A senior officer of the Sindh police believes that the crime rate will automatically fall if policemen stop seeking bribes. Additional Inspector General (AIG) Crime Branch Waliullah Dil has told intelligence officials at a workshop that being a cop does not mean one can take bribe. According to the AIG, the intelligence police are not meant to provide security — even if they are obligated to do so — but to investigate, survey and gather information about crimes.
Corruption in our country is deep-rooted and has often been cited as one of the biggest evils that acts as an enabler of criminal activity. As also mentioned by AIG Dil, police officials in Pakistan are notorious for looking the other way over minor infractions if their palms are greased. Even if some of them try to avoid it initially, they finally fall to the temptation on being offered more. Some officers admit privately they use corruption and allow a base level of petty crime as a means to control the incidence of larger, organised crime. That, though, is another debate.
But what will happen if a police officer refuses to take a bribe? Will that automatically curb crime? The answer is not simple. More than just getting police officers to stop taking bribes, a will has to be developed to enforce the law. When police officers and society at large are taught to accept supremacy of the law and to apply it equally to all, it will not only curb the menace of corruption — which is more pervasive than just taking bribes — but also lower the rate of crime. There is need to adopt a holistic approach whereby a system of checks and balances within the police force is devised for eliminating all that ails the police force, and not just the rampant practice of bribery.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2019.