Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s announcement to give health cards and housing facilities to Islamabad Police officials will indeed boost the force’s morale. The current government recognises that the welfare of public servants is of utmost importance. Giving incentives and benefits to the government officials can help in mitigating the menace of corruption. Some may say that it is of no use. However, if the things on offer eliminate corruption even by a bit and dissuade officers from dereliction of duty and abuse of power, this would mean that the state took a correct step.

Addressing police corruption is essential to maintain public order and the rule of law. The accountability of police supports the state’s legitimacy and strengthens public trust in democratic processes and institutions. Pakistan’s system entrusts considerable powers to law enforcement officers. The officials can be easily manipulated for private gain or political purposes since the government offers them low salaries and no social benefits. There are many linkages between police corruption and human right abuses that can further undermine internal security and abet abuses of civil and political rights.

Many government servants often argue that jobs, not addressing their social and economic needs, force them to indulge in financial embezzlement. Now that the state has decided to take care of their needs, they can’t hide behind this argument. Empirical evidence suggests that strengthening law enforcement institutions’ accountability is critical for any society’s smooth functioning.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) must coordinate with the provinces on initiating such a welfare scheme for the police departments, especially in the provinces where the party is in power. Such incentives should be provided to members of the force with regular and reliable salary payments. In any case, this is a better strategy than handing police officers roller-skates to help in discharging their duties. We can learn from countries such as Singapore, where the government offers the same benefits to its officials that the private sector offers to minimise corruption in state departments.