PESHAWAR: The metal detectors at the gates of the Civil Secretariat no longer beep or flash red when you walk through them. Over the years, these security devices have been rendered obsolete and do not function the way they used to.
Maintaining law and order remains one of the foremost security challenges in the province. Although law-enforcement agencies have effectively responded to any threats, the protocol adopted at most institutions is below par.
A futile effort
When the administration department decided to install metal detectors at all entrances of the secretariat in 2007, it was trying to monitor who was entering the building. Employees and visitors were only permitted to enter once they walked through the metal detector. Eight years on, this precaution appears to have become futile as many of the gates have broken down.
According to insiders, the metal detectors have become non-functional due to heavy rain and negligence on the part of the relevant authorities. More of than not, the security devices are not switched on during the day.
Ins and outs
“I walk through these gates every day,” said Sher Alam, an employee at the secretariat. “They haven’t been working for a long time.” The employee added these security devices have been inside the secretariat’s gates. “It is useless having metal detectors which are on the inside instead of outside the premises,” he said.
Mohammad Sagheer, another employee, said “The security device costs around Rs500,000. There is no use wasting so much money if it does not operate properly.”
He added the police personnel deployed at the gates also do not perform their duties properly. “They are busy gossiping with each other,” he said. “Furthermore, they let employees through without thoroughly checking them. It is only visitors who are checked.” According to Sagheer, police personnel should check everyone who enters the premises before allowing them to enter.
Less than perfect
A police guard deployed at the MPA Hostel gate told The Express Tribune recent rains rendered the metal detectors non-functional. “Efforts are being made to fix the problem,” he said.
According to the guard, body searches are a more effective means of tackling security lapses as relying solely on walkthrough gates can produce countless problems. “Metal detectors can’t differentiate between a gun and a car key,” he said. “Another way we can streamline this process is by asking people to remove all metal items before passing through the gates.”
The guard said it was difficult to keep a check on every single person who is entering the building. “Every morning there is a long queue of employees and visitors,” he said. “It becomes difficult to manage. However, I still try to do the best I can to monitor who is entering the secretariat. I can recognise every employee by face. However, when visitors want to enter the premises, I stop them and keep their CNICs until they return.”
In perfect order
When contacted, the administration department control room in charge Mohammad Shabbir said all metal detectors were functional. “We keep a check on them,” he said. “We repair and replace them when it is required. With the deteriorating law and order in the province, we can’t afford to have these security devices out of order.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2015.
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