Lahore: The UNDP supported Legal Empowerment of the Poor(LEP) Progamme organized a one-day consultative Workshop on ‘Community Oriented Policing Services: Police Station Level Consultations’, here today. The main objective of the Workshop was to develop solutions at the policy and operational level to issues emerging from discussion focusing on various themes developed for the Workshop i.e. process mapping and reform and community police relationships. This event invited the participation of 37 Station House Officers(SHOs) from different districts of Punjab.
According to the evidence emerging from stakeholder consultations in the workshop, lack of capacity building opportunities for the SHOs has incapacitated the police officials in areas of attitude and skills. Non-existence of service structure and welfare facilities for the police community, dearth of resources and logistical support, and most importantly, the trust deficit between the community and police has weakened the performance and image of the police.
According to National Programme Manager(LEP) Kashif Noon, “this workshop is part of an ongoing consultation process with key justice sector stakeholders, including the judiciary and the Bar. The Thana serves as the first and most enduring point of contact between the police and the community. What the citizen experiences here colours their perception not only concerning the police but the entire criminal justice system. It is imperative that we engage with the Thana learn about the problems faced by junior ranks and work toward a more service oriented culture. We have an ‘Apni Masjid’, an ‘Apna School’ in every neighbourhood – why not an ‘Apna Thana’? he added.
Participants were highly active during discussions and receptive toward new innovative ideas and approaches. They supported process reforms regarding investigations, watch and ward, and police-community liaison, and expressed their firm commitment for realizing the vision of the LEP Programme.
LEP is part of UNDP Pakistan’s broader agenda for the Rule of Law and Access to Justice and intends to work in 36 districts, across all 4 provinces and Gilgit Baltistan for improving justice sector service delivery for the poor and vulnerable, working closely with the judiciary, Bar, prosecution, Ombudsman offices and prisons.