The myth of Punjab’s ‘model police stations’


LAHORE: With the office equipment in a majority of Punjab’s police stations running out of order, computers, photocopy machines as well as hundreds of other items being distributed among the stations without proper management, reports of millions of rupees being embezzled surfacing, sidelined sub-inspectors who underwent a special training course for their deployment in the model police stations being appointed as inspectors and the ex-Punjab police inspector general (IG) and other high-ups failing to constitute the annual audit report of these stations, the incumbent Punjab IG Capt (r) Arif Nawaz has sought the report of the so-called model police stations’ performance.

According to sources, the Punjab government sanctioned millions of rupees for the up-gradation of more than 100 police stations of the province so that they could become a role model for others and serve the people well with better-policing facilities while also leaving a good impression on people coming in from other provinces and countries.

Initially, an amount of Rs30 to 50 million was spent on the project under the supervision of the then Punjab IG Khan Baig in Lahore. Later, under the leadership of ex-IG Haji Habibur Rehman, the establishment of the model police stations was carried forward to other cities of the province. Twenty-three model police stations were built under during IG Rehman’s tenure, at a cost of Rs30 million and Rs50 million for small and large police stations, respectively.

The number of the model police stations was added to by IG Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera, during whose tenure the total number of model police stations reached 100. In IG Sukhera’s term, separate reporting rooms for men and women were established along with the installation of CCTV cameras for the security of these stations, the introduction of computerised first information reports (FIRs), provision of photocopy machines and scanners, new cars and furniture. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the model police stations were also determined during this time and it was decided that SHOs and officers of BS-16 would be deployed in these stations. It was also decided that these officers would undergo a special one-month training course in which they would be trained regarding better-policing facilities.

A separate budget of Rs60,000 was also allocated for those locked-up in these police stations as well as for the phone bills of the SHOs.

But unfortunately, owing to the negligence of the government and the police high-ups, the project gradually started to fail. It wasn’t later that the megaproject launched at a cost of Rs10 billion fell apart and the government’s dream of changing the prevailing thaana culture shattered.

According to police sources, ex-Punjab IG (Jails) Kokab Nadeem, member of the chief minister’s inspection team sought a report from former IG Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera regarding the utilisation of the annual funds and facilities worth millions of rupees being provided to the model police stations of the province, but IG Sukhera failed to satisfy the team as the execution of the chief minister’s vision was not up to the mark.

However, they said, after the appointment of the new IG and the National Accountancy Bureau’s (NAB) recent crackdown against corruption and illegal use of power in national institutions, Assistant IG (AIG) Munir Masood on the directives of IG Capt (r) Arif Nawaz on February 20 issued a notification to all RPOs, DPOs, CCPOs and DIG operations of the province seeking the details of the use of facilities, funds and the performance of the SHOs in all model police stations.