KARACHI: Majority of the complaints received on Karachi police's WhatsApp helpline, during the first six months of 2019, were ironically against police officials. According to statistics released by the police, of the 1,603 complaints received on the helpline from January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019, 696, which is more than 40% of the total complaints, were made against police officials.
As a result, action was taken against 40 officials - 23 of them were meted out severe punishments while 17 others were given minor punishments.
On the basis of the complaints received on the WhatsApp helpline, 10 policemen from Korangi police station, as well as one each from Ferozabad police station, Sahil police station, Defence police station and traffic police department were suspended on charges of extortion. Moreover, another official from Rizvia police station was also demoted and suspended for the same crime.
Similarly, an official from Darakhshan police station and another from Taimooria police station was suspended for inappropriate behavior.
An official from Boat Basin Police Station also faced suspension for beating citizens. Additionally, a policeman posted at Nabi Bakhsh police station was sent to quarter guard and 16 officials from court police were transferred. An official from the office of South Zone SSP was also suspended for violating the police's code of conduct and a show-cause was issued to an Anti-Car Lifting Cell official found to be involved in organised crime.
Apart from the complaints against police officials, 178 complaints were made against public violence, 135 against illegal occupation of land, 92 against drug abuse, 85 against threats, 83 against cases of fraud, 61 pertaining to missing persons, 53 against robberies, 52 against snatching, 45 against theft and 22 against kidnapping.
Moreover, of the total complaints, 276 were received in January, 194 in February, 209 in March, 282 in April, 316 in May and 326 in June. On the basis of these complaints, 169 FIRs were registered in different police stations across the city. A breakdown shows that 27 FIRs were registered in the month of January, 23 in February, 28 in March, 34 in April, 26 in May and 31 in June.
Investigation was initiated regarding all the complaints received on WhatsApp helpline this year, and among these, all cases pertaining to gambling, sexual abuse and extortion were concluded.
The WhatsApp helpline was initiated last year, on the orders of Karachi police chief, to address citizen's problems. According to the Karachi police representative, citizens have thanked the police, through video messages, for addressing and resolving their issues.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2019.