Islamabad Police Inspector General (IG) Tahir Alam Khan on Wednesday got some heat from citizens on overall police performance during a live radio discussion.
The citizens made vociferous live calls on FM 92.4 radio, which was recently launched by the Islamabad Traffic Police to entertain public complaints and offer traffic updates and driving tips.
The IG and Traffic Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Malik Matloob Ahmed took calls live during the afternoon segment.
A police official said that the chief answered 14 live calls in an hour, the majority of which were critiques of the ‘thana culture’ in the Islamabad Police.
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According to the source, a majority of callers also complained about the uncouth behaviour of police personnel, which also discourage them from going to police stations to lodge their complaints, as it would involve further interaction with cops behaving badly.
The callers also complained that the IG’s office was almost inaccessible for them to lodge direct complaints against police officials for their alleged misconduct and other transgressions. Though the IG attempted to assure every caller of sincerity and seriousness in addressing their complaints, no one seemed to accept his tacit apology.
“The police will definitely face criticism from the public if they are inaccessible in the hour of need,” a police official commented while requesting anonymity.
The callers also complained that the police take bribes from the public at different check posts and refuse to register a case without a bit of ‘side income’.
A source said that a female caller complained that the Sabzi Mandi police were using delaying tactics in registering an First Information Report (FIR) against a teenager, who was captured and handed over to the police when he attempted to snatch her purse.
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The police chief took notice of her complaint and directed the police station to look into the allegation. A source at the Sabzi Mandi Police Station said that the teenager had already been released in return for a bribe.
Some of the callers also complained about unnecessary check posts on city roads, creating inconvenience for motorists and commuters. They demanded their immediate removal, but the IG argued that the check posts have been set up in the interest of public safety.
A spokesperson for the Islamabad Police said that a police officer of Superintendent of Police (SP)level or above will take live calls on July 2.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2015.