Warriors or Guardians: The Role of Police Officers

J. J. Baloch


The rapidly changing times of digital democracy, high connectivity, greater freedom and easy access to everything in real time keep redefining the role of police officers in the 21st century. Pakistan claims no exception to this rule. This phenomenon has made policing not only a difficult but also a very dangerous job to perform. However, the training discourse of police officers in any police academy anywhere in the world reveals with unmistakable clarity that police officers are groomed as warriors rather than the guardians.

The policing challenges in the 21st century require policing educators to revisit the basic structure of their training designs which appear to be inherently flawed in the context of emerging socio-political realities. If we examine the policing literature of any academy or any police publications from any part of the world, warrior mentality would appear to be a dominant and recurrent theme, filled with great slogans and enthusiasm for waging war on everything-crime, drugs, illegal weapons, terrorism etc. Indeed, it is important to instil the physical spark in young officers facing the challenges of crime, but the more important is to inculcate in them the moral values of courage, confidence, optimism, cordiality, honesty, service delivery, passion, empathy, impartiality, democracy and rule of law in building their integrity of character which could serve as an instrumental in winning the public trust.

The police officers in Pakistan, as a general practice and a common tradition, are used to be trained as the best warriors instead of the best guardians. It is the general perception in almost all the policy circles of law enforcement and government that only warriors can engage any kind of threat in a befitting manner and can better serve and protect their communities or localities from nearly any threat while standing on thin blue line. Such thin blue line is always drawn between law-abiding citizens and the criminals.

It goes without saying that the police have become a trickier and riskier profession and everyone can hardly survive the dangers associated and threats involved in enforcing the writ of the law. Today, than ever before, the culture of uncertainty and mistrust dominate the very attitude of police officers. In many cases, it has been observed that criminals and outlaws or what we call non-state actors are doing the role of the guardians of the people in terms of guaranteeing them the protection of their cultural, economic, political and social rights. This becomes alarming when public begin to trust terrorists and drug peddlers more than they trust their police and this has been witnessed in many parts of Pakistan during our war on terror. Winning such seminal war without enlisting public support is, indeed, a misnomer. Many research studies have found that war on terror can never be won without effective policing. And there could always be the remotest chances of police to win such a war without mandatorily winning the public trust before engaging in such a deadly showdown.     

There is little doubt in the fact that the police officers tend to invoke their inner warrior instinct instantly. There are some scholars and scientists, however, who suggest that the current model of training structure, organisation and indeed culture, among police departments, is setting law enforcement up for a collision course with the citizens who the police officers are sworn to serve and protect. Articles and even books such as Rise of the Warrior Cop by Radley Balko (2013) and The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale (2017) have raised serious concerns for what the perceived militarization of police means for law enforcement and for fundamental rights of the citizens.

In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Balko shows how politicians’ ill-considered policies and relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. His fascinating and frightening narrative shows how over a generation, a creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society. Balko focuses on many policies and police practice instances which are castigated to have posed the serious threat to the fundamental rights or civil liberties of the US citizens as enshrined in their much celebrated 4th Amendment. Nixon’s War on Drugs, Reagan’s War on Poverty, Clinton’s COPS program, the post–9/11 security state under Bush and Obama: by degrees, each of these innovations expanded and empowered police forces, always at the expense of civil liberties. And these are just four among a slew of reckless programs.


However, Alex S. Vitale in his critique: “The End of Policing” goes further in condemning the militarized role of police in very clear and categorical terms; he maintains that the problem is not with police officers’ attitude and training but rather the substantial problem is with policing itself. He argues that policing must end and modern democratic society no longer needs authoritative, dictatorial and punitive methodologies to encroach upon fundamental rights of the people in the name of establishing peace and order. He believes that policing can be replaced by employing restorative, legal and humanitarian methods of addressing the problems of crime and disorder through rehabilitation of non-conformists within the given societies. To him, it is in the very nature of policing as a form of coercive and blatant force that it stands in the way of protecting human rights. He attacks policing as a burden on public exchequer and recommends for cost-effective community voluntarism of pre-state societies to be more effective than the modern security paradigm which is designed to thrive on taxing the public in the garb of public safety. Finally, he infers that crime will never end if the police get more powers and more budgets because the end of crime will make the police no longer relevant to societies, so it is in the very nature of policing to let some sort of crime exist. These findings may make us very uncomfortable as working in policing industry but there is a large number of people who concur with the Vitale’s notion in Pakistan and this book is a clarion call to make our house in order by assuming truly the role of a guardian.   

