KP set to free police from bureaucratic, political influences

KP set to free police from bureaucratic, political influences

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Tuesday said that the introduction of the Police Reforms Bill in the provincial assembly session, commencing today (Wednesday), would make the police force more efficient, as it would be asked to work without bureaucratic and political influence.

Addressing a press conference at the Chief Minister House, Pervez Khattak outlined the significant features of the proposed bill. These included making it apolitical, improving its operational independence, making it answerable to the masses, enhancing it’s professional transparency in government affairs and provision of best services.

Khattak said that after getting passed from the assembly, the bill would further improve the performance of the police force, as it would establish public safety commissions at district level. “The district police officer would then work under the district council to keep a check on the performance of police,” he added.

The CM said that the inspector general of police would be empowered to appoint police officials to the rank of additional IG, besides strengthening the external accountability process. “District Safety Commission would be authorised to conduct inspections of the police stations and police posts to ensure that no one is confined illegally in the police lockup,” he added.

A member of the District Safety Commission would sit as an observer in the entire procurement process for the police department, he informed, adding that the district police officer would present a six-month performance report to the district assembly that would open for discussion, much like the provincial assembly.

The proposed bill, Khattak said, would also include a regional complaint authority comprising of three members including a retired judge, a civil officer and a professional from the civil society, which would conduct inquiry into the police excesses.

The chief minister also referred to the efforts made for the capacity building of the police force, including specialised units like Bomb Disposal Unit, Traffic Wardens, Counter Terrorism Department, Rapid Response Force, Special Combat Unit and the setting up of a specialised police training school for advance intelligence system, investigations and tactics.

CM Khattak said that the new reforms package would make conditional promotion of police with training and that 25 percent promotions at the deputy superintendent of police (DSP) level have been linked with passing of Public Service Commission exams.

Moreover, he added, Public Liaison Council, comprising members of the village and neighborhood councils, has been setup, which would address the problems of people at local levels. “It is an effort to ensure community policing,” the CM said.

Khattak also referred to setting up of Dispute Resolution Council, Police Assistance Lines, Police Access Service and Public Facilitation Centres to help masses in peacefully resolving their petty issues outside courts.

He said KP Public Safety Commission would be a supreme body that would monitor police reforms and inquires. “The commission will comprise two members each from the provincial government and the opposition besides four retired government employees including a high court judge, a major general, civil servant and a police official and four members from the civil society.

Nasir Khan Durrani on the occasion informed the audience that the reforms would be promulgates in shape of an ordinance through the provincial assembly and termed it a swift paradigm shift towards giving autonomous and accountable police force in the province. “Besides strengthening and empowering the police and law enforcing institutions, we have also tried to keep a balance between autonomy and accountability of the force,” the IGP said.

He added that a specialised counter terrorism mechanism was setup while keeping in view the present security circumstance of the province. “Forty percent out of the total 282 police stations in KP lacked proper buildings. Rs 120 million would be spent on the establishment of police stations according to the modern needs,” he informed.

Recounting his government’s achievements, CM Khattak said that besides the police force, the PTI-led government had introduced reforms in the health and education departments. “The incumbent provincial government took practical steps for delivering on its promises. The people of KP are witness to the change the PTI had promised in the last general elections,” he claimed, adding that further reforms would be introduced along a number of mega projects across the province.

Khattak also challenged his party’s political rivals to visit KP and see the real change that had begun everywhere. “More than 40,000 teachers would be recruited in KP to take the strength of the provincial teaching staff to almost 150, 000,” he added.

The PTI leader said his government has made efforts for providing clean drinking water, establishing boundary walls and providing other basic facilities at the government-run schools. “Similarly, 1,500 doctors had been recruited in the province so far while another 2,700 would be inducted in the next phase,” CM Khattak conluded.