Equipping the police... By Shahryar
03 September, 2013
I would like to recommend that the minister of interior and all the senior officers of the police forces in Pakistan start watching all the episodes of the television programme called Crime Scene Investigation (CSI). This television series is based on actual police cases, which have been solved by the US police's crime and forensics laboratories. CSI is a department of the US police force, which collects all the data at a crime scene. This data is than analysed to find out the actual culprit in the investigation. With time, new technologies and equipment have made this department of the US police force even more important. With the discovery of DNA, it is possible to figure out who was at a crime scene by analysing DNA material and, since DNA stays preserved for many decades, this technology is helping the US police solve old and unresolved cases. Chemical sprays can highlight blood spillage even after the place has been cleaned.
In Pakistan, we have a different way of investigating incidents. For example, in 2010, my friend's expensive watch was snatched from him inside a mosque in Peshawar, with the Hayatabad police station right across the road from the mosque. When we went to the police station, the inspector called three people on his phone to confirm their locations. He claimed that these people were from three gangs of pickpockets that were operating in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. All the gangs confirmed that they were operating in different cities other than Peshawar. The inspector told us to wait for a week so he could catch this 'new entrant'. I gave the police a description of the thief and a week later I received a call from the inspector saying that they had caught the person. On visiting the police station, I identified the thief and the police said that they would recover the watch soon. However, more than two weeks later, we found out that the police had to let the thief go as they had not registered any FIR against him. The police were blaming a private television channel by saying that the news team raided their secret holding cell where the police kept all the 'criminals' who had no cases registered against them. I find this rather appalling.
Recently we all witnessed a positive improvement in investigation techniques in Pakistan when the special software created for verifying thumb impressions of voters in the 2013 general election was inventively used to track down the fingerprints of local criminals. Two big crimes were amazingly resolved within a few weeks. Therefore, I would like to request the ministry of interior to create a special 'crime investigation unit' for the Pakistan police force. We can also request the help of the US police force to train and guide us in setting up such units since the US police are very advanced in such investigative techniques. The minister of interior would also have to push for new laws to allow the results of such crime laboratories as references or evidence in criminal investigations as the current laws do not allow many forms of computer-based data to be used as evidence in investigations. Therefore, a new set of laws that allow the acceptance of data and other evidence like e-mails, mobile phone calls and text messages, photographs, chemical analysis and DNA testing, etc, in criminal investigations should be introduced in Pakistan.
This solution will also help the judiciary make quicker decisions in criminal cases and improve the availability of justice to the common Pakistani in criminal cases. This will also help the police become a stronger force with more intelligence work to help them in their investigations. By deploying DNA and fingerprint technology, they will be able to find the real culprits of crimes quickly and apprehend them quickly as well, reducing their chances of repeating their crimes. Similarly, by allowing the police force access to mobile tracking through communication towers, triangulation through easy custom made software will improve their response time. By helping the police force become an investigative organisation, the honourable interior minister will be able to improve the internal security of Pakistan. This will eventually help identify and apprehend anti-state insurgents in Pakistan.
SHAHRYAR KHAN BASEER