PESHAWAR -- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police have set up a new department that will focus on creating strategies to counter terrorism, the targeted killings of law enforcement officers and other crimes.
The Research and Analysis directorate "has been set up at the Central Police Office (CPO) [and] will work across the province," KP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sanaullah Abbasi said in June. The office was established in early March.
The department is the first of its kind to carry out research and analysis in cases of terrorism and other crimes, as well as to study methods for improving the work and welfare of police in the province, especially in the newly merged tribal districts, he said.
"For the first time a centralised research directorate has been set up at the headquarters of the KP Police," Abbasi said, adding that previously the CPO had three decentralised wings.
The new bureau is carrying out research on two important issues, he said. "The directorate is working on policing strategies to curb targeted killings in KP and how to upgrade police security for the protection of polio vaccination teams."
The new Research and Analysis directorate will study and suggest measures to improve and modernise the welfare system of police, police officers' behaviour with the public, capacity building at the police-station level and the use of modern technology in policing, according to Abbasi.
In addition, the department is studying how to improve policing during the coronavirus outbreak, according to Waqar Ahmad, director of the new bureau.
That task includes safeguarding police stations, imposing voluntary and involuntary lockdowns of certain areas and providing standard procedures for social distancing, he said.
The new office will combine work previously performed by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), the Research Special Branch and the Research and Investigation department at the CPO, its three decentralised predecessors.
"The directorate of research at the CTD [can now] exclusively work on terrorist incidents in KP with a focus on how to effectively counter these attacks and ensure the security of the public," said Superintendent of Police CTD Waqar Khan.
"There is a need for proper study and research on how to fully introduce a police system in the erstwhile FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas]," said Abdul Hakim Orakzai, a university student from Orakzai District.
While he welcomes the extension of the police system to the newly merged districts, a number of challenges need to be studied and properly addressed, he said.
"The research directorate can study what elements are a hurdle to the smooth functioning of the police force in the erstwhile FATA, where the majority of residents want a police system similar to those in the rest of the country," said Orakzai.
"Police forces in other provinces have had modern and effective directorates for research, and KP now has one, which can further improve its performance," said Peshawar-based journalist Qaisar Khan.
The research wing will be helpful in learning how to effectively counter terrorist incidents in KP as well as curb street crimes, rape, and assaults of children, he said.
"Through the collection of crime data as well as of the history of those involved, along with proposing steps to protect the public from terrorists and criminals, we can help improve the law-and-order situation in KP," Khan said.