The Norwegian government has pledged to donate $700,000 to help enhance training and investigation capabilities of the Punjab Police. The move was motivated by a desire to ensure security for Norwegian citizens of Pakistani origin settled in Punjab.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Norwegian Ambassador Cecilie Landsverk and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Representative Cesar Guedes here at the Norwegian embassy.
Guedes explained that the three-year pilot project aimed to provide trainings and enhance the capabilities of Punjab Police officials to identify, collect and preserve physical evidences at crime scenes and improve investigation in Gujrat, Gujranwala and Sialkot.
The programme will also focus on basic and specialised policing training of new recruits at police academies.
In a statement issued by the agency, it said that to develop investigative capacities of the Punjab Police in Gujrat, a two-phased effort will be undertaken. The first phase had been completed which included a partial renovation to the physical space housing the crime scene investigation unit, provision of equipment, first responders and crime scene investigation kits.
The second phase will include additional renovations to expand the space available to facilitate investigations, provision of specialised forensic and investigation equipment and specialised trainings. UNODC has also provided this training in partnership with the Police College Lahore and has provided 2,000 first responders’ kits for distribution to Punjab Police departments in the Gujranwala range.
Landsverk said that the programme also aimed to develop the relationship of trust between the people and the police. “Unless police improve their operations, people will not believe in the police,” she said.
The ambassador said that the programme will allow police officials from Norway to be part of the training programme. She said Punjab has been focused on because it very important for the future of the country.
UNODC Criminal Justice Adviser Collie Brown said that the nature of crime experienced in Gujrat was complex and violent. He said that the crime rate which was high required high level of capacity response. “This program is going to provide capacity to the police providing support between investigators and prosecutors,” he said.
Landsverk expressed her satisfaction with the good cooperation with the UNODC and the police in Punjab. “Since 2012, when the cooperation started, this programme has also represented a solid basis for improved contact and cooperation between the Norwegian and Pakistani police. Exchange of skills and experiences in the law and order sector benefits both countries tremendously.”
All together with the previous and the new agreement with the UNODC, Norway has contributed more than $1 million to improve the capabilities of the police and prosecutors in Punjab.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2014.
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