A success story of cultural transformation in policing


Pakistan entered into the era of motorways in the year 1997. It was for the first time in the country’s history that motorways were constructed. Scheme of policing these high speed motorways was approved in May 1997. The then I.G. was assigned to raise a modern, competent and efficient force to regulate law and order on this road.
The manpower for this newly raised force was taken on deputation from all the provincial police forces. Obviously no competent member is given away to others. So, a comprehensive and professional oriented training was imparted to these new officers under the direct supervision of senior officers, which also included British trainers.
On November 26, 1997, this force started working. After six months, the British trainers paid a surprise visit to see the working of their trainees and were astonished to see the efficiency and output. They remarked “this force is working even better than British Police” which is indeed a great comment from a British Police Officer.
It would be difficult to pen down all the contributing factors for the first public friendly and service oriented police organisation in Pakistan in this brief article. However, it may be mentioned that this miraculous transformation has been brought about by a cultural swing through qualitative improvement in the training ecology and work station ecology as explained in the earlier part of the article published in this paper yesterday. It may be argued that maintaining law and order and control of crime is the joint responsibility of the society, its political, social, economic and cultural institutions. The police alone cannot handle these problems and the pooling in of the efforts of all is essential. Other state agencies must be involved. Crime and disorder are social themes, which should be projected in their true colours and the policeman’s role should be fitted in to the extent that it is needed and relevant and no further. Then alone, the police will be able to adequately and efficaciously acquit themselves of a portion of their responsibilities, in the larger context of the criminal justice system. This is part of the dilectics of improvements, which must be allowed to operate freely.
Therefore, it is clearly manifest that policing by consent whereby the policing process takes the public along in its quest for maintenance of public order is a key towards public friendly policing. The success of Pakistan Motorway Police lies in its service oriented functions and assistance to about 1200 commuters in Pakistan each day. From organisational point of view, the most important factor is that this is an officer based organisation which works in a shift of eight hours with a manageable span of control as per international standards. The frequently asked question that Pakistan Motorway Police model can be replicated in the district police would require a detailed research paper. However, it can be argued that this is not something impossible. It may be pointed out that order in a society depends upon a multiplicity of interacting forces which are complex. It depends upon the distribution of resources, images of relative deprivation, inequities and injustice, coercion, oppression, and greed. It depends upon the inculcation of values of comfort, convenience, dignity, safety of others etc. These values depend upon family, education, environment and neighbourhood pressures with expectations of good behaviour.
In this context, it is essential to understand the tensions in rural areas, the phenomenon of migration, and various aspects of urbanisation giving rise to police responsibility in providing convenience of movement and general security making the society functional and efficient. Since human relationships are becoming more sensitive in the complex network of dependence, the policeman has to be sensitive to indications of disorder and lawlessness.
Therefore, it can be argued that a cultural transformation in the district police is practically possible with a strong will of the government as in case of Pakistan Motorway Police. However, it may be pointed out that apart from key policy decisions, this change would require a sustainable financial backup in order to ensure quality in policing as stated by Sir, Robert Peele in his address to the British Parliament on Police Reforms in 1907: “The quality of policing is directly proportional to the financial aspects of policing. It will be difficult to get a good police without paying for it.”
    The writer is a PhD and former inspector general of the National Highways and Motorway Police.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt