https://pakistan.asia-news.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_pf/features/2020/04/07/feature-01
Crime & Justice

KP aims to be 'one click' away from digitally connecting police efforts

By Zahir Shah Sherazi

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Ziaullah Bangash, adviser on science, technology and IT to the KP chief minister, inspects the first digital surveillance and reporting hub at the Malakand Levies Headquarters on March 12. [Zahir Shah Sherazi] 

PESHAWAR -- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government is set to establish digital reporting and surveillance hubs across the province to support efforts against terrorism and crime.

The use of modern technology and devices to augment security operations is a priority, and the provincial government is working toward the Digital Pakistan vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, which seeks to create a digitally progressive and inclusive country, said Ziaullah Bangash, adviser on science, technology and information technology to the KP chief minister.

Bangash made his remarks on March 12 during a visit to the "Italah" digital surveillance and reporting hub at the Malakand Levies Headquarters. The hub, established in March 2018, is the first of its kind.

Similar hubs will be extended throughout the province, he said, adding that the effort will "ensure transparency and expediency besides further improving the performance of the police".

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An official briefs Ziaullah Bangash, adviser on science, technology and IT to the KP chief minister, during his visit to the Malakand Levies Headquarters on March 12. [Zahir Shah Sherazi]

The initiative is aimed at digitalising the records of all police stations in KP, monitoring mobile squads of officers and providing swift justice for the public, said Commissioner Malakand Division Riaz Mehsud.

"We have linked the 14 Levies police stations and mobile squads with the tracking system," Mehsud said, referring to the system in Malakand.

The system is "very effective in fighting terrorism and controlling law and order as the mobile squads, and all the Levies police stations will be connected through the tracking system to a central command-and-control center that will operate the entire mechanism", he said.

The new digital reporting hubs "will ensure the registration of online cases, and there will be no tampering with the record once it goes online", he said.

The monitoring mechanism will allow authorities to dispatch mobile squads to where they are needed, Mehsud said, adding that squads will be "linked through wireless and communication devices [to] not only streamline the routine surveillance but also help maintain law and order".

Police records will be linked to an online reporting system, allowing mobile squads to look up the identities of suspects with one click, he said.

The reporting system will enable the online filing of First Information Reports (FIRs), according to a release published by the KP Information Department in February.

The public can apply for the clearance of its vehicles online by submitting the requisite data.

Enhancing security

The reform and enhancement of the Levies through the monitoring system will ensure peace in Malakand Division as they will boost the force's ability to fight terrorism and crime, said Lt. Gen. (ret.) Amjad Shoaib, a Peshawar-based security analyst.

The former tribal areas have always been prone to terror attacks in the past, but now modern training and equipment will boost the morale and fighting capability of the force, he said.

"As we have seen in the past, Levies police stations were attacked repeatedly by militants and many security personnel were killed as there were no communication links or monitoring mechanism," said Peshawar-based security analyst Brig. (ret.) Mehmood Shah.

The monitoring and tracking system will be very effective in two ways, according to Dr. Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, chairman of the Peace and Conflict Studies Department at the University of Peshawar.

The system will help locate the squads and be helpful in sending reinforcements in times of need, he said.

If the same system is provided to the police and the Khasadar force of the tribal areas, now merged with KP Police, the security mechanism in tribal areas will be much improved, he said.

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