LAHORE: The Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) has replicated the Punjab Unified Communication and Response (PUCAR 15) emergency response system in the remaining 35 districts of the province.
The centralised police emergency system at the PSCA is receiving 40,000 calls daily from all corners of Punjab, except from Lahore.
“Lahore has its own dedicated centre which, on average, is receiving 13,000 calls for emergency response,” Chief Operating Officer (COO) Akbar Nasir told Dawn.
He said now all other provinces were not only following the PSCA methodology, but also trying to emulate it. The authority had integrated multiple policing functions and programmes under one roof and one command, including the Police Integrated Emergency Response System (PIERS), the Police Intelligent Traffic Management System and Police Intelligent Counter Terrorism Surveillance System.
“The PSCA presented the idea of province-wide PIERS to the chief minister and the provincial police officer in a board meeting in February 2019,” Nasir said.
Although the entire province could not have the safe city infrastructure due to shortage of funds, it was decided to establish small District Integrated Command and Response Centres where all operational communication was to be centralised, he said.
According to the plan, all emergency calls were to be handled through that centre at the district level, and the first responders employed in all districts will reach out to the public to address their complaints instead of them going to police stations, he added.
The COO further said that a phone call to the 15 helpline could be made the basis of an FIR as it completed the requirements of Section 154 of CrPC.
He said the PUCAR 15 system had received nine million calls from 35 districts of Punjab since April 2019. This data was available to all district police officers (DPOs), regional police officers of Punjab and additional inspector general operations for further action and queries.
“Now the Punjab police have been equipped with this data and heat maps are also drawn from it in Lahore,” Mr Nasir said.
He said the PSCA had requested the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to provide locations of emergency calls but the request was pending for approval.
The PSCA had provided dashboards for assessment of response time of each district. The police and PSCA have categorised each police station into rural, semi-urban and urban categories to carry out a fair assessment of the response time.
Moreover, an SOS alert has been designed to specifically address the issues of child abuse, violence against women, torture, habeas corpus and blasphemy.
The calls related to these issues were directly sent to the deputy superintendent of police and the DPO concerned keeping in view the sensitivity of the issue.