LAHORE  -    Punjab Police Inspector General Arif Nawaz Khan has directed his department to prepare a feasibility report for establishing specialized units to control gender-based crimes in the province.

According to officials, the gender-based crime units are being raised to help women in other districts following the successful launch of the pilot project in district Muzaffargarh. The move comes after police reported a record number of crime cases involving women and children in Punjab in recent years.

The police chief approved the new units while presiding over a meeting at the central police office on Friday. Punjab Additional-IG (Operations) Inam Ghani, DIG (Crime and Investigation) Jawad Dogar, DIG (Headquarters) Syed Khurram Ali, DIG Ahsan Younas, and AIG (Gender Crime) Maria Mehmood were also present in the meeting besides others.

These units will provide immediate help and relief to female victims of crime such as rape, acid throwing, and honour killing. It will be the exclusive responsibility of the gender based crime cell to bring the culprits to justice. The cases of child rape will also be sent to this new police unit for quick action and justice.

This specialized police unit will also provide psychological, legal, and medical aid to women and children.

Primarily, the project of speedy justice will be launched in 10 districts of the province including Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Sahiwal, Muzaffargarh, Sheikhupura and Gujrat. In these districts, the police reported most of the cases related to gender-based violence during the last couple of years.

The IGP also directed the officers to complete the process of postings and appointment of Gender Focal Person who will be responsible for collecting gender crime reports from each police station in very district. These reports will be sent to the Central Police Office on a daily basis so that strict action against such culprits could be ensured on priority basis.

During the meeting, AIG (Gender Crime Maria) Mehmood briefed the IGP about the steps taken to control gender crime in the province. As a pilot project, a special unit has been set up in district Muzaffargarh which proved very helpful in timely action against suspects involved in crime against women, she said.

The officer also suggested that a Lady Sub-Inspector will be In-Charge of the gender crime unit in addition to Gender Focal Persons. One male ASI, one Lady Head Constable and 5 Lady Constable will be part of each unit. “This police unit in Muzaffargarh only deals with gender based crime cases and the same model will be replicated in all other districts where the ratio of gender crime is higher comparatively,” Mehmood explained.

She further informed the meeting that the female victims of crime can file complaints through five different sources including Front Desk, 8787 IGP Complaint Centre, Khidmat Marakaz, Police Helpline Rescue-15, and Gender Crime Cell.

The local police will remain in close contact with the administration of Dar-ul-Amaan and other government departments so that the affected women could be helped. The SSP said that the protection centers are also being upgraded in Lahore, Bahawalpur, Rawalpindi, and Faisalabad districts.

The police are also working very closely with other government departments including Social Welfare department, Child Protection Bureau, Violence against Women Centre and the district administration to help victims get justice.

The IGP directed the officers take all the regional and district police officers on board. The gender-based units should be established in police stations where the ratio of such crimes case is higher than other areas, the police chief suggested.

IGP Arif Nawaz Khan further said that the Gender Responsive Policing Initiatives are among the priorities of the Punjab Police. Therefore, all available resources are being utilised to improve police and to help victims of crimes, particularly the women and children.