Community policing in metropolis

May 15, 2017

LAHORE - City police officers and community leaders last week agreed to improve working relationship. They would help police hunt down criminals and intensify surveillance in societies as part of the recently-introduced community policing initiative.

Lahore’s Mayor, Deputy Mayors, all chairmen, vice-chairmen, and councilors gathered at Alhamra and discussed plans to make communities safer. It was, perhaps, the first major interaction between top police officers and public representatives. CCPO Muhammad Amin Wains, DIG Sultan Chaudhry, SSP Rana Ayaz Saleem, and all divisional police officers were present in the meeting.

On this occasion, City police chief Amin Wains said that more than 3000 community leaders were enlisted under the latest “Local Eye software” designed with the help of Punjab information technology board to strengthen surveillance in the provincial metropolis. According to him, this community policing initiative would empower the representatives of local government bodies, particularly female community leaders.

City police department last month launched the “Local Eye” software to bridge communication gap between officers and local councilors. CCPO Amin Wains also appealed to the community leaders to help police secure the city and its residents. He said the digital technology enabled city police to end communication gap between police and the public.

Under the community policing project, councilors and community leaders are just a click away. “They can report crime incidents to police within seconds and all reports will be seen simultaneously at various levels,” the city police chief said.

The officer further said the police would defeat criminals and terrorists with the active support of local leaders and citizens. He said that city police, in recent years, had launched several software and mobile phone applications to improve wo0rking of the department.

Earlier, the police chief had announced that if someone uses the local eye software to give police important information, he would be equally rewarded. Also, the police are reviewing all complaints and reports on fortnightly and monthly basis.

Police officers say this new crime-preventing technology was designed to bridge communication gap between police officers and elected representatives. The plan is part of a full-fledged digital policing project that is underway in the province.

They say the Local Eye software would help police improve coordination with public at police station level as the new software will help Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen, and Councilors to contact the top ranking police officers within a few seconds in case of any problem. The public representatives can also report complaints against police by busing this software.

In Lahore, the Local Eye was activated following the successful launching of Hotel Eye system. Last year, city police had linked more than 500 hotels with the crime database at state-of-the-art control rooms. The police also checked the entries of no less than 200,000 guests in just 60 days.

On the other hand, the government is ready to appoint new Punjab police chief since the role of national public safety commission has been eliminated. Last week, the Punjab government amended the Police Order 2002 through an Ordinance.

According to officials, the role of the commission had been deleted because it was never constituted and as a matter fact, it was simply a legal hurdle in the appointment of provincial police chief.

The Police Order (Amendment) Ordinance 2017 promulgated by the Governor amends Article 11 (1) of the Order stating that the provincial government shall, out of a panel of three police officers recommended by the federal government, post a police officer of the rank of inspector general of police as provincial police officer of the province.

As per the amended Article, the expression “by the National Public Safety Commission from a list provided” shall be omitted. In its original form, the Article had stated that the provincial government shall, out of a panel of three police officers “recommended by the National Public Safety Commission from a list provided” by the federal government, post a police officer of the rank of inspector general of police as provincial police officer of the province.

The move comes as Lahore High Court ordered the federal and Punjab governments to appoint a permanent inspector general of police, within in a month, for a period of three years.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah issued the order while hearing a petition seeking enforcement of a number of provisions of Police Order and challenging the appointment of acting Punjab IGP.

The CJ ordered the governments to form within the same period provincial and districts level public safety commissions as envisaged by Police Order 2002. Advocate Saad Rasool argued that appointments of IGPs and CCPOs should be made on the recommendations of the duly constituted National Public Safety Commission. However, he said, the commission had never been properly constituted since the promulgation of police order in 2002. He pointed out that the Police Order also envisaged that IGPs, CCPOs or DPOs must not be transferred before the expiry of their three-year term and in case transfer was to be made before three years, the same would be done by the commission. He argued that four IGPs had been transferred since 2013 with average tenure of nine months.

During the course of hearing, a provincial law officer told the court that the police order 2002 had been amended recently eliminating the role of National Public Safety Commission in the appointment of IGP.

He pointed out that the provincial government would now appoint the IGP from among a panel of three eligible police officers recommended by the federal government. At this, the chief justice ordered the government to ensure appointment of a permanent IGP in the province within the period of not more than one month. The chief justice also directed that the appointment of the permanent IGP would be for a fixed tenure of three years as desired by the Police Order 2002.

(The Nation)