Digital summons help limit police harassment

Number of complaints about harassment at police stations declined by up to 80 per cent says police spokesperson

Imran Asghar June 25, 2021


The virtual summoning of citizens for investigations and inquiries has resulted in a significant drop with regard to harassment of citizens at police stations across Rawalpindi.

According to a police spokesperson, the number of complaints from suspects, plaintiffs and witnesses about harassment at police stations has declined by up to 80 per cent after the introduction of online summoning system six months back.

Prior to the introduction of the digital system, investigation officers (IOs) had unrestrained powers which they abused and misused to call citizens to the police stations gratuitously, the official added.

He said that the Punjab government had introduced the system to change police culture under which all inquiries and investigations at all 30 police stations and the Women's Police Station in Rawalpindi had been linked to digitised summon orders.

The whole data of the citizens being summoned to the police stations had been computerised through e-tagging, he notified. All senior officers, including the city police officer, can check the complete record of each case on a computer at any time and no alteration is possible once the case is e-tagged.

The official further stated that for the convenience of the citizens, the entire data of individuals being summoned at each police station, the name of the IO and the time is also uploaded on social media networking sites.

He maintained that the e-tagging system has brought a significant change in the culture at police stations as every investigator knows that calling a citizen to the police station arbitrarily would land him in hot waters and he could face strict departmental action.

The spokesperson also said that the digital system has brought a significant change in the investigation of cases at the police station level and the probe into pending cases is being completed on time. He added that complaints regarding delay in inquiries into cases have also dropped significantly.

The official shared that after Rawalpindi, the Punjab government is also considering extending and replicating the online summoning system at police stations across the province.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2021.


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