ISLAMABAD, March 13, 2013: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN)’s District Long-Term Observers (DLTOs) conducted interviews of 69 District Police Officers (DPOs) regarding pre-election security plans. More than one-half of the DPOs (36 out of 69, or 52%) said they had not developed any security plans, says a press release issued by FAFEN on Wednesday.
DPOs were willing to be interviewed in 69 out of 70 districts, but the DPO in Swabi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) declined to be interviewed. Among the interviews with DPOs, 26 were conducted in Punjab, followed by Sindh (19 interviews), KP (14), Balochistan (7), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) (2) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) (1).
Although the DPO in Islamabad agreed to be interviewed, he declined to answer most or all questions. More than one-third of DPOs (25, or 36%) did not know or did not answer the question about cooperation among police and security forces to plan for pre-election security. In response to other questions, a minimum of one-tenth (6, or 9%) and maximum of one-fifth (14, or 20%) of DPOs did not provide an answer.
More than one-half of the DPOs (36 out of 69, or 52%) said they had not developed any security plans for the pre-election campaign period, while more than one-third (27, or 39%) said they had done so. Five (7%) of the DPOs declined to answer this question and one DPO was unable to provide an answer.
About two-thirds of DPOs (46, or 67%) said they were not aware of any arrangements for training of security personnel for the elections. Some DPOs (11, or 16% of the total) said training sessions have been planned. Ten DPOs declined to answer, and two did not know.
Almost half of the DPOs (32, or 46%) said they were aware of an ECP Code of Conduct for police during elections, but almost as many (28 or 41%) were not aware of such a code. Four DPOs said they did not know, and five DPOs did not give an answer.
Six (9%) DPOs shared a copy of the (draft) election Code of Conduct for police with FAFEN, while 50 DPOs (72%) did not. Thirteen DPOs (19%) did not answer this question.
Two-thirds of DPOs (43, or 62%) expressed satisfaction with the availability of resources for pre-election security. However, one-fifth of the DPOs (14, or 20%) were not satisfied with the resources available. Three DPOs said they did not know, while nine (13%) did not share this information.
Almost half of DPOs (31, or 45%) said they are cooperating with other security forces to make security preparations for the pre-election period. One-fifth of DPOs (14, or 20%) said they were not doing so. Six DPOs (9%) did not know, and one-fourth (18, or 26%) did not answer.
More than half of DPOs (39 or 57%) stated that they are cooperating with ECP to plan for pre-election security, but 13 DPOs (19%) said cooperation was lacking. Four DPOs (6%) said they did not know and one-fifth (13, or 19%) did not give an answer.
Based on information received from DPOs around the country, FAFEN recommends that ECP should take the lead to coordinate with police and all relevant security forces to make security plans for each district and constituency well in advance of General Election 2013. ECP, police department and other security forces should ensure that all security officers with election duties have formal training sessions on the new ECP Code of Conduct for Security Personnel and other relevant laws and regulations. DPOs and other security officials should continue and increase their communication and transparency with election observer groups, including FAFEN.
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