LAHORE – Police in our society is known as the most corrupt institution. The reason is very simple, the policemen while directly dealing with the public get bribe from both the accused and the complainant.

They mint money for registering the cases and also for not registering or twisting the cases. They extort cash for applying harsh methods of interrogation on the accused and also receive bribe for questioning in gentle way. In very simple words, the police are the only department, where the cops pay or get bribe even from their colleagues for duty postings and for sanctioning leaves.

Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the leader of the PML-N, the largest political party in the biggest Punjab province, is trying his level best to bring positive changes in the ancient Thana culture but he has poorly failed. The CM Punjab took several initiatives to bring much-needed changes in the police during the last couple of years. He increased the salaries of the policemen manifold and announced many incentives. He also arranged police training from Pak Army and Pakistan Rangers and increased compensation for the deceased or injured policemen apart from other benefits for their families.

Unfortunately, despite all his efforts, the corruption in the police department is on the rise instead of decrease. According to Transparency International Pakistan’s (TIP’s) national corruption perception survey, 2011, land administration and police were the two most corrupt departments in this poverty-hit country.

For instance, 90 per cent of the police officers serving in the police stations across the Punjab either had been suspended or terminated from their services so many times on charges ranging from corruption to misuse of power. They are punished but they again get postings on lucrative posts by using all means.

When corruption is on the rise in the police department, the crime rate is also swelling to an alarming with kidnappings, killings, and armed dacoities taking place all over the province and every day. The priority of the cops remains minting money rather than controlling crime.

Now, the Chief Minister has come up with a novel idea that is to establish at least 100 Model Police Stations to make the department a corruption-free and the Punjab a crime-free province.

Insiders say that the establishment of Modern Police Station is the brainchild of the Provincial Police Chief Javed Iqbal, and has been endorsed by the CM himself.

A training course for the Station House Officers (SHOs) to be deployed at Model Police Stations is already underway.

On Monday last, while addressing the SHO’s of Model Police Stations at Management and Professional Development Department, IGP revealed that 100 Model Police Stations would start working from March 23, 2012. The day is celebrated as Pakistan Day across the country because March 23 is the day when ‘Pakistan Resolution’ was adopted in Lahore in 1940.

According to the IGP, at least 20 Model Police Stations will be set up in Lahore while four in Sheikhupura, 4 in Sahiwal, 5 in Sargodha, three in Bahawalpure, four in DG Khan, and 15 in each region including Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Multan.

These police stations would be equipped with latest technology including CCTV Cameras, computers, and investigations kits, along with the provision of latest mobile phones to the SHOs. The SHOs will be bound to inform the relatives/families in case of any arrest. Issuance of electronic receipts to the complainant and manual card having mentioned the case progress will be helpful in changing of Thana Culture.

Not enough, monthly grant of Rs 100,000 to big cities SHOs of Model Police Stations and Rs 15,000 per month allowance proposals have already been furnished before the government. A minimum graduate level ASI and intermediate level Head Constable would be appointed as Moharrar in these Police Stations.

Last week, a senior police officer told me privately that the CM Punjab Mr Shahbaz Sharif desperately wanted to see constructive changes in the police functioning. He believes that it was not possible until and unless some “revolutionary steps” are taken.

He also suggested the Chief Minister must stop political intervention in postings and transfer matters. He says that many incompetent officers are enjoying postings on key slots due to their close connection with the CM. “To change the system, you need to replace the leadership not the equipments,” he said.

In fact, if the police are made corruption-free, it will automatically bring down crime rate in the province and would also help provide justice to the depressed.