PESHAWAR -- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police are continuing efforts to wipe out corruption within the force, according to officials.
"An internal accountability wing was set up at the Central Police Office in Peshawar last August to receive complaints against officials and to order inquiries," KP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Salahuddin Khan Mehsud told Pakistan Forward.
To boost anti-corruption efforts, Mehsud has made his cellular phone number, 0340-6555333, public to receive complaints from anyone about officers and officials.
"All regional and district police heads have made their cellular phones public so anyone can directly provide complaints or tips," he said.
"We have given our cellular phone numbers to locals so they can directly access me and other officers in case of any complaint of [police] misbehaviour -- corruption or not," Atiq Shah, a sub-divisional officer in Peshawar, told Pakistan Forward.
"Apart from social media, banners and posters have been displayed in the city to [urge the public to] contact the relevant officers for any complaints against officials or [to provide] information on any criminals in the area," he said.
Additionally, since 2014, Peshawar residents have been able to send complaints and information to KP Police via SMS through the Police Access Service. Similar services at the district level began operating gradually until the entire province was covered last year.
Those who file complaints hear from a senior officer immediately. The police keep their information and identity confidential.
Disciplining corrupt officers
The police force has launched effective disciplinary measures against corrupt officers over the past four years, significantly reducing misconduct, according to police officials.
From October 2013 to mid-February 2018, 1,009 police officers were dismissed or forced to retire over corruption allegations, according to Waqar Ahmad, spokesman for KP Police.
The disciplinary actions resulted from investigations into corruption complaints and misuse of power, he told Pakistan Forward.
Another 7,230 police officers faced other punishments, including demotions.
Such actions have occurred during the past few years to discourage corruption and ensure a merit-based work environment, he said. "The graph of performance has improved, and public complaints have dropped significantly because of swift actions against the corrupt officials."
Police officers who perform well receive incentives like cash rewards and commendations, said Waqar.
Improved police performance
The overall performance of the police force has improved because of the increased accountability measures, say observers.
"The strict accountability introduced by the former KP IGP Nasir Khan Durrani has not only discouraged corruption but improved the treatment of the general public at police stations and check-points," Naseer Ahmad, a 35-year-old trader from Peshawar, told Pakistan Forward.
"There is a significant change in the behaviour of the police force, especially in dealing with complainants, due to strict accountability over the past few years," said Riaz Khan, a Peshawar-based journalist.
Even the most senior police officers are now accessible through their cellular phones and social media, allowing citizens to file complaints against any official, he said.
"The overall performance of the police has improved, and corruption has declined visibly because of the measures taken against [corrupt officials] during the past almost four years," he told Pakistan Forward.