Misbehaviour within police remains rampant

Incidents reflect flaws in hierarchy and mechanism of accountability

Muhammad Shahzad May 12, 2020

LAHORE: At least three incidents of alleged misbehavior, abuse of authority and discrimination with subordinates within the police were recently reported in different parts of the province.

Such incidents were a reflection of the flawed hierarchy and accountability mechanism skewed in favour of senior cadre of the force.

These and many other incidents, the rankers believe, also showed that in the department’s overall working the senior officers enjoy an optimum level of impunity.

The hierarchy was designed in such a way that the subordinate will land into hot waters whether for obeying or disobeying an illegal order.

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If he or she, on an order or wish of an officer, brings up rules and the officer is annoyed, there is no way to protect the subordinate.

Similarly, if something goes wrong in an incident due to use of authority by police and the accountability mechanism takes its course, only rankers face the brunt.

The officers do not even bother to protect them when other departments are involved for proceeding according to the law.

A ranker quoted the Model Town tragedy as a classic example. He added that the subordinates followed the orders of the command. However, when the accountability mechanism was initiated, no PSP officer faced any action.

Majority of the senior command, after some time, resumed their duties and a few with field jobs. An officer who was divisional SP at the time of the incident, was posted as SSP for internal accountability in the provincial capital where the tragedy occurred.

During last week, three incidents occurred where subordinates of Punjab Police, in one way or the other, went through mistreatment due to flawed hierarchy of the department.

The first case was reported in Lahore where a female sub-inspector (SI) deputed as an investigation officer in anti-gender violence crime cell alleged that the Nawan Kot DSP hurled abuses on her in public.

However, the DSP denied the allegations and submitted a complaint against the officer.

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In another incident in Kasur, a police constable stated that an officer, for no reason, publicly humiliated, assaulted and abused him. The constable was allegedly dragged and assaulted in a bazaar.

A few days after the incident, news surfaced that both parties had reconciled.

The law took a pause before taking its path against the officer for blatant misuse of authority.

Another incident was reported in Faisalabad where an SI was reportedly suspended from field duty. The SI was sent to Police Lines for not releasing an arrested proclaimed offender (PO) after intervention of two officers reportedly associated with intelligence wing of Punjab Police.

Violent crimes continue

During the past week, citizens of the provincial capital did not see a respite in incidents of crime against people and property. Street robberies, including injuries over resistance, went on uninterrupted.

On Friday, a female teacher was shot and injured by a suspected robber in Model Town. She reportedly had just left a bank after withdrawing money from an ATM when the incident occurred. 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2020.


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