LAHORE - Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif in the recent past underlined the need for evolving a strategy for controlling crimes. While jointly presiding over a meeting about the police reforms in the Punjab along with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore, the prime minister had stated that the police personnel should be provided professional training on scientific lines in order to bring a positive change in the Thana culture. The PM believed that training the cops would go a long way in enhancing performance and capacity building of the police to ensure quick response in case of crime happenings and to control over the crimes in the Punjab.

Despite the stern warnings by the prime minister, the police working has been worsening with every passing day in the Punjab which is evident from the fact that the crimes rate is multiplying in the largest province. Apart from street crimes, murders during armed robberies, abductions, and other heinous crimes are on the rise.

From January to June 2013, the Punjab police reported more than 47668 cases of crimes against property including 1281 cases of dacoities involving more than five gunmen in each incident, and 8389 cases of armed robberies.

At least 6594 cases of burglary, 1062 cases of theft, 9810 cases of motor-vehicle theft and 3087 cases of motor-vehicle snatching have been reported in the Punjab province during the first six month of this year. The police also reported 3360 cases of cattle-theft, and 14085 cases of crimes against property in the category of other nature of crimes.

Not enough, at least 27285 cases of crimes against persons have also been registered in the Punjab province including 3035 cases of murder, 3377 cases of attempted to murder, and 8858 cases of hurt. Similarly, the police also registered 7074 cases of abductions or kidnappings, and 65 cases of kidnappings for ransom. Police record reveals that 1235 cases of rape and 84 cases of gang-rape were also reported during the first six months of this year in the province. The police also registered 3357 cases of crimes against person in the category of other nature as well.

According to the police sources, at least 116 cases of murder, 144 of dacoity, 3150 of robbery, 1309 of burglary, and more than 3100 cases of motor vehicle theft or snatching have been declared as untraced. It indicates that the investigations into these cases have been shelved, once for all, and such cases would be traced only if a miracle would happen. Police also admitted more than two dozen people were gunned down as they tried to put up resistance against armed robberies. The situation indicates a considerable surge in such incidents.

The police record reveals that at least 12897 vehicles were either snatched or stolen away from different parts of the province during the first six months of this year, suggesting 20 percent increase in the incidents of auto-lifting if compared to the previous year.

What to say about the unreported cases of crimes taking place in the province, where the law enforcement agency has admitted its poor performance in dealing with cases of heinous crimes in the official record as well.

Out of total 65 cases of kidnapping for ransom registered this year so far, at least 18 cases are still under investigations. The police have also failed to trace the whereabouts of the son of the former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who was kidnapped at gunpoint from his hometown in May. The conviction rate has also put a big question mark on the working of the Investigation Wing of the law enforcement agency.

According to police, at least 183512 cases of crimes of various natures have been registered this year so far while only 34378 accused have been till June 2013. Last year, accused person in at least 36597 cases had been convicted. The trend indicates poor working of the investigation wing of the Punjab police.

In their campaign manifesto, the PML-N had pledged the much-needed police reforms besides cleaning the mess in the corruption-riddled police department. Under the present scenario, it seemed that the things are moving in the wrong directions despite stern warnings by the powerful prime minister.

Crimes experts suggest that the prime minister must review the law and order situation in the Punjab province on monthly basis and the inept officers must be taken to task. The more the PML-N leadership will hold the top cops accountable, the better the police would deliver to improve the worsening law and order situation in the largest province.