New relationship framework between police, public recommended

Hyderabad—The speakers at a seminar here on Saturday recommended introducing a new framework of relationship between the police and public.
These views were presented by speakers included Sindh Information Adviser Moula Bux Chandio, IG Sindh, AD Khwaja, DIG Hyderabad Khadim Rind, former police officials and civil society activists.
The event titled ‘bridging gaps: a dialogue for enhancing public police cooperation at police station’ was organized by DIG Hyderabad at police auditorium in Bhittai Nagar.
“This is not true that the people lack trust in the police,” remarked the IG while asserting that such a perception being reported by some surveys was not founded in the daily life. “In case of any emergency, the people always approach police first,” he observed.
He, however, acknowledged that the police faced the challenges of shortage in resources and the capacity for modern policing. The IG said the extra judicial measures which were being commonly referred to as ‘half fry and full fry’, implying injuring or killing of a suspect in a stagy encounter, were not supported in the police force.
He underlined the need of sensitizing the police officers as well as the rank and file for an improved relations with the civilians.
Khwaja observed that the prevailing ‘thana culture’ ought to be changed but the challenges in the lead up to accomplishing that task required resources and training.
He emphasized on the need for changing the basic structure of police force in order to make it a responsive and people-friendly force, pointing towards replacing the age-old 1861 Act with new legislation incorporating the modern policing structure.
The IG said the police officers awaiting transfers and postings should keep patience instead of taking recourse to the route of approaching the officials in this regard.
The DIG Rind recalled that he decided to join the police when he was once intimidated by a gunman of a police officer because one of his friends had mistakenly touched the officer’s vehicle.
“The gunman beat my friend and then he put his gun on his chest when he argued. They didn’t stop there and arrest my friend’s father following the situation,” he told recalling an incident of 1988 which motivated him to compete in the competitive exams.
Former Sindh IGP Niaz Siddiqui expatiated on how the police-community relation were pivotal in shaping a crime free society. He said Article 4 of constitution even ensured the rights of a criminal who was a citizen of the country stressing that they should be dealt with in accordance with law.
He said the police should expect others to respect the law and pointed to a study that claimed that a majority of people in the society lacked trust on the police.
Siddiqui said the existing police law was a colonial legacy adding that the 19th century law was made to control the people instead of enforcing the law.
“The police enforce the law without the community’s support. This often results in the absence or evasion of the witnesses, low conviction rate and strained police-public relationship,” he observed. He also underscored the necessity of posting the women police officers, making the community policing centres functional and establishing human rights cells.
Jami Chandio, an activist and writer, contended that it was an established fact that the police were a tool of the state instead of being a service oriented force for the community. Another former IGP Shahid Nadeem Baloch also agreed that the police inherited the prevailing system from the colonial era, admitting that the 1861 model had not been changed as per the present needs.—APP

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