The case of Pakistan police is quite different from American police in many ways. However, some existing commonalities in both cases need to be highlighted here. In America the police officers are blamed to be taking on the role of the military while in Pakistan Para-military forces, like rangers, have assumed the policing function due to consistent violence in our cities since the 1990s when ethnic and sectarian violence raised their ugly faces, killing many innocent people. Now the same culture of reckless violence has joined the ghost of terrorism which is fed by growing religious militancy and extremist ideologies both at home and in neighbouring countries like India and Afghanistan. The common in critique is the fact that in both the cases of US as well as Pakistan, the police are not doing policing but rather performing a military function that tarnishes the image of police as a social service which is tasked by the constitution to protect the fundamental rights of their citizenry as their primary and core job.

In Pakistan, the relationship between the police and the public has remained regrettably tenuous. Since its very inception in the second half of 19th century on Irish Constabulary model which was mandated to suppress the rebellions like that of 1857 in British India, the Police have been lacklustre in building the image of the guardians of the rights of the people. On the contrary, the common men in the streets believe that the police are the coercive tool of the government to get their unlawful job done. There are others who take police as the government’s occupying force which is toned and tuned to deprive people of their rights by being hand in glow with political and criminal actors within the society.  

A demonstrator detained by a policeman gestures near the Faizabad junction in Islamabad

The good news for all Pakistanis is that like all other police forces in the world, the police departments in Pakistan are coming back to their basics. The police reforms in Pakistan is the on-going process and the duties of police officers are no longer to dance to the tunes of the people in power but to follow the procedure and to act in accordance with law without fear and favour. Police Order 2002 redefined the role of police officers as the guardian of the fundamental rights of the people and this notion stands validated by many superior court judgements in Pakistan. The transformation of KP police in Pakistan from regime service to the public service through their new legislation of Police Act 2017 has generated new debate about the redefined role of police officers as the guardians to serve and protect their communities with rejuvenated passion in changing police demographics-Millennials- of the 21st century.

The overwhelming inefficiency of police in performing their core functions has increased the public scrutiny of police officers and police departments in Pakistan. Social media technology is making public scrutiny much easier and stricter. The public has always expected high ethical standards from police officers and so much more so now than ever before. The incidents like model town Lahore, 12 May 2007 Karachi, and incapacity to restore public life during frequent Dharnas-Crowd Demonstration- in Islamabad D Chowk and Faizabad and their live media coverage have gone a long way in exposing the helplessness, negligence and non-professionalism of our police force and in necessitating change in everything policing and police.  

In the intensely connected societies of ours, people can hardly take any pain in exposing police officers misconduct with public instantly on real-time media. Flash forward to the “Age of the Internet” where everything is accessible hands down to every Tom, Dick and Harry with Smartphones and tablets in their hands, they can show wrongdoings of police officers thereof to thousands, if not to millions of people. There are still others who think nothing of purposefully goading police officers and pushing the envelope as far as they can while remaining within their rights. People miss no opportunity to expose the ignorance of police with regards to the very laws that the police officers are supposed to enforce, the procedures they are trained to follow and the rights they are sworn to uphold. In the recent episode of Faizabad sit-in by Labaik Ya Rasul Allah movement protesters, the weaknesses of police strategy, planning and conduct were fully exploited by the protesters on social media while the electronic media was banned by the government for few days. Police departments around the world still espouse their role as guardians of public rights in their slogans and their mission statements. It does not take long, however, for new officers to begin to see themselves as set apart from, rather than a part of, protecting the civil liberties of their citizenry.

The warrior image of police officers erodes public trust and eroded public trust is eroding police effectiveness as the builder and keepers of peace in Pakistan as well as in every society worldwide. In such state of affairs police officers fail to help and defend themselves. Instead of showing measured, thoughtful and intelligent responses, police officers view any challenge to their authority as a threat that must be subdued or eliminated. This bravado is getting both citizens and police officers hurt and only serve to further diminish the public trust in police and policing.

