PESHAWAR -- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police has launched a new force of highly trained officers equipped with the latest technology to take on terrorists and crime in the provincial capital, Peshawar.
The City Police Patrol is initially comprised of about 176 personnel who will work in two shifts to keep an eye on the security situation in Peshawar. A deputy superintendent of police heads the force.
"There will be four personnel in every vehicle, headed by a sub-inspector," Capital City Police Officer Peshawar Mohammad Tahir told Pakistan Forward. "There will be one driver and two anti-terrorist squad members as guards."
The force initially has obtained 22 vehicles equipped with cameras to keep an eye on happenings as it drives around the city, he said.
"They will respond immediately in case of any crime, terrorist incident or any road mishap to take position and provide help to the victims," Tahir said, adding that the force will have its own command-and-control system separate from the local police station.
The City Police Patrol command-and-control system has been set up at the East Cantonment Police Station and connects to all the vehicles through a wireless system. A special arrangement has been made so every vehicle remains on duty and does not leave its area.
The patrol will work two eight-hour shifts per day.
KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on November 10 launched the new force at the Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines in Peshawar.
The members of the force saluted the chief minister before taking over their responsibilities in various parts of the provincial capital.
"The City Police Patrol is a new milestone in making the KP Police people-friendly and improving its performance," Khattak said at the event.
The new police force will respond quickly in case of any criminal or terrorist act and will help improve the sense of security among the public, he said.
"We are making every effort to bring the police in KP on par with the developed world, and the new project is another step in that direction," he said, adding that the video recording system inside the car will also help keep police officers accountable.
"Our province was hit hard by terrorism a few years back, but the situation has improved to a great extent because of efforts by the government," Khattak said.
The incidence of all crime, not only of terrorist attacks, has fallen province wide in the past few years, he said.
"The City Police Patrol will be extended to other districts with the passage of time, as the force has been launched as first responders in case of any criminal or terrorist activity," KP Police Inspector General Nasir Khan Durrani told Pakistan Forward.
"The force will respond immediately to any call for help received to the police control room," he said. "Besides, the force will keep a check on street crimes, suspicious movement and other criminal elements."
Citizens can call 15 to reach the police control room.
Initially the force has been deployed in 20 beats throughout the city and cantonment circles of Peshawar. Twelve teams will serve within the limits of the cantonment, while eight squads will be deployed in city circles.
"The four-member team in every car has been provided a tablet so that the team can verify the records of any individual or vehicle in the database and can geo-tag in case of any incident," Durrani said.
The public has expressed appreciation for the small, modern cars and the professionally dressed, highly trained officers of the force.
"The force seems to be friendlier with the public and will hopefully be more lethal for the criminals," said Amjad Ali, a teacher in Hayatabad. The government has done well in reforming the force and equipping the officers with modern technology, he said.
"The amazing thing is that the cops have been told to respond anywhere within 12 minutes in case of any emergency," he told Pakistan Forward. "This will help victims in case of any terrorist or criminal activity."