Police shuffle: Range Crime Cell done away with ‘for the better’

Authorities dissolve special cell to strengthen investigative policing.


Our Correspondent July 31, 2012

KARACHI: Only nine months into its inception, the Karachi police’s Range Crime Cell has been dissolved – in an apparent bid to strengthen the investigation wing. The authorities are also mulling to restore the police investigation wing as previously, although with some changes.

Since the system of separate investigation and operation wings was abolished, the SHOs were the given the responsibility to investigate the cases also After the Police Order 2002 was done away with, junior police officers were dealing in cases and were appearing before the courts to explain headways in investigation. The investigation side was getting neglected and the cases were piling on.

In October 2011, the police authorities had set up the Range Crime Cell to avoid ‘incapable’ officers dealing with high-profile cases. An officer at least the rank of a police superintendent was appointed to investigate such cases. SSP Niaz Ahmed Khosa was posted to the east wing, SSP Khurram Waris to the west and SP Arshad Kamal Kiyani at the south zone.

Unfortunately, the cell was only dealing with cases specifically sent by the deputy inspector general or additional inspector general.

Now the Range Crime Cell has been dissolved on the orders of Sindh Inspector General of Police Fayyaz Leghari “for the betterment of the investigation side”.

Karachi AIG Iqbal Mehmood told The Express Tribune that the police investigation wing is being restored again but not in line with the Police Order 2002. “The authorities are trying to increase the investigation benchmark,” he explained. According to Mehmood, the SSPs working at the Range Crime Cell will now be simply referred to as SSP Investigation and will deal with all special cases sent by the DIG level officers. All zones will have one SSP with two SP-ranked officers as his subordinates who will probe the cases of their respective police stations in the zone. The investigation officers will work at the police stations under their respective SHO.

Under the Police Order, 2002, the police had two separate wings – investigations and operational. The station investigation officer (SIO) were responsible for the investigation aspect at police station and had to report to the supervisory police officers (SPO) – an officer ranked DSP or ASP, who looked after two to three police stations. The SPO would then report the cases to the SP, SSP and then the SSP to DIG Investigations.

Range Crime Cell’s SSP Saqib Sultan, who earlier replaced SSP Khurram Waris, told The Express Tribune that they were waiting for the official notification on the next strategy to deal with investigation cases.

“Simply saying, the cell’s name has been removed and all five zones [of Karachi] will have SSP Investigation,” he said. “Obviously, this will help to reinforce investigations.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.

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