The Writer is an author of “Whiter than White”-a novel and a senior police officer at Police Service of Pakistan…




Pakistan Needs Police Officers’ Bill of Rights

J.J. Baloch



Today there is an acute need for streamlining the proper job description as well as the enabling environment for police officers to perform their mandated tasks without fear and favour. Police should have legal rights to protect and defend themselves against all kinds of allegations, onslaughts, threats, incriminations, intimidations, blackmail and pressures, failing which the erosion of the writ of the state cannot be ceased. However, the citizens in Pakistan enjoy their rights and protections under the constitution; similarly, the police or law enforcement officers should have their ‘bills of Rights’ in the similar way ad their counterparts do have in the civilized societies. 

It goes without saying that the police profession is getting riskier and police in Pakistan work under uncertainty and greater pressures from all corners. In the wake of the new forms of threats to peace and order in the society, that the police officers are tasked to protect, expose them to new challenges. The passion of protecting and serving their communities needs to be balanced with addressing their vulnerabilities and victimization. The influence of mounting mob culture in policy and practice of law enforcement in Pakistan has underscored the need for “ownership and autonomy” of police officers to protect them against all vulnerabilities that affect or likely to affect their performance.  

Existing legal structure regulating police work lacks relevance, sophistication, rationality, modernization, innovation, adoption of technology and ample experience with scientific methodologies applied in policing models in the wake of terrorism and extremism which too have become the primary mandate of police to deal with.

Police officers in Pakistan have gravely suffered in multiple ways during recent decades following the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy during the early 1980s due to their misuse of coercive authority and force against everyone at the behest of the dictatorship. The political use of police that has remained our statutory culture over the years has earned a very bad name for police, thereby widening the gap between the police and the public. Despite the change in the culture of the rule of law forced and facilitated by some thoughtful politicians, enlightened bureaucrats, insightful police leadership and new police demographics, independent and informed media and also by the proactive courts in Pakistan, the police department still stand aloof as the recipient of the fruits of change in the culture of governance due to their disconnectedness with the public on the grass root level.

Owing to growing mistrust between the police and the public, every outsider whether a politician, a journalist, a bureaucrat, a feudal, a human rights activist, a criminal or even a terrorist keep trying to make the most of such consistent vacuum for grinding their own axe. In such circumstances, police leadership stands helpless against the police victimization and disaster as it was witnessed in many potential and explosive situations of crowd demonstrations in last few decades. It is quite strange to note that police officers have been seen doing things good or bad to their own peril even if the decisions of either taking action against violence or remaining silent spectators have come from the governments or regimes in power, not at all made by the police command independently, whether it was the case of Karachi operations, Benazir Bhutto assassination crime scene destruction allegation, use of force in model town mishap, care and caution in avoiding the use of force in PTI Dharnas of 2014 and the most recently the Faizabad Sit-in of November 2017.


Police actions, which end up in failure, appears to have been disowned by all those stakeholders who had their role and share in them; while the achievements and success of police, on the contrary, have been claimed by non-police actors whosoever on the horseback. The crisis of law enforcement ownership still gets deeper in Pakistan when police officers face violence on their own. Only in fighting terrorism more than ten thousand law enforcement officers from all the ranks ranging from constables up to the Inspectors General of Police have sacrificed their precious lives in the line of duty during last two decades. Many have been dismissed from Service. Still, others have received severe sentences or facing trials without availing any legal rights that their counterparts are enjoying in civilized societies.

In this context, the American example makes the appropriate reference. The Fraternal Order of Police advocated the police officers’ “Bill of rights”, based on two important U.S. Supreme Court cases, Garrity v. New Jersey and Gardner v. Broderick, which “provides basic guidelines that serve to ensure fairness and to make sure that, during the course of an administrative investigation, officers’ basic constitutional rights are protected. Both court cases involved allegations of misconduct by officers.

