of city police chief. Wains says this strategy will help his department fight criminals and terrorists in more effective way.

Specialized Units

In recent years, Lahore police raised several specialized units to meet the shortage of staff and to improve the police working. The Police Response Units, Dolphin Squads, Anti-Riot Force, and Homicide Investigation Cells are a case in point. The Dolphin Squad, the unique patrolling force, is exclusively fighting street-crimes in big cities of the province including Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan, and Bahawalpur districts.

The Punjab Safe City project

The multibillion scheme of surveillance nicknamed as IC3 or Integrated Command, Control, and Communication Center has been launched in Lahore. Under this project, the government has been planning strict surveillance of miscreants and offenders by using modern tools including CCTV cameras. This project of modern technology will be expanded to all major cities of the province in a phased programme.

In Lahore, at least 2,000 CCTV cameras would be made functional on leading roads and crossings by the end of December. This will help police ensure round-the-clock surveillance and monitoring.  All the police patrolling units including Dolphin Force, Police Response Units, and mobile squads would be inserted into the integrated system.