ISLAMABAD, February 20, 2012: Sanctioned posts for male staff were found to be vacant in police stations monitored in Punjab, Sindh and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) during the October-December 2011 quarter, says a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report.
However, police stations observed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan had more staff than the sanctioned positions.
FAFEN observers visited 131 police stations in 71 districts during the monitoring quarter.
According to the report, the occupancy rate of male staff in Punjab was 78% with 3,114 positions out of the sanctioned 3,993 occupied. In Sindh, this rate was 69% – 1,320 posts from among 1,905 filled while in ICT it stood at 35% as only 49 slots out of 140 sanctioned were occupied.
On the other hand, the occupancy rate in KP and Balochistan was 102% and 116% respectively – appointments on deputation from government departments the probable reason for the higher number of staff in these regions.
All the sanctioned posts for female staff were occupied in the monitored police stations.
About 24% of the police stations observed were not housed in proper buildings while 40% were operating out of buildings in dilapidated condition.
At least 90% of the police stations had wireless and electricity connections, fans and latrines; all but one had vehicles while 92% were also getting fuel from the relevant department.
People at 22% of the police stations complained the Investigating Officers sought logistical support from them for performing their official duties of investigating registered cases.
Similarly, people at 22% of the monitored police stations said they had to pay bribes for registering First Information Reports (FIRs) while at 18% of the stations they complained of police seeking non-fiscal benefits. Police were seen turning people away at the gate at 18% of the police stations.
However, at 92% of the police stations, the police dealt politely with citizens while at 94% of them, they facilitated people in registering FIRs.
Only 68 visits by government/elected officials were made to the police stations covered during the monitoring quarter. Of these, 39 were made in Punjab, 17 in Sindh, six in Balochistan and five in KP.
Non-compliance with Access to Information Policy was also observed. Despite the adoption of this policy by the Punjab government in 2006 and Sindh in 2007, SHOs in 40% of the police stations in Punjab and 26% in Sindh were not aware of it. In at least 50% of the police stations there was neither an Information Access Officer nor a separate register maintained for filing information requests.
Meanwhile, some SHOs expressed their unhappiness for being understaffed and lacking facilities like logistical support, fuel, stationery, clean drinking water and electricity connections. They also cited low salaries and strenuous work hours as the reasons for their dissatisfaction.
FAFEN is a network of 42 civil society organizations working to foster democratic accountabilities in Pakistan. It is governed by the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability.
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