LAHORE: The provincial police, for the first time, have published online an album of 204 female thieves with their pictures and particulars to sensitize citizens about the domestic workers having criminal history.

The photos of at least 204 women from all over the province are uploaded on the website of the Punjab police on the “public services” page. The addresses of these housemaids and the cases reported against them are also mentioned on the online page.

A police officer yesterday said the initiative was part of the police plans to maintain and update the data of criminals online. This practice of information sharing with public will help build police image and bridge the communication gap as well, he said.

“The police department has printed the data regarding domestic servants who are involved in crimes in order to create awareness among the people,” the officer said.

Sources in the central police office revealed that the decision to upload the photos of such domestic servants was taken amid sizeable surge in the incidents of theft and house robberies in the big cities of the province.

According to police sources, these women used to get hired as housemaids in posh localities. “After working there for a few days they used to flee after robbing their employers,” a police investigator said.

In some cases, the lady bandits used to rob families after serving them intoxicated meal. Also, the Lahore police reported a few cases in which the lady bandits robbed rich families at gunpoint with the help of their male accomplices.

Since these domestic workers rob rich and influential families, therefore they are frequently subjected to police torture during interrogation. The policemen badly torture these women to recover looted valuables from their possession.

There are a few hundred women who are serving in the 180,000 strong Punjab police. Only 127 police officers had been recruited as sub inspectors in the police department a couple of year ago. They are deployed in different police stations of Lahore but the female crime suspects are mainly interrogated by male officers in the police stations.

Most of the female crime suspects are kept in male police stations as there are only two women police stations in the Punjab province.

An official said the police printed data of the criminals who had a long crime history. “They are habitual criminals who were mostly involved in crimes against property. “They are history-sheeters who were sent to jails for more than two times,” the official said.

The police have also uploaded the data and photos of criminals involved in dacoities, robberies, auto-lifting, child abuse, burglary, and cattle-theft. 

In the section of child abuse, the photos of at least 35 criminals are uploaded. Similarly, the police also printed the data of another 639 criminals involved dacoities. The photos of at least 84 car thieves are also published online.

The pictures of 289 criminals involved cattle-theft are also published. Most of the cattle theft cases were reported in the far-flung areas of the province last year.

A police spokeswoman said the department started entering the data of criminals into the high-tech system early this month. “(The) Punjab Police retains a record of all the arrests and makes every conviction public. This data of the criminals is grouped in different categories to educate masses,” the spokeswoman said. Citizens can get information about the criminals online by visiting the Punjab police website www.punjabpolice.gov.pk.” says the spokesperson.

According to crime and security experts, the criminal records are stored in massive databases which can provide police agencies located around the world access to important information when they need it.

“Every police agency that makes an arrest retains a record of it, just as every court that convicts someone of a crime retains a record. All court convictions are public record and can be searched and viewed by anyone,” they said.

Some experts raised questions over this police initiative saying that the law enforcing agency registers a large number of fake crime cases every year. Therefore, the database could be exploited or misused. 

In America and the West, this type of data mainly includes crimes such as felonies (murder and rape) as well as serious misdemeanors (robbery, assault, etc). 

Use of this database is not permitted for employment checks by private citizens and is strictly for the use of justice agencies throughout the United Sates. A person is only entered into this database when the FBI obtains fingerprints data.