In a progressive development, Faisalabad has introduced a new criminal record office that will make public online criminal records complete with case histories, photographs, and thumbprints. This is a welcome move that will improve a system replete with corruption and dishonesty.
The move to make criminal records public means that people will no longer have to rely on other people to respond to their notices in newspapers to verify the authenticity of a ‘businessman’. People in Faisalabad will simply be able to conduct a basic background search of a person before engaging in any kind of dealing with them. Likewise, employers will have an easier time identifying candidates who have been previously convicted and the nature of their offences. Without a doubt, there are many advantages to moving a criminal records office online, including the progression towards a more simplistic, practical and more technologically advanced system.
If used correctly and updated regularly, the online criminal record office has an infinite number of advantages. In addition to providing online records, a beneficial use would be to provide police updates on the website regarding each case — something that would be particularly useful in missing persons cases for relatives. With Faisalabad and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa adopting an online system, other cities and provinces must quickly follow suit. In Karachi, establishing online filing of first information reports would facilitate the reporting of petty crimes while allowing the city to focus police resources on major crime scenes.
It was about time that an online criminal records system was introduced in Pakistan — although this is just a beginning — so that law-enforcement officials and citizens across the country could access any and all information regarding the backgrounds of criminals. This will also help build a national conscience of abiding by the law and rightfully disparaging those that violate the law. Finally, the move to go public with records will hopefully make it easier to make examples out of criminals.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2014.