Success of Peshawar's City Patrol Force may spawn similar projects elsewhere

By Javed Khan

A City Patrol Force team is ready for duty at Police Lines in Peshawar on September 20. [Peshawar Police]

A City Patrol Force team is ready for duty at Police Lines in Peshawar on September 20. [Peshawar Police]

PESHAWAR -- Peshawar's City Patrol Force, launched in November 2016 to promote a more positive image of the police, has responded to over 2,000 emergencies so far this year.

The force comprises 22 vehicles and about 100 police officers and is headed by a deputy superintendent of police (DSP). It is divided into 20 beats, with eight in the City Division and another 12 in the Cantt Division.

The main purpose of the force is to ensure that police are visible in urban areas and can quickly respond to any emergencies.

"Our officers respond to any emergency, including road accidents, traffic jams, and criminal or terrorist incidents, within two to five minutes," said DSP Usman Khan, who has been leading the force since its creation.

The force has rescued 1,650 civilians after responding to emergency calls in the city this year, he said on October 6.

"Our vehicles are equipped with cameras, computers, wireless systems and other gadgets," said Khan.

The patrol force has checked more than 3,000 vehicles, more than 520 rented buildings, inspected the security arrangements of more than 3,102 schools in different parts of the city and detained 2,650 suspects in the current year, according to Khan.

Many women on the patrol force have been playing an active role as first responders and crime fighters as well, said Khan.

The government is planning to launch similar projects in other major cities of the province in the near future, he added.

"The City Patrol Force was launched as a first-responder force to immediately meet any crime or any emergency situation," said Superintendent of Police (SP) City Atiq Shah.

The force has been effective in helping the regular police in their jurisdiction, he said.

"The motto of the force is triple 'S': Safety, Service and Security," said Shah.

The officers of the City Patrol Force create a positive image for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police and have earned considerable respect, said Kashif Ahmad, a trader in Khyber Bazaar

Members of the force, while being more visible even at night, were attacked on Ring Road in November 2016, soon after the group was launched, Ahmad recalled. One officer was killed and two others were wounded.

However, the visibility of the force and its quick responses have made it a success in less than three years, he said.

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