The garrison city is witnessing a steady rise in crime due to a severe shortage of police personnel as well as inefficiency and negligence of the existing force.
Several positions in the police department have been lying vacant for years. A source in the police department, requesting anonymity, told The Express Tribune that the provincial government’s reluctance in inducting new blood in the force has not only led to a rise in crime city but also dented their overall performance.
The official, while elaborating the situation, said a total of 3,288 positions --- 3,047 constables, 65 head constables, 94 assistant sub-inspectors, 32 sub-inspectors and 50 legal inspectors --- were lying vacant.
According to the source, 60 cases of murder, 28 of kidnapping, 2,100 of robbery, 1,508 of vehicle theft and 103 of cattle theft have been reported in various areas of the city since January this year.
The official said a high number of police officials have been deputed on protocol and security duties of ministers and other religious figures, leaving citizens in the lurch.
“There is a dire need to make fresh inductions to curb the rising crime,” the official said.
Another official said a total of 30 police stations were functioning in the district with 10 in the city, adding that almost all are facing staff shortage.
He said in Pakistan, one investigation officer was dealing with dozens of cases simultaneously against the international standard of one police officer for three to five cases.
“Crimes can not be overcome only through fresh appointments but the whole lethargic police culture needs to be changed,” he remarked.
City Police Officer Umar Akhtar Hayat Lalika admitted that different posts have been lying vacant for several years. However, he claimed the positions will be filled soon.
When asked about the unsatisfactory performance of the police, he dispelled the notion and said despite shortage of personnel, the police have arrested a number of criminals. He blamed the flaws in the prosecution process, adding most suspects get bail from the courts due to weak buildup of the case by the prosecution.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.