Islamabad, May 30, 2011: The police stations in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) were understaffed to a varying degree, while those in Balochistan and Islamabad Capital Territory were heavily overstaffed, according to Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN’s) Police Station Monitor. This report is based on information collected by FAFEN monitors who visited 90 police stations in 62 districts across the country during January – March 2011. Of the monitored 90 police stations, 39 were monitored in Punjab, 23 in KP, 20 police stations in Sindh, seven in Balochistan and one in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
In Sindh, more than one third of the sanctioned police posts (34%) were lying vacant, KP police stations have 20% less staff than the sanctioned number of personnel, while Punjab police stations are yet to fill 8% sanctioned posts. In stark contrast, a police station monitored in Islamabad have an occupancy rate of 140% implying that 40% more staff is working there than the sanctioned posts. Similarly, an occupancy rate of 112% was observed in monitored police stations of Balochistan. Such disparity in the deployment of police force is reflective upon the preferences of authorities in protecting the citizens. Police stations in regions like Sindh and KP where 34% and 20% of the sanctioned posts were lying vacant, warrant immediate action as KP and parts of Sindh are coming under frequent terrorist attacks. Lack of police force in these relatively more volatile parts seriously hampers the ability of police to maintain law and order and protect the citizens.
FAFEN observers monitored these police stations in 62 districts – 22 in Punjab, 17 in KP, 15 in Sindh, seven in Balochistan and one in ICT – to assess the state and quality of services along with the perception of people about police. According to monitoring, 21 (23%) monitored police stations were not housed in building with a good condition – nine in Punjab, seven in Sindh, four in KP and one in Balochistan. The buildings of a further 37 (41%) of 90 monitored police stations nationwide were in a dilapidated condition. Most police stations with poor building were found in Punjab and Sindh, where 15 and 13 police stations have buildings with dilapidated condition. Five police stations in KP and four in Balochistan were also found to be housed in a poor building.
Health and hygiene conditions in lockups in 40 of the 90 monitored police stations were found to be poor, and latrines for staff and inmates were not available in 10 monitored police stations. The lack of latrines presents a very grim picture in, as inmates have to spend days in captivity. The improper disposal of human waste poses a severe threat to staff and visitors, as well as to the inmates themselves. Arrangements for clean drinking water were also lacking in 26 of the monitored police stations.
While many police stations did not have problems with building and hygiene, the facilities like electricity connections, communication and transportation facilities were readily available in the majority of monitored police stations. All but two, both in Sindh, had electricity connections, while fans were available in 87 police stations. Telephone/wireless connections were also available in 87 of the monitored 90 police stations.
Vehicles were available with all the monitored police stations from the police department, and 84 police stations confirmed that they were also getting fuel for the vehicles from the concerned department. Yet people at eleven (12%) police stations interviewed by FAFEN monitors complained that the police were seeking logistical support from them in order to carry out their official duty of investigating a case. Similarly, the necessary stationary for registering First Information Reports (FIRs) was not available at 24 of the monitored police stations. At 13 police stations the police moharrar (the official who registers an FIR) even asked people to bring their own stationary in order to register an FIR.
FAFEN is a network of 42 civil society organizations working to foster democratic accountabilities in Pakistan. It is governed by Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability.
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