Garrity v. New Jersey

“In the case of Garrity, officers were placed under investigation for fixing traffic tickets. When the officers were called in to be interrogated, they were properly informed that anything they said could be used against them in a criminal proceeding. They were also informed that they could refuse to answer any questions that they felt could incriminate them. However, they were warned that if they refused to answer any questions, they would be fired from their jobs…The officers answered the questions asked of them and were subsequently prosecuted and convicted of their crimes…They appealed to the Supreme Court, however, on the grounds that they were convicted in part based on their own statements, which they claimed were compelled under threat of losing their jobs. The court agreed, ruling that threatening to fire someone for refusing to answer questions, in fact, violated the principle of the fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination and thus those statements should not have been admissible in a criminal proceeding.”

Gardener v. Broderick

“In the case of Gardener v. Broderick, officers were being investigated for bribery. During the investigation, officers were offered immunity from prosecution for their statements, which they were required to give to a grand jury or be fired. They have also presented waivers of immunity and instructed that if they refused to waive their right to immunity, they would be fired…Gardner refused to sign the waiver, invoking his fifth amendment rights and was subsequently dismissed from his job. The court overturned the dismissal, again stating that he was wrongly compelled to testify.”

Both of these cases recognized that agencies at times need to interview their employees and that they had the right to compel them to testify in administrative matters. A distinction, then, was made between administrative investigations, which pertained to job performance, and criminal investigations, which pertained to allegations of illegal activity.

An officer, then, could be forced to provide information when the investigation was limited to the scope of their duties and whether or not they violated agency policy and procedures. Any information obtained during the course of such a compelled testimony, however, could not be used against an officer in any criminal proceeding.


In this contexts, police officers in Pakistan need protections from two fronts: the intrusions and pressures of the government to force police officers through both the intimidations and personalized rewards and secondly from the incrimination of their legally mandated functions and duties which they discharge for maintaining peace and order in the society. Police are the type of a very sensitive profession and need very sensible officers to strike balance between their understanding of people’s rights and the limits of police authority. Like military officers and judges, police should not work directly under the political thumb of the governments and regimes in power but serve the state and its people under the law and in accordance with the notions of the rule of law.

In Pakistan, the IGP Sindh case against Sindh government for his un-ceremonial removal and also the action was taken by him against police officers allegedly involved in misconduct are to go a long way in settling the basic principles of administrative autonomy of police as well as the legal rights of the police officers. However, now many controversies including legal, political and moral surround the way Sindh Police is handling the controversial affairs. The recently submitted report in Supreme Court by Chief Secretary Sindh, questioning the authenticity, reliability and the credibility of enquiry reports submitted by senior police command, has raised many questions that warrant proper legal and procedural settlement in the courts of law.      

There is no denying the fact that the issues of capacity and corruption are as truer as they are in any other department of Pakistan but the step-motherly attitude of all those who matter police profession one way or the other do have serious implications on what police are expected to deliver. Like American Fraternal Order of Police, the Police Service of Pakistan Association should prepare for legal battles in our superior courts ahead to get the rights of police officers guaranteed against all kinds of victimizations and intrusions, thereby helping the helpless police in Pakistan restore their faith in the rule of law and the institutions of the justice in our country.    

The writer is an author, an educator, a novelist and a senior police officer at Police Service of Pakistan.

Whiter than White by J.J. Baloch: Ratings, Reviews, Publicity and Availability

Whiter than White by J. J. Baloch is now available in every corner of the world. The author is receiving requests for its translations in different global languages. 

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The Value of Science in Policing

J. J. Baloch


All objects in the universe are unique. No two things that happen by chance ever happen in exactly the same way. No two things are ever constructed or manufactured in exactly the same way. No two things wear in exactly the same way. No two things ever break in exactly the same way“, so maintains Joe Nickel, a Forensic Expert. Such is the value of science in policing that makes the difference by understanding the difference of the signatures of everything whether it be a crime scene, the fingerprints, the tool marks, the foot tracks, the writings, the ballistics, the biometrics, digits, or anything that help understand crime and criminality. Application of science to the law is called forensic. To me, forensic is the soul of science in policing.

