Police revise policy amid increased brutality cases

Published: October 1, 2019
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 PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: Police have adopted a new policy when it comes to the arrest and detention of suspects after the force faced much criticism due to the recent spate of police brutality/custodial deaths.

Footage emerged on social media and TV channels of such incidents, triggering action against not only the involved officers, but also drawing severe criticism for the entire force.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior police official told The Express Tribune that officers have been directed to document the arrests of theft, robbery and trafficking suspects. He added they had also been ordered to ensure that the detained persons are immediately presented before a court.

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The official said that if the accused are handed back to the police on remand, they should not be harmed in any way nor pressurised into giving up the ‘loot’. Due to some unfortunate decisions made by investigation officers, the police department has been plunged into a crisis-like situation. SHOs and investigation in-charges of various police stations asked how they would be able to bring the accused to justice if unable to conduct a proper investigation and recover looted wealth.

Former CCPO Lahore Chaudhry Muhammad Shafiq told The Express Tribune that recovering goods looted in burglaries, robberies and other offences was the responsibility of the police. He added if the police sent the accused to court without a thorough inquiry, it would be akin to not fulfilling responsibilities for which they are duty bound.

Chaudhry Shafiq further added that when an accused is arrested, investigators adopt the same method of beating and torturing. He said it would be preferable if they used modern means such as polygraph test etc. “Also, it is important for an investigation officer to make the accused realise that all shreds of evidence against him/her have been collected.

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Law expert Syed Farhad Ali Shah told The Express Tribune that the collection of evidence is the duty of the police. “If the police do not make recoveries, how can relief be provided to the affected people?” he asked.

He added police can conduct operations and make arrests on the court’s orders, but it was the duty of investigation officers to recover looted money. “The court punishes the accused on the basis of the recovery and other evidence.” Some locals have also voiced concerns over the new policy adopted by the Punjab police. They said that after the arrest of the accused, the police are expected to recover their looted money or goods so the policy should be reconsidered.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2019.

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