The Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, has criticised police check posts once more. Like many others, he believes that the practice of manning check posts in the present age has become obsolete. Instead, a better strategy would be to use technology for surveillance purposes and tracking down criminals through the use of data and investigative mechanisms.

The idea that crime can be prevented if the police make themselves immobile in one location for days or months on end, relying on randomised checks of a very small percentage of those that frequent these areas is outdated. Not just that, but it also opens up avenues for the abuse of authority and corruption.

In principle, police, when stationed at a location, should be a sign of comfort and safety for both residents and passersby. On the contrary, in many cases, these police check posts have become sites of abuse of authority and harassment of people. There have been too many incidents of field officers treating these posts as a lucrative site to make money. Demanding bribes from citizens to thicken their pockets when they are supposed to be preventing crime puts a big question mark on the whole exercise of the police using stop and search as a legitimate tactic in this day and age.

Additionally, police posts also make police officials vulnerable to attacks from extremists, as they stand in the open and search vehicles and people with no protection at all. Luckily, many senior officers in the police service also think that police checkpoints, under normal circumstances, are becoming counterproductive. Studies from many other countries suggest that saturation patrols over checkpoints are more effective. Pakistan must also adapt to the demands of the present times.