The value of science in policing implies smartness in law enforcement, cost-effectiveness for policing, authenticity and reliability in criminal investigations and to great extent the least political interferences in police work. Policing is defined as a “science of peace and order”. Any scientific methods employed to achieve the goal of peace and order by the police can determine the appropriate value of science in modern day society.We believe that a radical reformation of the role of science in policing will be necessary if policing is to become an arena of evidence-based policies. We also think that the advancement of science in policing is essential if police are to retain public support and legitimacy, cope with recessionary budget reductions, and if the policing industry is to alleviate the problems that have become a part of the policing task”( David Weisburd and Peter Neyroud: 2011).

Criminologists, sociologists, psychologists, pedagogues, philosophers and academics from different fields of science have produced a great number of scientific reports on surveys and projects concerning practical and theoretical topics of police, policing and police training after World War II. They had some direct or indirect influence on political (economic, legal, organisational) decisions and the development of conditions for policing and police training in some countries or regions… It was only possible to bridge the gap between theory (science, academic research) and police practice in some countries and in some fields of police/policing.   


Police departments in Pakistan, as in elsewhere in the world, face a growing number of fiscal challenges. These challenges include many but the most recurrent being balancing the need to combat crime with the cost of policing. Apparently, the volume of budgets increase but such increases are accompanied with limits on the discretionary powers and powers to make the decision about the scientific innovations in policing. The number of police force keeps on increasing without their substantial capacity. Therefore, the policing situation in Pakistan warrants very constructive scientific and technological interventions.

There are many examples of police departments worldwide that have attached prime importance to the application of science to policing practices and have received remarkable outcomes in reducing crime and violence within their areas of responsibility. Among them, the names of Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, California, London, Tokyo, and many other mega-cities are always referred by the policing experts. The police departments in Pakistan such as Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad are struggling with scientific ways and have recently experienced great success in terms of controlling crimes of different types including terrorist incidents.

Why Think of Science in Policing

Increases in funds for building structures, criminal database, forensic facility, digitalization of police investigation and operations, and improving public service delivery are the areas where our governments need to invest for better convictions and equipment to deal with violent acts and mobs.  Decreases in funding for public safety mean those police departments cannot support an ever-increasing number of law enforcement officers — or, in many cases, even the status quo. Therefore, police officials must shift their attention to the science of controlling crime and disorder. In his seminal work on the topic, criminologist Lawrence Sherman is of the view that such evidence-based model driving its authenticity from science could serve as the “most powerful force for change in policing” and also an instrument of policing the changes in crime industry.

Sherman further observes: “The use of the best available research on the outcomes of police work to implement guidelines and evaluate agencies, units and officers.” Evaluation of ongoing police operations is important because it can link research-based strategies to improved public safety outcomes, allowing police agencies to move beyond a reactive, response-driven approach and get smarter about crime control. Science can equip our police departments in Pakistan to adopt innovations in policing ranging from intelligence-led policing to predictive, evidence-based, and proactive policing approaches focussing on crime prevention more than on punishment.


The Disconnect Between Researchers and Police Departments

One factor that contributes to the lack of agreement about how to design policing strategies is the disconnect between the evidence researchers uncover and the approaches taken by many police departments. This disconnect has varied causes, and it leads many practitioners and policymakers to view science as “a luxury that can be useful but can also be done without.” Conducting social science research is time-consuming, which runs counter to community demands for a quick response and to political realities facing police chiefs. And sometimes, even after months or years of study, researchers simply do not know why certain crime phenomena occur and their call for the further inquiry is common.

Who Should do What?

However, incomplete answers about the crime should not keep police departments from using the best available science to inform their strategies. Home departments and police chiefs (IGPs) should embrace the potential of science and introduce it to the toolbox their police officers use to solve crime problems.

If the onus for adopting scientific approaches to controlling crime is on the police, the responsibility for disseminating scientific police practices as well as processes rests with the research community while the politicians are to provide funds to support research-based policy guidelines for policing. Governments through their provincial and federal home or interior department should envisage an establishment of research institutes for criminal justice research which should feed Pakistan’s criminal justice policy, setting goals of crime reduction and improving public safety standards.

