LAHORE  - The traffic warden system, introduced in Lahore almost a decade ago, will now be extended to the entire province because of its satisfactory results. For this, the provincial government plans recruitment of another 1000 graduate traffic officers.

A provincial official yesterday confirmed to The Nation the authorities were planning to implement “traffic warden system” in the remaining 30 districts of the Punjab province by the end of this year. At present, wardens are responsible for traffic control and road safety measures in Lahore, Gujranwala, Multan, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Sialkot districts.

The police department has been working to build a similar traffic force across the province. The initiative is said to be part of the government’s plans to overhaul the corruption-riddled traffic policing.

Chief of the provincial traffic police, Rai Altaf Hussain, yesterday said the “traffic warden system has already been working very successfully” in six districts of the province.

According to the additional-inspector-general of police, at least 4787 existing traffic police officials have been given the status of wardens and with the approval of the government, and following the recruitment of another 1000 wardens, the strength of the traffic police would swell to 5787.

“This (new recruitment) will help the department impose warden system in the remaining 30 districts,” Hussain explained during a meeting of the senior officers at the central police office yesterday.

Punjab inspector general of police Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera chaired the meeting while additional-IG Arif Nawaz, Sohail Khan, Lahore CCPO Muhammad Amin Wains, DIG Farooq Mazhar, Dr Haider Ashraf, and Waqar Abbasi were also present on this occasion.

In 2006, more than 3300 young graduates had been inducted in the Lahore police as traffic wardens with the motto of “courtesy, service, and excellence”. They were supposed to help and guide road users with an effective traffic control management system. However, these educated traffic officers are frequently seen fighting with motorists over different issues. Also, the complaints about wardens’ misbehaviour with motorists, using cell-phones during duty timing, and overlooking the road traffic disciplines are quite common.

According to road safety experts, unprecedented growth in two-wheelers and four-wheelers in the big cities has left the government with no other option except to create a state-of-art traffic control and management system across the province.

On the other hand, traffic wardens say that the authorities were yet to resolve their issues like service structure, pay and allowances, transfer to other cadres, and residences. The cases related to the wardens’ service structure, promotions, and pay packages are pending with the provincial police department despite the lapse of several years.

Punjab IGP Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera yesterday directed the officers to speed up working on the projects being introduced to reform the police in the province.

According to a police spokeswoman, the officers also reviewed the progress on the project of Dolphin Force in Lahore. They also discussed various proposals to introduce new uniform for the provincial police.

The meeting also short-listed two different colours and patterns for the change of police uniform, the spokeswoman said. “It was also decided in the meeting that the new uniform will be properly registered so that the sanctity and authority of the police uniform could be maintained, besides, to stop the misuse of the force’s uniform.”

Lahore DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf informed the meeting that the training of the Dolphin Force Unit would be completed by the mid of February. Ashraf also said that the inspection process of 300 new motorcycles being purchased for the Dolphin Force had already been completed.

The meeting also reviewed the progress on the project of establishing front-desks in 141 police stations of five big cities including Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Multan. In this regard, AIG Finance, Hussain Habib Imtiaz said that all the concerned districts were conveyed that the construction of the buildings for these desks should be identical. According to him, all recruitments would be made through the national testing service. The police department will also hire the services of psychologists while short-listing candidates during the recruitment process.