Being taken for a ride: Over 127 snatchings in a week but not a single mugger caught

Dolphin Force never seems to be around when street criminals are active


Qaiser Shirazi September 11, 2018
PHOTO: FILE

RAWALPINDI: In what can be described as irresponsible and pathetic state of affairs it has been reported that that over 127 incidents of snatching have occurred in Rawalpindi division and not a single mugger caught.

This gives rise to questions about the performance of Dolphin Force and the purpose of its existence as a mobile squad to catch criminals.

“Due to the dismal performance of the police, there has been a dangerous increase in street crimes in Rawalpindi,” Ahmed Ali, a concerned citizen told Daily Express.

According to official sources, the Dolphin Force was busy in catching liquor, drugs and street peddlers only instead of doing the job it has been set up for,which is apprehending street criminals.

The motorbike mounted squad has fancy uniforms puts up a great show at parades and flag marchs which is about all it is good for sources said.

“Dolphin Force is now merely a unit that spends millions of rupees worth petrol on patrolling every month,” said a disgruntled police officer who termed it a waste of resources and duplication of work.

“In the past one week 127 incidents of armed robberies have occurred on the streets all over the district, but there was no team of Dolphin Force in the area to chase and catch the criminals,” he said requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the media.

According to the crime data released by police headquarters daily, the areas worst affected by street crimes are Haqa, Gawalmandi, Rail Pul and Mareer Chowk.

Some places in the remits of City police station such as Data Ganj Baksh Road, the stretch from Saddar Chowk to Govt Denney’s High School, the areas of Shahan Di Talian, Chota Bazaar besides Band Khanna Road, Gulzar Quaid Road, Islamabad Expressway service road, Pirwadahi Road, Chaklala Oil Depot Road have become notorious for armed robberies. Motorbike riders wantonly intercept bikers and people in small vehicles to snatch cash, cell phones and valuables, crime data shows.

Muggers on bikes, emboldened by lack of police action, have now started snatching purse and jewelry of women coming to shopping centres or going home after work.

There has been a record 100% increase in such incidents, a police official said quoting data of daily crime report every precinct sends to the headquarters.

Loophole

The gravity of crime and severity of punishment both are different in case of armed robbery and snatching that comes under theft.

However, in snatching cases police station personnel try to avoid booking cases of armed robbery and classify them as only snatching, though the victims were made to part with their belongings at gunpoint on fear of losing their lives, a police source explained.

The precincts to show better performance do not register armed robbery cases as it would reflect badly on their record.

Uncertainty in force

Another problem in the police department these days is uncertainty of postings.

According to sources in the department, officers don’t know if they would be on their seat the next day. With the formation of new government, all the police officers anticipating expected changes have stopped working. The officers instead of issuing instructions for the arrest of robbers and street criminals were expecting news of transfers. 

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2018.

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