Pakistan

KP IGP, BHC reviews progress on JSSP

Written by The Frontier Post

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr. Sana Ullah Abbasi held a meeting with a delegation from the British High Commission (BHC) to review Justice System Support Programme (JSSP) funded by the British Government. JSSP provided technical support to government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and KP Police in particular. The focus of the programme was to improve the quality of investigations in serious crimes, especially sexual violence against women and children and to ultimately improve users’ experience of criminal justice system.

The IGP appreciated JSSP’s assistance in problem solving through a cross-institutional and data driven approach. The IGP was of the opinion that this approach has yielded results in the pilot districts of Mardan and Charsadda where the acquittal rate has reduced by over 20% since 2018. Because of these results, interventions initiated in the pilot districts have now been scaled-up to the entire province.

The IGP thanked the BHC for distributing 3500 Sexual Offense Evidence Collection Kits (SOECKs) to KP Police to improve the quality of evidence in crimes against women and children. To properly utilize these kits, the KP Police developed ‘Operational Guidelines for Investigators on Crime Scene Management and Forensic Evidence Collection’ and these have since been disseminated across the province focusing on better management of crime scene and greater use of forensics.

Additionally, KP Police has given skills-based investigation training focusing on modern investigation techniques to more than 100 police investigators. To improve performance management of investigations, inspection protocols have been developed and implemented across the province.

Apart from this, a monthly crime meeting under the supervision of IGP, based on a newly developed and detailed crime monitoring template, has been introduced in KP Police. This performance management, initially introduced in pilot districts of Mardan and Charsadda, has shown positive results.

From March 2020 to February 2021, the use of SOECKs increased from 0 to 87%, use of Crime Scene Vans increased from 0 to 79%, use of case diary 1A increased from 23 to 86%, inspections increased from 0 to 84%, early advice by prosecutors increased from 0 to 82% and time taken by prosecutors and police to remove evidential weaknesses in cases reduced from an average of 73 days to 33 days.

But modern policing and investigation is not possible without appropriate resources. IGP also appreciated JSSP’s technical assistance in re-conceptualizing public finance management in Police. Notable reforms in this area include introduction of Police station level budgeting across province for better utilization of police station budget and improvement in service delivery at the local level.

Additionally, cost of investigation budget has been increased from PKR 47 million to PKR 201 million (327% increase). Revision of cost of investigation rates (from PKR 7100 to 140,000 for homicide and from PKR 4000 to 120,000 for sexual violence cases) and a case for advance funds for cost of investigation has been submitted to the Finance department for approval.

One key priority of the KP Police is to improve the quality of service provided to women and children. In order to deal with the lack of dedicated Victim Support Service (VSS) in KP, KP Police initially introduced VSS in five pilot districts (Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda, Swat and Abbottabad). A heartening result of this pilot was that no cases of repeat victimization was recorded which is why this essential service is now being extended to all other districts. 29 positions of victim support officers have been sanctioned by the government and hiring will take place when the service rules are approved by HTAD.

Additionally, a female police officer has been made incharge of all VSS across KP and disaggregated data on Gender based Violence including non-cognizable cases is being developed for the first time in KP. And to improve the experience of victims, an inter-agency (health, social welfare department) referral mechanism has been agreed. KP Police, recognizing the increase in domestic violence, has also approved a strategy to deal with Domestic Violence cases.

Finally, the IGP appreciated JSSP’s support in operationalizing cross-institutional governance forums like the Cabinet Sub-Committee (headed by Minister for Law, KP) and Provincial Justice Committee (headed by Chief Justice Peshawar High Court). These forums are being fully utilized to address bottlenecks, collaborate to drive better results and improve users’ experience.

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The Frontier Post

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