LAHORE The Punjab Police, after weeks-long discussions and consultations, have sent two different proposals to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in order to improve the functioning of the department. According to the officials, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Javed Iqbal has strongly recommended to the CM to divide the big cities like Lahore and Gujranwala into various divisions on administrative grounds on the pattern of Karachi. The first proposal suggested that the Punjab capital should be divided into eight or nine different divisions and the top police command at each division should also be reorganised. The other proposal presented before the Board was related to the direct recruitments of officers of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Inspector and Sub Inspector ranks. The appointments would be made through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) provided the Chief Minister approves the plan. Early last month, the IGP approved Police Executive Board (PEB) to initiate a collective decision-making and strengthen institutional mechanism for effective implementation of policies of the police department. The Board held consecutive and hours-long meetings during the last couple of weeks at the Provincial Police Headquarters with top officers opposing and endorsing several proposals. There were several meetings and again discussions after lunch breaks. The officers participated in hot debates while opposing and endorsing the ideas, one of the participants said during informal chat with this reporter. There was no consensus for several days but as the deadline for compiling recommendation was approaching fast, the top officers collectively reached on an agreement on two-points; divide Lahore into nine divisions on administrative grounds and recruit Sub Inspectors (investigators) directly to improve the working of the investigation wing of the police. It will not be out of context to mention here that the IGP is the head of the Police Executive Board (PEB) whereas all the departmental heads are its members. Similarly, all regional, city, divisional and district police officers are asked to attend board meetings, if necessary. The board meets once in a month officially but in the above-mentioned case several meetings were held every week. The office of the Punjab additional IG is the boards secretariat and it is working as the IGPs cabinet. After developing consensus, the board advised the provincial police officer on policy issues regarding annual provincial policing plan and recommended a few changes in the police set up. The initiative is said to be the first of its kind in the history of Punjab Police. The board has recommended the proposals to the CM at a time when Mian Shahbaz Sharif is totally disappointed with the performance of the police department. Obviously, during the last two years, the CM took several initiatives for the welfare of the policemen, increased their salaries manifold, got them trained from Pak Army and Rangers to improve their professional skills and announced special incentives for the cops but the police are still working on as is where is basis. In fact, the top police officers have failed to deliver on all fronts from heinous crimes to street crimes, corruption to police highhandedness, and law and order situation to security of common people. The crime rate in the heart of Punjab province has swelled to an alarming level which is evident from the fact that incidents of heinous crimes such as bank dacoities, kidnapping for ransom, dacoity-cum-murder and house robberies are taking place in every nook and corner of the metropolis with impunity. Last week, dacoits gunned down a 60-year-old contractor and injured his partner on offering resistance at a busy intersection in broad daylight in Lytton Road police vicinity and fled away after snatching Rs 10 million from the victim. Police investigators have failed to make any breakthrough in this case like several other such incidents, which took place in Lahore in the recent past. As a matter of fact, dacoits killed eight people on offering resistance since August in the City but the police have failed to nab even a single gangster involved in this heinous crime. During the last three months, dacoits looted seven braches of different banks and took away millions of rupees but again the police performance is zero. Now, the Punjab police have come up with new ideas to reorganise the policing in big cities. Induction of new officers as investigators in the police is also part of the new idea. Will such initiatives help root-out corruption from the age-old and typical policing or can a few hundred cops bring any positive change in the police attitude at grass-root level is a multi-million dollar question?