LAHORE – City Police Chief Ahmad Raza Tahir presided over a high-level meeting held at the headquarters last week to renew commitment and determination for the year 2012. It was an unusual gathering of the police officers who, who expressed their resolve to work with renewed determination in the New Year.

All the senior police officers from both the Investigations and Operations wings of the City attended the meeting. Apart from all the divisional SPs, the SSP of Discipline and Inspection and SSP (Admin) were also present there.

Insiders said that the meeting lasted for three hours in which the crime and law and order situation, police performance and major happenings that took place in Lahore in 2011 were discussed in detail. The officers also floated new ideas and presented different proposals in order to improve the functioning of the department.

It was decided at the end that the Operations and Investigations wings of the City would have to work as a united team to eliminate criminals and to eradicate crime from the City.

The top cops also decided to set up a Financial Crime Unit, which would specifically investigate the cases relating to financial transactions and bogus bounces. Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Ahmad Raza Tahir approved the idea.

The City police chief also directed the officers to effectively launch crackdown against top ten criminals and each police station was given a special task to nab the Proclaimed Offenders and hardened criminals, who still are at large. The officers also expressed their determination that the most wanted criminals according to the Black Book 2011 would be arrested amid massive crackdown.

The participants also pledged that both the Operations and Investigation wings would have to launch a coordinated and joint campaign against criminals because the eradication of crimes is their collective responsibility. The officers also pledged that neither they would misuse their powers nor provide help and assistance to the criminal elements. The CCPO called upon police officers to adopt an attitude of reward and punishment in balanced way towards their subordinate staff, where good work should be appreciated while inefficient officers should be taken to task.

It was a very positive thing because all the police officers sat together and promised to launch a successful operation to eradicate crimes from the City, where more than 30,000 criminals declared as Proclaimed Offenders are still at large. The overall crime rate swelled to above 20 per cent in 2011 if compared with 2010.

The incidents of heinous crimes such as dacoity-cum-murder, kidnappings for ransom, bank robberies, killings, and street crimes also registered a sharp increase last year.

For an instance, three high-profile kidnappings including of Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain governor Punjab Salman Taseer and American ‘expert’ Dr Warren Weinstein were reported last year in the City but the police are still unable to recover the abductees.

Militants struck at least 12 branches of different private and commercial banks and snatched away millions of rupees during daylight robberies but the police failed to nab any of the gangsters involved in such incidents.

According to police record, at least 51 people were kidnapped for ransom while in a few cases the kidnappers gunned down the abductees even after receiving the ransom amount. Apart from 281 dacoities in which five or more gangsters looted their victims at gunpoint, at least 4100 robberies were reported last year. No less than 3177 vehicles were either snatched or stolen from different parts of the City in 2010. Hence, the City police New Year’s resolution is welcome.

When the police officers pledged that they would leave no stone unturned to provide protection to the lives and property of the citizens this year, they should also promise that no custodial killing will be tolerated and the cops must behave gently and softly with the ordinary people. They should also pledge that no policeman would accept illegal gratification at least from the poorest.