Published in Daily Times on March 5, 2017
PESHAWAR: There is no one above law, it applies to everyone indiscriminately including citizens as well as implementers and legislators of law. Rule of law influences authority of law in the society.
The three main areas/ pillars of KP Police reforms are Capacity Building, Structural Reforms and Community Engagement. These views were presented by CCPO Peshawar, Muhammad Tahir Khan during a Public Forum on KP police reforms, at Peshawar Press Club, held by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS).
Tahir Khan said that key considerations of the major KP police reforms were professionalism, operational autonomy and accountability. The KP police - through capacity building initiatives - are injecting maximum possible resources into its human capital for its professional training and grooming. Several specialized schools in this regard are playing a critical role in capacitating the police in different areas of specialization with behavioral change at the core.
Several new wings have been raised as part of structural reforms including Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), Rapid Response Force (RRF), Special Combat Unit (SCU), Traffic Wardens Unit, and Canine Unit where women are playing important roles in all these departments. With the incorporation of Information Technology in KP police reforms, around 1.3 million FIRs have been digitalized so far and extensive database of Tennant Information Forms (TIF) is also available with the KP police now. Hotspot policing is also an important IT tool which helps prevention of heinous crimes. The Identity Verification System, Criminal Record Verification System (CRVS) and Vehicle Verification System (VVS) verify critical information within few minutes and have eased both police and public from unnecessary hassle. The SOS system can alert the law enforcement agencies in emergency situations and is capable of sending the exact coordinates of the location/ installment that needs rapid response.
He also shared that the Police Information Network (PIN) has also been established which ensures the secrecy of any information shared with the police related to crimes and terrorism or any other activity jeopardizing peace of the society. He said that the recruitment system has also been revised and made through NTS. Similarly, the promotion system has also been revised and linked with performance and training. The fast track promotion, a channel for speedy promotion is also worth mentioning.
As part of community engagement, the initiative of Dispute Resolution Councils (DRCs) is a flagship service to provide speedy justice to the citizens. This alternate dispute resolution system - which has formalized the traditional Jirga system - has reduced the burden of cases on police and judiciary. This has also helped addressing the small disputes which if left unaddressed can lead to serious crimes. Police Assistance Lines (PAL) is also providing several dedicated services under a single roof. The Public Liaison Councils (PLCs) are also helping crimes control and maintaining peace in the areas of their operation. Several laws have been enacted to back, institutionalize and sustain the KP police reforms.
He concluded that the effectivity of KP Police reforms is manifest in the significant reduction (around 50%) in crimes and incidents of terrorism. He also informed that there was a meaningful progress in actions against the criminal activities in the society.
The forum was part of the project "Ulasi Police" an awareness and advocacy campaign undertaken by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) - as part of USAID Small Grants and Ambassadors' Fund Program - to strengthen the rule of law in KP province by promoting and disseminating the significant police reforms aimed at incorporating local communities' policing needs and international human rights standards. The endeavor aims to tackle the trust deficit between the public and police, help KP police become an accountable and community-focused police force.
Professor Ghulam Rehmani said that rule of law was extremely important for peaceful and crime-free society. "The KP Police Act 2017 binds police to give due respect to the members of public and holds them accountable for their actions and services geared towards citizens". The rule of law requires joint public-police partnership. The public must realize the immense sacrifices of KP police laid going above and beyond the call of their duty.
Arif Yousaf, advisor to CM, KP said that the KP police was free from political influence and ever more accountable. The police reforms have been institutionalized with several legislations to ensure sustainability of services oriented towards public welfare.
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