RE - At least 25,000 policemen in the City housed in 77 different police station buildings are performing their duties in miserable conditions. And more importantly, the number also includes those who are working in about 50 per cent buildings that have been declared as either dangerous or unsafe while the rests are insecure for security point of view.
The Building Department of the Lahore Police has compiled a report recently, highlighting the pathetic state of affairs at most police stations, which according to the authors of the report are unsafe for human use. The Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore submitted the report to the Inspector General Police Punjab who later on forwarded it to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for necessary action.
Interestingly, the tale has appeared at a time when police buildings are at the hit list of the terrorists during the current wave of violence across the country. This comprehensive account of preset state of the police buildings is prepared by the Development Section of the Police Department to draw attention of the Punjab government for immediate remedy.
According to the findings, out of a total 77 buildings, the police department owns only 47. Out of these 47, the only 32 falls in category 'A while others are listed as category 'B and 'C respectively. The categories 'B and 'C indicate that the buildings are dangerous and not fit for any use. Most of the police stations fall in category 'A, are conspicuously lacking even the basic facilities like proper toilets, lock-ups, strong room for arms and ammunition, barracks for constabulary and so many others. These police stations have also been declared as not fit from security point of view and are vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
The other 30 police stations are working in rented buildings owned by either local citizens or other government departments.
All the buildings declared dangerous can be used for other purposes but not by the police to control crime, maintain law and order or to perform VVIP duties as surroundings or localities where these buildings located are absolutely unsafe for such kind of sensitive job.
The building department of the City police has categorically warned not to use dangerous police station buildings otherwise situation can lead to any untoward incident and may take lives of personnel.
During the process, the officials of the said department accompanied by experts paid frequent visits to all the police stations before completing the report. It took them around six months to compile and finalise the report.
They have pointed that most of the buildings are missing toilets, proper accommodation for the policemen and waiting rooms for the visitors. These police stations are insecure in the face of terrorist attacks witnessed by the City in the recent past when Police Training School Manawan was hit by the terrorists, killing over 10 policemen.
An official who was part of the team, which compiled the said report, said majority of the police stations are located at the sites that are entirely exposed to subversive activities. He said terrorists could easily enter the police station buildings with the help of short boundary walls or using the nearby buildings as the policemen working or living in the police stations do no have protection from any side to avoid any armed attack.
Some excerpts of the report summarises the story. Capital City Police, responsible for maintenance of law and order, VVIP security and crime control in the provincial capital of Punjab are facing serious problems, as they are forced to perform their duties in dilapidated buildings and in absolutely unhygienic condition.
It is regrettable to say that the policing facilities and the buildings are in state of inadequacy and insufficiency keeping in view the day by day requirements.
The force is facing serious problem due to these conditions, which of course affect their performance in delivering the security services to the public, the report says.
The sources also disclosed that nine of the dangerous police buildings had been issued notices by the building department with clear instructions to immediately evacuate the premises as the structure of these buildings could collapse any time.
These buildings include Badami Bagh, Ravi Road, Masti Gate, Mozang, Gawalmandi, Naseerabad, Garden Town, Liaquatabad and Gulshan-e-Ravi.
Police officials are feeling insecure to perform their duties in prevailing circumstances due to the shabby conditions and the very locations being dangerous from security point of view. It is worth mentioning that the offices of some senior officers including SPs and DSPs/ASPs are also situated in such police stations.
In the report, the police department has requested for immediate orders to reconstruct above-mentioned nine police stations on emergency basis to protect the lives of the policemen, officers and the visitors.
The department also requested to include rehabilitation of police stations as mentioned in the report in the Annual Development Plan 2009-10.