Investigation — capacity of police

CJP Isa said that institutions should be respected while royal system of police, patwari should be abolished

Dr Syed Akhtar Ali Shah October 25, 2023
The author is a former Secretary to Government, Home & Tribal Affairs Department and a retired IG. He holds a PhD in Political Science and currently heads a think tank ‘Good Governance Forum’. He can be reached at


Maintenance of public order is one the most essential duties of the police as regards crime control. In this context, prevention and detection are interconnected. In other words, policing is about prevention and detection of crime and maintenance of public order. However, unfortunately despite the much-trumpeted claims of reforms through Police Order 2002 and subsequently Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Police Act 2017, no meaningful change could be brought in terms of relief to citizens. Police culture remains the same, with the stereotypical style of investigation persisting.

Although both the aforementioned statutes in their preamble proclaims to function according to the Constitution, law and democratic aspiration of the people in order to reconstruct police for efficient prevention and detection of crime and maintenance of public order, the police force has not come up to the aspiration of the people.

In his impression about the efficacy of the investigation, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Qazi Faez Isa stated that institutions should be respected while the royal system of police and patwari should be abolished. During the hearing of a case, the apex court expressed displeasure over poor investigation in the 70-tola Gold Committee case.

In another case, then Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad emphasised, while addressing IG Police of Islamabad, that “Investigation of a crime is a specialized subject in which the investigation officers are required to be fully trained and equipped, and in this regard the Police Training Centre should take services of qualified professionals for imparting professional training to the investigation officers. A handbook of the crime investigation, based upon previous experiences, illustrations, practical applications and case-law developed by the superior Courts of Pakistan should be prepared immediately with knowledge of using of investigation kits and preparing a computerized data of the crime.”

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali in Crl Petition 742-L of 2019 and Crl Petition 629-L has held that he had reached the conclusion of the case and found that the appellant Muhammed Saleem had been implicated in this case falsely due to a trend in our society of implicating all the near and dear ones of the actual culprit. He observed that [Muhammed Idress] was found guilty by the investigating officer to be fully connected with the commission of offence. It was the duty of the police to find out the truth while investigating the matter; therefore, the conclusion of the investigating officer could not be discarded slightly because he was the person who, while discharging his official obligations, had the opportunity of inquiring having the first visual touch not only with the place of the occurrence but also had an opportunity of inquiring/questioning the persons available to him during the course of investigation for drawing his inference from their statements, their body language and his own observations which were made by him on the strength of his efforts for tracing the criminals.

In this perspective, object of investigation under the Criminal Procedure Code and Police Rules is to the formulate facts and collect supportive evidence to determine whether a crime has been committed, if so, then who is responsible for it. The primary objective of an investigation is to gather evidence, not to arrest or punish the accused. However, when credible evidence is available, then arrest must be done.

All the available literature including investigation focuses on aforementioned principles. Organisations do have vision, mission and objective and goals. Those could be achieved only by having fully trained and equipped personnel. In the realm of police, objectives of investigation cannot be achieved, unless the personnel are moulded according to the job description through robust process of training, right from recruitment to their promotions.

Quality of training is also essential. This could be achieved only by deputing meritorious officers to the training institute. Although, in Army, those sent as instructors to training institutes are considered to be best, in police it is the otherwise. Therefore, low quality products are produced.

For a good investigator it is essential to have sound knowledge of Criminal Law, such as Criminal Procedure, Police 2002 or Police Act or other such law regulating the police in a province, Police Rules, Qanoon-e-Shahadat, Pakistan Penal Code, Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, Forensic Science, Investigation of Fair Trial Act 2014, Anti-Money Laundering Act, Prevention of Electronic Crime Act, previous experiences, illustrations, practical applications and case-law developed by the superior Courts of Pakistan.

Based on my own experiential knowledge while interacting with trainees as a guest speaker at Police Institutes, I can say that most of the instructors were disgruntled and not of high quality. Surprisingly, inspectors going through training for command course for promotion to Deputy Superintendent of Police and other junior ranks ready for promotion to sub inspectors did not have knowledge of the basics mentioned in CrPC and Police Rules 1934. They were found completely ignorant of new laws like Investigation of Fair Trial Act 2014, Anti-Money Laundering Act and Prevention of Electronic Crime.

The general excuse with the police leadership is lack of resources. Of course, training is a resource-intensive project. But, sending best officers as instructors does not require finances but better human resource management. Simultaneously, setting priorities and avoiding splitting of resources on too many institutes performing the same job is part of financial management. In the context of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Police Training College Hangu is the best place. The other institutes may be merged and function as branches, which may be cost beneficial in terms of human resource and finances.

Based on the aforementioned discussion, it is safe to state that better quality of investigation will enhance the prestige of police. This can be done by ingraining in the minds of personnel tasked with investigation that the objective of investigation is to collect evidence connecting an accused with offence. If no evidence is available or evidence contrary to the complaint is available, the investigator must act accordingly with an aim to deliver justice. To achieve this aim, training institutes must be provided best trainers in all fields.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2023.

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