LAHORE – Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the leader of the PML-N, the largest political party in the biggest Punjab province, is struggling hard to bring positive changes in the age-old Thana culture since he had taken over as the Chief Minister.

He has taken several initiatives to bring much-needed changes in the police during the last couple of years. For an instance, the CM increased the salaries of the policemen manifold and also arranged police training from Pak Army and Pakistan Rangers. He also increased compensation for the deceased or injured policemen apart from other benefits.

A state-of-the-art forensic lab called the Punjab Forensic Science Agency, said to be the latest in South Asia, has been made functional in order to probe the criminal evidence on most modern and scientific lines. In order to enhance the professional skills of the largest lawn enforcing agency, the Punjab government also sought cooperation of the Turkish and German governments to provide latest training to police in the methods of combating terrorism and crimes.

Last week while speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Police School of Information and Analysis at the Police Training School, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that the aim of setting up a safe and peaceful society could never be achieved without a vibrant police force. The CM also observed that there was a dire need to bring a paradigm shift in the traditional police system by imparting latest training to police force in the use of modern technology and curbing of terrorism and lawlessness so that Pakistan could be recognised as a peaceful and safe country in the world.

Security experts said that it was for the very first time in the history of the Punjab province that the government is taking multiple initiatives including the establishment of the Police School of Information and Analysis.

Besides training of police force on modern lines for fighting terrorism, the police school would serve as the basic platform for the professional training and capacity building of police officers.

According to insiders, the Chief Minister is pursuing the policy of making the police an active and vibrant force through provision of modern training and equipment.

In addition to increasing the strength of police force, the government is also equipping the police with modern equipment, technology, and other necessary facilities for controlling crime and terrorism.

Early this year, the Chief Minister strongly recommended Muhammad Habib-ur-Rehman as the chief of the provincial police. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab completed in-depth visits to all regional police headquarters and held detailed meetings with the senior police officers in Lahore, Bahawalpur, Multan, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Sahiwal, and Sheikhupura and other regions. 

The IGP listened to the police officers, who apprised him about the problems being faced by the police in their respective areas. He examined the crime rate, nature of heinous crimes, and record of the proclaimed offenders and hardened criminals and the police performance in each district as well.

After completing the ‘study-tours,’ the IGP briefed the Chief Minister about the crime and law and order situation, ongoing initiatives, proposed plans, police performance and deficiencies in his department.

Both the IGP and the CM agreed to change the traditional role of police department and decided to bring paradigm shift in the police system by making it as the guardian and servant of the masses in the real sense. They also reshuffled several senior police officers, who were serving on key slots in an attempt to bring right officers on right places during the last three months.

The Police School of Information and Analysis is part of the new initiatives being taken to improve the functioning of the police.

Experts believe that the provision of modern equipment, introduction of scientific principles of investigation, and improvement of professional skills would enable the police to cope with the emerging challenge of organised-crime and terrorism.

According to police, at least 460 officers and officials have been given modern training in various professional matters through 17 different courses arranged during the last six months at the school. Similarly, 60 courses would be organised next year for imparting training to 3,000 police officers in controlling crime.

The Police School has been established by Gender Responsive Policing Project (GRP), a joint venture of GIZ (an implementing agency for the Government of Germany) and National Police Bureau funded by the Foreign Office of Germany.

The purpose of the school is to provide excellent trainings on police investigation and intelligence by using latest training techniques on international standards for both men and women police officers of different ranks under the expertise of highly-skilled and professional trainers.

The school would also offer highly sophisticated class rooms equipped with up-to-date teaching facilities, a well-equipped Forensic Lab with hi-tech bugging devices along with the latest gadgets for DNA matching, fingerprints lifting and collection of evidences from crime scenes, state-of-the-art Computer Lab, library and mess facilities for the trainees and teachers.