By Nawab Bahadar, Shakir Ullah, Ingrid Nyborg and Tahir Maqsood.
Community-police relations in Pakistan are often intricate, as are their reforms. Mistrust, political intervention, meager financial resources, lack of educated/trained human resources, over-expectations and miscommunication are some of the factors contributing to weak policing and poor community-police relations. The police as a service-oriented public institution has been a demand of the public and the dream of consecutive governments. In this study, we explore the political, institutional and technical reforms taken by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the police department to improve their police and policing. The Police Act 2017 and Community-Oriented Policing, Dispute Resolution Councils (DRCs), and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) initiatives are critically analyzed in terms of their intentions and contribution to improved police-community relations. Politicians, police, civil society organizations and community members from KP were interviewed for their perceptions of police reforms and community-police relations. The study finds strong political will to empower and depoliticize police, and to shift its focus from purely crime fighting into community service provision, including pro-active engagement of police with the community. The study also finds that most of the new initiatives of the government of KP are in the spirit of community–oriented policing, and community members see visible improvement in policing and community-police relations.
To read and download the full article from the Journal of Human Security, click here.