The fundamental reason why despite 70 years of effort, every attempt to reform police has failed is that we have persistently faltered to address the real problems and opted to follow the beaten track. Raising the Motorway Police was a singular experience in this regard, which has had no parallel in the Policing history of the world. The findings of this article have resulted from the actual raising of Motorway Police and are not just an airy-fairy theory or analysis of verbosity. During this endeavour, many a myth was torpedoed or cut to size on the way, and for the first time in the history of Pakistan, the Rule of Law was established without sole exception. Ironically, no Committee or Commission was set up for this venture (around 30 were set up in six decades to reform police). I was tasked to raise this force by taking serving policemen on deputation by making my plans and course of action. The most intriguing part of this practical experience was that some Pedestrian Delusions were completely shattered, while others were curtailed to their real level of being peripheral facilitating factors, and not the actual problems of policing. Over the past 60 years, almost 30 Police Commissions/ Committees were set up to reform the police and now, the apex court has jumped into the fray. All these bodies were headed by outstanding police officers, heads of various disciplines, generals and politicians of high calibre. ii. Concurrently, there were a series of national and international workshops/seminars with the participation of foreign experts and the injection of foreign aid. Yet, most bafflingly, there has been no improvement in the police performance, conduct and management. All of us have only witnessed a continuous decline of the department in almost all spheres. Attempting to reform the police units in isolation from the department is inconceivable, impracticable and will take us nowhere. iii. The key question is both simple and tedious: where did we falter? Were we oblivious of the ground realities or blind to the operational impediments/constraints that the police has to work against? The answer to these questions will be discussed during the journey of raising the Motorway Police. One thing common to all these plans and laws was that total focus and belief remained on the following: Pay and emoluments Recruitment Training Accountability Working conditions Thana Culture Taking the Horse to Water: Like my colleagues, I also firmly believed that all the above factors were fundamental to any reforms and crucial to improvement in police performance. I was not only a member of one such Commission but also appeared before more than a couple to support this viewpoint. Much later, it dawned upon me that the factors listed above only Enable and Facilitate. They do not really Empower and Equip the police to deal with the moment-to-moment ephemeral situations and dynamic operational forces at work. ii. As the famous proverb goes, “You can take a Horse to water but cannot make it drink.” Moreover, due to a para-military approach, we have only been emphasising and underlining the enabling factors and completely missing the scary problems of police. It is here that the police leadership, including I, failed (and failed miserably) for decades on end by barking up the wrong tree. iii. It cannot be debated that the factors listed above are inevitable prerequisites for setting up any unit or establishing any force in any sector and are not unique to the police alone. Therefore, these have to be taken for granted as a first measure and as foundation stones for raising a sound edifice. The second part is awesome, and the real ball game pertains to motivating and moving that edifice. Throughout the last 60 years, we have been stopping halfway and employing half-measures by according scant attention to operational crucial issues of policing, which is how to make the police work; motivate and move. iv. To further compound the malady, our bureaucracy and government have contracted three serious ailments: –Fancy for foreign ideas from the East and West, without considering their relevance to our situation: fixing square pegs in round holes. –Blind belief that once a law, report or plan is completed/legislated, it means the job is done. –The abundance of cut-and-paste artists, whose reports are very impressive, but only sound and fury, signifying nothing. Currently, the apex court is delving into police reforms. I hope and pray for its success. Formidable test: Against this backdrop, in 1977, the government wished to raise a modern, efficient and honest force for the Motorway in eight months. As fresh recruitment could not take place, the government notified nearly three times the pay package and asked the provinces and AJ&K to provide serving policemen on deputation. To the shock of everyone, only three volunteered from the entire country. Then, more perks were announced, and one-step promotion up to the rank of Inspector was allowed; followed by a directive to the provinces to make up the number of 500. Yet again, the response was not heartening, and around 200 came. It was with great difficulty that 500 officers were marshalled from all four corners of the country and they were obviously discards. Incidentally, it was these very semi-literate and unwanted policemen, with an average service of 15 years and routinely training, who pioneered a unique culture of honesty, public service and established Rule and Law on the Motorway, which has weathered the vicissitudes and turmoil of the last 25 years. ii. Training for 25 weeks started at Sihala in June. Four Foreign Trainers and selected local trainers assisted me in the effort. The course comprised of Law, Rules, Modern Management Techniques/Systems for Traffic Control etc. When only eight weeks of training had been completed, the government sent me to see California Highway Police (CHIPS) CHIPS: From Washington to Los Angles, my journey was unique and fateful. Soon after taking off, my co-passengers barraged me with incident after incident of how CHIPS had helped them and performed humanely/kindly. Strangely, none of these stories pertained to police professionalism, integrity or competence. All related to help, succour, promptness, kind behaviour and public service, which this force had provided without exception to the commuters. I was stupefied, but after considerable deliberation, my thoughts crystallized, and I decided to take a gamble. ii. On return, I drove straight to Sihala Academy from the Airport and announced that all formal training in Law, Rules Management Techniques of Traffic were to be dispensed with immediately. It was a big gamble for which I was arraigned by the instructional staff and chided by the government and public. But, I did not flinch. iii. I announced that only the subject of public service would be taught to the trainees. Besides lectures and discussions, practical training was given to all in first aid, minor repair of vehicles; rescue procedures, saving lives, and stopping bleeding. In a nutshell, they were taught how to handle all conceivable situations, where a commuter in distress could need help. Exhaustive SOPs were prepared for all these tasks. iv. Commuters could not believe their eyes, and many thought they were dreaming when they saw Motorway police providing them with all kinds of service and help, including changing punctured tires and providing shelter in their camps. This practical demonstration of complete metamorphosis completely shatters to pieces all theories of reforming police through better pay, good recruitment, adequate resources and training. When a nearly thrice as high pay package was notified for the Motorway Police, the government and I had expected a queue of volunteers, but to everyone’s disbelief, there were only three volunteers from all over Pakistan. Secondly, could eight weeks of training imparted to officers joining this force make any difference? Thirdly, no fresh recruitment was made for the Motorway Police as all had been recruited from around the country, in the preceding 20 years. Lastly, the majority were semi-literate. Strategy: Attempting to reform the police units in isolation from the department is inconceivable, impracticable and will take us nowhere. No improvement in the working of a police station or the conduct of its officers can be wrought unless the fundamental issues are holistically understood and addressed. To achieve this, a complete break from the approach adopted for the past 60 years is crucial. Our focus has to shift from recruitment training, pay etc to the operational problems of police, factoring in the ground realities. Ironically, we have been completely brainwashed that a majority is still harping on the age-old hackneyed factors even though on the Motorway, their ancillary impact was established beyond doubt. b) There is a dire need to adopt a holistic approach and identify the real problems of the police after professionally analysing and evaluating the issues from a panoramic standpoint coupled with a pragmatic approach. The problems are far too many but mostly operational. Therefore, just the critical few will be discussed, while others will only be referred to. (To Be Continued) The writer is a PSP ex-officer who has served as federal secretary for communication, IG police and chairman PEMRA. He can be reached at: email@example.com.