Policy paralysis: SHOs confused by conflicting directions

Iqbal Town SP says the emphasis is on preventing crime, patrolling increased.

Express August 08, 2011


The station house officers (SHOs) of police stations across the city have been having a hard time trying to comply with conflicting orders from their seniors, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The SHOs, most of them new to the job, are confused about whose orders to follows.

Sources say that the DIG (operations), Ghulam Mehmood Dogar wants the SHOs to take an aggressive approach towards combating crime, take proactive measures and go hard at the suspects.

However, in a meeting with SSP (operations) Shaukat Abbas, the SHOs were criticised for being ‘over aggressive’ which he, crated a “bad image of police among public. The SSP directed the SHOs to spend more time at the Police stations and designate more of the operational responsibilities to their subordinates. He discouraged what he called ‘useless patrolling’. However, on the other hand, orders have been given to the SDPO’s by divisional Superintendents to ensure that SHOs engage in frequent patrolling. SHOs say the conflicting orders are greatly undermining their ability to perform efficiently.

Iqbal Town SP, Muntazir Mehdi said that the emphasis currently was on prevention of crime. He said a policy featuring a lot of patrolling had been adopted in view of the objective. Model Town SP, Malik Awais said that there were two approaches to fighting crime. One was of proactive detection and apprehension of criminals. The other was a preventive approach, calling for more patrolling to prevent crimes from taking place. He said that currently most of the police force was following the latter approach. Meanwhile, senior officers continued to disagree on what was the best strategy.

However, he said too much patrolling was keeping the SHOs from undertaking investigative work and to address other matters in their areas. He said that the problem had worsened with the onset of Ramazan as now SHOs were also required for Ramazan duties from Fajr till Isha, leaving them with no time for anything else.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2011.