Connecting Science to Crime Control Strategies

Researchers can fulfil this responsibility by producing timely, readable reports of their work. Most researchers author lengthy technical reports full of scientific jargon, more suited for academics than practitioners and policymakers. If they want practitioners to use their findings, they must make their research easier to understand. John Laub, Director of the National Institute of Justice, said, “If we want to prevent, reduce and manage crime, scientific discoveries must be translated into policy and practice.” If every crime control research effort resulted in a short, readable and accessible summary that was effectively marketed, perhaps local leaders would start to demand that police pursue policing Science. Each summary could outline the issue studied, the method used in the study, the study’s findings, and their application to policing and crime control.

Inherent in connecting science to the development and evaluation of crime control strategies is the understanding that local knowledge and experience counts and must be blended with scientific evidence to create operationally — and politically — realistic strategies. Police and community members’ knowledge of local conditions, expectations and social dynamics that contribute to crime and disorder are important and should not be ignored.

Adoption of Science in policing does not replace community-specific knowledge, and it does not remove a police department’s authority or responsibility for crime control decisions. It is intended to inform decision-makers about the best scientific evidence regarding strategies to realize desired outcomes. This evidence helps them create or refine their approaches and provides structure for evaluating their efforts. It cannot and is not intended to replace the wisdom and judgment of policing officials and those to whom they report.

Police departments in Pakistan can increase institutional as well as practical knowledge about the science of crime control by forming partnerships with local universities or colleges to use the services of professors, graduate students or interns. National Police Bureau of Pakistan should hire a Ph.D.-level criminologist to translate existing research findings, help craft new scientific research-based strategies and evaluate existing ones. In addition to this, the government of Pakistan can utilize the services of those officers from the Police Services of Pakistan who have completed their foreign education, especially those who have done PhDs abroad.

A shift of the “ownership” of the science of crime control from academic institutions to police agencies may be needed to implement science in policing. Facilitating this shift, those who appoint and remove police chiefs of provinces or districts— Federal and provincial governments — can change the reward systems for police chiefs to encourage them to pursue science-based police practices. As a consequence, “police departments will, as Sherman advocates, become more conversant with the science of crime control and increasingly use the “best evidence to shape the best practices.”

Resistance to Science by the Police Culture in Pakistan

Policing in Pakistan still, coexists with conventional ways and has witnessed mismanaged, slow, disconnected and indifferent-to-ground-reality reforms that have been witnessing many fluctuations due to the absence of uniform institutional approaches. In all police agencies working in Pakistan, there is a growing consensus on the effectiveness of using scientific methods in preventing and solving crimes, but the interest of stakeholders in peace and order varies from one department to the other. If Khyber Pakhtoonkha government allows reasonable independence to Provincial Police Officer (PPO) KP for taking better decisions based on ground reality, the Punjab government is still revisiting tighter bureaucratic controls and Sindh government tries hard to ensure political controls on Sindh police through their home department; while in the GB and Balochistan the police functions are performed by non-police or military agencies. All those in Pakistan who want to control police through different means never want police to be capable of doing their work, autonomous to rely on their own, and independent to remain impartial in decision making. And the application of science to policing is destined to enhance police capacity that many vested interest groups resist; Adoption of science in policing could ensure across-the-board accountability that the thana culture in Pakistan always resists!  

Closing Remarks

Adopting a community-oriented problem-solving philosophy and to use the best available scientific evidence to drive crime control strategies, policymakers and taxpayers alike can help law enforcement officers make our cities safer. They can also help law enforcement officers become more responsive to all the communities they serve, increase their legitimacy with their communities. Application of science in policing increases transparency in police procedures, that in turn warrant for more accountability and hence better professionalism in police which is, indeed, a dire need of the hour. Thus, policing, which is devoid of science, is nothing more than merely a watchman-ship.

The Writer is a scholar, an educator, a novelist and a senior officer at Police Service of Pakistan…





The Broken Windows Policing

J.J. Baloch


The Economist, January 27th, 2015, captions Broken Window Policing as “Cracking down on minor crimes are thought to prevent major ones”. The article further describes:

“The term ‘broken windows’ refers to an observation made in the early 1980s by Mr Kelling, a criminologist, and James Wilson, a social scientist, that when a building window is broken and left unrepaired, the rest of the windows will soon be broken too. An unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, they argued, and so breaking more windows costs nothing. More profoundly, they found that in environments where disorderly behaviour goes unchecked—where prostitutes visibly ply their trade or beggars accost passers-by—more serious street crime flourishes. This theory is supported by a number of randomized experiments. Researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, for example, found that people were twice as likely to steal an envelope filled with money if it was sticking out of a mailbox covered in graffiti. What this means for law enforcement, Messrs Kelling and Wilson prescribed, is that when police officers keep streets orderly and punish even small signs of misbehaviour with a warning or an arrest, people will behave in a more orderly way”.

