Beyond the Badge

The police needs to be brought into the modern age

The idea that law enforcement organizations serve as reflective microcosms of the societies they serve is inherently axiomatic; however, doing so implies a necessary symbiosis in which all constabulary institutions must coordinate their development with the constantly changing social fabric, necessitating ongoing adaptation. The constabulary framework appears in the context of Pakistan as an institution that is egregiously afflicted by systemic mismanagement due to its pitiful state, marked by a lack of resources, inadequate training programmes, pervasive politicization, and a chronic illness of corruption. The primary cause of the current state of affairs is the government’s continued failure to make significant investments in the recalibrating and modernizing of law enforcement systems.

Whereas setting higher standards for law enforcement would not only increase public confidence in the government, it would also be a vital tool for regaining governmental control in regions that are coming under the influence of militant organizations. The government has begun a difficult reform initiative in response to this need. The heart of these reforms lies in the meticulous design of a police force that upholds the tenet of political neutrality and shuns any authoritarian tendencies. A core value of the organization is accountability to the populace, which is complemented by a quick and intelligent response to community needs. The development of a professional ethos that is not just a token but a crucial component of the legal system, harmoniously aligned with its principles, is the sine qua non, though.

Unfortunately, Pakistan’s police force is in terrible shape; it suffers from incompetence, a lack of modern equipment, subpar training techniques, and the pervasive taint of political interference. This distressing reality has its roots in the government’s persistent refusal to devote the necessary time and resources to the urgent need for law enforcement reform.  Half-hearted reform initiatives and Machiavellian political scheming highlight the structural issues that plague this important institution. These issues are exacerbated by the blatant disregard for the sanctity of human rights and the lack of an adequate infrastructure for training and investigative efforts, which leads to an environment that is perfect for the spread of corruption.

On the other hand, the Police Order of 2002 must be fully implemented as a result of the imperative, not just as a formality but also as an embodiment of its true meaning. On the other, in order to achieve a thorough overhaul of the law enforcement system, it is essential to revoke the contentious amendments made around 2004 that have weakened the legal system’s jurisprudential integrity. The main objective is to meticulously restructure the police apparatus into a model of effectiveness, professionalism, and political neutrality. The effective expansion of the power granted to police safety commissions to conduct vigilant oversight of the conduct displayed by the police fraternity is of utmost importance.

The modernization challenge demands a relentless demolition of the outdated support structure that restrains the police apparatus. Concurrent with this, a concerted effort must be made to develop a corps of officers that is free from political favoritism, strengthened by unwavering accountability, and infused with a sense of duty that resonates with professionalism and ethical rectitude. Such an elevation of the policing paradigm serves as an unquestionable tool for the realization of a safe and just society, not just as an aspiration.

Despite all of this, the institutional embedding of change or the ongoing consolidation of reforms in today’s law enforcement landscapes stands out as a challenging conundrum for policing entities. This complicated issue is embodied in Islamabad, where a clear reform pattern has emerged and is being appropriately guided by the laws of the current administration. Notably, the legendary Dr. Akbar Nasir Khan has demonstrated a profound commitment to the development of effective policing paradigms while carrying the mantle of police leadership.

Meanwhile, through the Safe City initiative, a pioneering e-challan system has been seamlessly integrated at the same time, acting as a pivot for the containment of traffic infractions within the urban fabric. The deliberate application of cutting-edge technology has brought a perceptible sense of order to the chaotic vehicular environment, symbolizing the seamless fusion of digitalization with legal requirements. Therefore, the professionalism of the police force has also increased, and it is now more in line with contemporary practices due to a wide range of initiatives that have been launched concurrently with some strategic changes. A modernized trajectory for the police force that is responsive to the needs of the modern era has been orchestrated by these initiatives working together.

The modernization challenge demands a relentless demolition of the outdated support structure that restrains the police apparatus. Concurrent with this, a concerted effort must be made to develop a corps of officers that is free from political favoritism, strengthened by unwavering accountability, and infused with a sense of duty that resonates with professionalism and ethical rectitude. Such an elevation of the policing paradigm serves as an unquestionable tool for the realization of a safe and just society, not just as an aspiration.

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Nadir Ali
Nadir Ali
Nadir Ali is a Public Relations Officer (PRO) at Safe City Islamabad, Pakistan. He can be reached at [email protected].

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