LAHORE: Punjab has gone through four inspectors general of police (IGP) over the last nine months. But none of them, it seems, have so far made a dent on crime in the province, which has seen an alarming increase over the same period.
According to the police’s own records, crime increased by 18.7% in the first six months of the current year as compared to the previous year. A total of 200,155 cases were registered in the first half of this year as compared to the first half of the previous one, when 168,631 cases were registered. Of this year’s more than 200,000 cases, challans have been issued in 144,437 and 43,111 cases are being investigated.
The greatest increase took place in kidnapping for ransom cases. Some 27 cases have been reported this year so far, compared to only 11 cases in the first half of 2018. But as many as 5,835 people were abducted from different districts of Punjab for various other reasons.
Car and motorcycle theft also witnessed a massive spike of 36%. A total of 8,600 cars and motorcycles have been stolen in the first six months of this year, compared to 6,335 last year. Of the cars and motorcycles stolen this year, 1,340 were snatched at gun point.
As many as 1,445 women and children were raped this year, a 9% increase from the previous year. Of these, 67 were gang rape cases. Highway robberies increased by 34.7 %, with 6,350 cases reported in the first six months of this year and 4,714 cases reported in the first half of the previous year.
So far 1,550 people have been killed in fights or due to personal enmity this year. Some 4,923 cases of robbery in homes and shops were reported this year as well. Police, meanwhile, have arrested 55,119 wanted persons in the first six months of this year, compared to 60,438 arrests in the first half of 2018.
Experts pin the rise in crime in Punjab on the lack of permanent resolve provincial authorities have shown in postings of police officers. They point to the frequent shuffling of IGPs as the biggest example of this unclear attitude which has created uncertainty among subordinate officers and obstructed the formation a concrete policy. The experts also believe that despite increasing the budget allocated for the Punjab police every year, no appropriate strategy has been devised to control crime.
The Express Tribune tried to contact Punjab IGP Arif Nawaz for his views on the matter but received no response.
Model police stations get financial boost
The Lahore Police has distributed funds worth Rs9.9 million among 20 model police stations of the city
During a ceremony at Qila Gujjar Singh police lines on Tuesday, the funds were handed over to the SHOs to purchase stationary and other necessary equipment. The funds would also be used to finance the repair and maintenance of washrooms, lockups, barracks and the provision of clean drinking water.
On the occasion, Operations Wing DIG Ashfaq Khan urged the promotion of clean and green police stations. He said it was crucial to provide quality services to the masses and protect their lives and property.
The list of Model Police Stations of the city included Model Town, Kahna, Raiwind, Manga Mandi, Green Town, Mustafa Town, Sabzazar, Muslim Town, Iqbal Town, Shahdara, New Anarkali, Tibbi City, Masti Gate, Ravi Road, Defence A, Ghazi Abad, North Cantt, Mustafa Abad, Baghbanpura and Police Station South Cantt.
He said that all the police stations of the city would be provided maximum resources to further increase the scope of facilities. Addressing the SHOs, he stressed on the need to improve their overall behavior with citizens and deal with them in a polite manner.
“The common citizen is our VIP,” he stressed. He said all SHOs should remain present at police stations during fixed hours from 4pm to 6pm so they could personally hear the problems of citizens and take all possible measures to resolve them.
Before the ceremony, he presided over a meeting of all the 20 model police stations of the city and reviewed the performance of SHOs when it came to controlling crime in their respective areas. Khan looked at the progress made when it came to arresting proclaimed offenders under the A and B categories.
The DIG directed officers not to delay the registration of FIRs in cases of local and special laws, including aerial firing, kite flying and wheelies. *Additional input from our correspondent
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2019.