The police anticipate a rise in car theft but admit to having no arrangements in place to thwart the thieves or to ensure recovery of stolen vehicles.
Officials of the Anti-Car Lifting Squad say a strategy had evolved over the years to curb car stealing in Ramazan. They say the squad makes a request to Operations DIG who in turn alerts DPOs of districts in bordering areas to facilitate Anti-Car Lifting officials in picketing and retrieving snatched or stolen cars going out of Punjab. Coordination is also needed Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP).
This year, however, arrangement have not been finalised. Operations DIG Tahir Rai confirmed that so far, no plan had been evolved. However, he said, “DPOs of districts that border KP will check the outgoing cars this year.”
The Anti-Car Lifting Squad DSP said the car theft gangs were based in KP and most of the stolen cars were taken there. He said exit points from the province were monitored by the squad every year
“Laptops with Excise Department’s registration database are used to catch them,” Inspector Abbass Bhatti said.
Anti-Car Lifting squad DSP Asif Commando said, “We check vehicles, arrest thieves and impound stolen vehicles.”
The squad offered various explanations for why they were not prepared this year. Several officials said the change of government had contributed to poor coordination. Other officials cited reluctance from KP officials in coordinating with the Punjab police.
An official from the office of Operations DIG speaking on condition of anonymity said, “The former CRO SPs were not motivated officials. They did not plan the operation this year. The new CRO SP Mustafa Hameed Malik has already set plans in motion to recover stolen vehicles. Its results would be visible in a few weeks.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.
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