KARACHI - Additional Inspector General of Police Dr Amir Shaikh on Saturday formed an anti-street crime force to curb the rising incidents of phone and car snatching in the port city.

“The Street Watch Force with 1,870 personnel will control street crimes across the city,” says the Shaikh. “Personnel of the Street Watch Force will be deputed in areas notorious for street crime,” he said.

The additional IG, who was flanked by all district police chiefs, also addressed personnel of the newly-established Street Watch Force at the Police Headquarters. Eighty motorcycles have been given to the force personnel for District South, City, East and Central each and 20 to personnel for West, Malir and Korangi each.

Majority of the police personnel in the Street Watch Force were recruited recently to the Sindh Police. They will patrol city streets and roads in groups of four each on two motorcycles. SSPs will be heads of the force in their respective districts. The force will act on complaints of street crimes as rapid response force.

PLAN TO STRENGTHEN PROSECUTION

Sindh prosecution and police departments have agreed to strengthen prosecution in the province keeping in view a low conviction rate in terrorism cases.

Prosecutor General (PG) of Sindh Ayaz Hussain Tunio chaired a high-level meeting here at his office in this regard. The meeting was attended by Karachi police chief Amir Sheikh, DIG Amir Farooqui and other police officials and senior prosecutors.

The participants discussed improvement in prosecution as well as investigation and observed that conviction rate in Sindh remained very low, particularly in anti-terrorism courts across the province. They were of the view that weak investigation and poor prosecution were resulting in acquittal of suspects involved in heinous crimes.

Expressing his concerns over poor investigation, the PG stated that prosecutors depend on the evidence provided by investigation officers. Obviously, weak evidence weakens cases in courts, he said.

The police officials assured the meeting of improvement in the investigation procedure to strengthen prosecution in courts. The participants also agreed to move the cases with mutual consensus to enhance the conviction rate.

“A lack of competent investigation officers (IOs) is one of the main reasons for weak and incompatible prosecution,” said the PG, adding that there was no doubt that successful prosecution was an important step in prevention and control of crime. Acquittal of suspects in courts wastes efforts, he said.

It was decided at the meeting that all DIGs and SSPs across the province will hold meetings on a monthly basis to review the procedure for the cases, which were under trial in anti-terrorism courts (ATCs). They will also monitor performance of investigation officers. Beside, the PG will hold meetings twice a month with DIGs to review the performance of IOs.

The participants in the meeting observed that the province certainly needed a very effective police force and honest-cum-efficient prosecutors who could help courts bring criminals to justice.

The meeting was informed about the main causes of poor prosecution and hence the dismal conviction rate, including absence of professional autonomy, poor training, a lack of access to basic data, inadequate tools of investigation in the police department, delay in registration of FIRs due to reluctance of police, ineffective witness protection mechanism, a lack of initiative on part of state prosecutors due to insufficient financial rewards, unending reliance on old conventional tactics, barbaric ways of investigating criminals and reluctance in use of scientific methods for investigation.

On the other hand, the matter regarding provision of security to special prosecutors of ATCs was also discussed.

Earlier, special prosecutors had approached the PG for police security for them. Most prosecutors across Sindh are concerned about their safety after withdrawal of police security from them on the orders of the Supreme Court.