Policing : People vs Processes
There are at least three lessons that could have been learnt from the unfortunate kidnapping incident of the Chief Justice’s son. (a) Need to create a nation-wide emergency reporting system (b) Pushing for complete deweaponisation of 20 million guns in the hands of civilians (c) registration of all government vehicles and reforming the existing vehicle registration and checking system. Sadly the entire focus of the government machinery and state organs was limited to a person-specific recovery project. There were no lessons learnt and no reforms carried out to improve mechanisms that will prevent such incidents in the future. The state puts in heroic efforts when it comes to resolving high-profile cases. Nothing is however done to improve the archaic and non-functioning policing processes that are reserved for ordinary citizens.
The broad daylight kidnapping that took place at 2:30 PM on June 20, 2016 was discovered by the Sindh Police after an unforgiveable lapse of six hours. The police could have immediately known (and perhaps prevented) this incident had the victim been carrying a personal tracking system. Many versions of these systems are now available that can be worn on the wrist, kept in pocket or hung around the neck. Pressing a single button can generate SOS calls to police and family members. These GPS enabled systems can also perform many additional functions such as geo-fencing, two way conversation and sending location information.
Why is our police hesitant to utilize technology to improve its processes? An efficient information receiving system (such as the one described above) could enable the police to respond immediately and prevent many crimes and kidnappings from getting uglier. While the victim in most cases may not have the time to use a cell phone, he would certainly have the opportunity to press an unnoticeable SOS button. Needless to say that an emergency information system is just one component of crime control. It is good only if backed up by rapid response police units, who could reach a crime scene in a matter of minutes. Perhaps we could prevent many incidents like that of the Chief Justice’s son, if we were to focus on processes and not persons.