LAHORE - Ahead of the provincial budget for the fiscal year 2014-15, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has approved the establishment of “Research and Police Reforms Group (RPRG)” to overhaul the corruption-riddled policing.
Sources also revealed that the provincial government is likely to crank up spending on law and order with the Punjab police budget allocation alone rising by an unprecedented Rs15 billion for fiscal year 2014-15.
The government has begun the recruitment of technical experts on hefty pay-packages, a senior official told The Nation on Sunday. The selected candidates will work with the RPRG under the supervision of Turkish police experts.
The country’s largest law enforcing agency will use bullions of rupees for massive expansion and re-equipping to deal with rising security challenges, an official claimed.
In the upcoming budget, the government is going to propose an allocation of Rs 82 billion for the police department against the last year’s allocation of Rs71 billion. The police department demanded Rs 86 billion to meet the ‘expenditures.’ During the fiscal year 2013-14, the allocation for police had been increased from Rs62251 million to Rs71305 million.
A former inspector general police suggested the government to stop massive seepage in police funds before placing additional allocations on the disposal of the police hierarchy. “There is no one to check the funds’ utilisation in the powerful police force. Absolute financial powers also corrupt absolutely,” the former top cop said on the condition of anonymity.
He said the development funds always end up in the pockets to top officers. “You see none of the police stations ever receive development funds. The lower subordinates have to beg from public to run the day-to-day affairs of a police station,” he explained. The authorities must involve international firms to carry out financial audit of the powerful agency, he added.
Security experts say the government lacks the political will to reform the corruption-riddled police force. “The main reasons for this absence of will fall into three areas: societal, structural, and historical,” according to experts.
To fully reform Punjab police, policymakers will need to better understand the root causes of the problem. This is critical to replacing the current capture-and-kill approach with a methodology that seeks to rehabilitate captured criminals and address the causes of crimes. Presently, several officers from the Turkish National police are staying in the Punjab as part of the police reforms plan, mutually signed by the Punjab and Turkish governments in 2011.
Apart from visiting police stations and headquarters, the Turkish officers are holding parleys with top cops to understand the police system here. They already have proposed a strategy to overhaul the policing that needed more resources and funds.
Officials familiar with the plan outline that the Turkish experts would impart training in the field of counter-terrorism besides suggesting techniques to check and eliminate corruption from the police department.
“The average Pakistani citizen does not trust the police. There is a dire need to improve liaison between the police and the public,” an officer admitted, seeking anonymity.
In the same breath, he said that the police needed sophisticated weaponry, effective equipment, and intelligence capability to improve law and order situation in the province.
The Turkish experts would provide assistance, particularly training guidance, monitoring and administration to enhance the capacity of the forensic science facilities. The capacity building activities will be undertaken in three specific areas like Organizational Development, Operational Capability, and Technical Expertise. They would also provide training assistance to the Punjab Police in the areas of national security intelligence, anti-terrorism intelligence, technical and electronic Intelligence, interrogation and interview techniques, crime intelligence analysis, surveillance techniques, canine training, de-radicalization process, and prevention of radicalization in combat against terrorism.