The surge in urban crime gave birth to zero tolerance on crime and on the causes of crime so describes the Economist report.

“When the “broken windows” theory was first published, urban crime was a seemingly uncontainable problem in America and around the world. But in the past two decades crime has fallen at an extraordinary rate. This change has been especially profound in New York City, where the murder rate dropped from 26.5 per 100,000 people in 1993 to 3.3 per 100,000 in 2013—lower than the national average. Plenty of theories have been concocted to explain this drop, but the city’s decision to take minor crimes seriously certainly played a part. While Mr Bratton was head of New York’s transit police in 1990, he ordered his officers to arrest as many turnstile-jumpers as possible. They found that one in seven arrested was wanted for other crimes and that one in 20 carried a knife, gun or another weapon. Within a year, subway crime had fallen by 30%. In 1994 Rudy Giuliani, who had been elected New York’s mayor after promising to clean up the city’s streets, appointed Mr Bratton as head of the NYPD. Scaling up the lessons from the subway, Mr Bratton found that cracking down on misdemeanour offences, such as illegal gun possession, reduced opportunities for crime. In four years, the city saw about two fewer shootings per day…“Broken windows”-style policing has arguably helped to reduce crime. But other factors have also helped”.

This model was first adopted by the New York Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, who was criticized for police killings of citizens. Broken window policing is used interchangeably with zero tolerance policing, implying the core belief that for controlling major and serious crimes like terrorism, serial killings, and street crimes, it is very essential to crack down on very minor crimes, the negligence of which leads to social non-conformity. This model emphasises on minor violations and their impunity cause bigger crisis and anarchy.

The police can play a key role in disrupting this process. If they focus in on disorder and less serious crime in neighbourhoods that have not yet been overtaken by serious crime, they can help reduce fear and resident withdrawal. Promoting higher levels of informal social control will help residents themselves take control of their neighbourhood and prevent serious crime from infiltrating. A recent systematic review by Braga, Welsh and Schnell (2015) found that policing strategies focused on disorder overall had a statistically significant, modest impact on reducing all types of crime. Not all of the interventions included in the Braga et al. (2015) review, however, are true tests of broken windows theory. Indeed, the broken windows model as applied to policing has been difficult to evaluate for a number of reasons.

First, agencies have applied broken windows policing in a variety of ways. A second concern is how to properly measure broken windows treatment. The most frequent indicator of broken windows policing has been misdemeanour arrests, in part because these data are readily available. Arrests alone, however, do not fully capture an approach that Kelling and Coles (1996) describe as explicitly involving community outreach and officer discretion. Third, the broken windows model suggests a long-term indirect link between disorder enforcement and a reduction in serious crime and so existing evaluations may not be appropriately evaluating broken windows interventions. Fourth, there is much debate over the impact of New York policing tactics on reductions in crime and disorder in the 1990s. Broken windows policing alone did not bring down the crime rates (Eck & Maguire, 2000), but it is also likely that the police played some role. Fifth, there is concern that any effectiveness of broken windows policing in reducing crime (where the evidence, as noted above, is mixed) may come at the expense of reduced citizen satisfaction and damage to citizen perceptions of the legitimacy of police.

Finally, there is also no consensus on the existence of a link between disorder and crime, and how to properly measure such a link if it does indeed exist. For example, Skogan’s (1990) research in six cities did suggest a relationship between disorder and later serious crime, but Harcourt (2001) suggested in a re-analysis of Skogan’s (1990) data that there was no significant relationship between disorder and serious crime. Hence, there is no clear answer as to the link between crime and disorder and whether existing research supports or refutes broken windows theory.

In Pakistan, we have seen this school of thought for zero tolerance policing which have been very touchy on minor violations or what we call civil or non-police matters that lead to tribal and community bloodsheds. It is famous saying in Pakistan that three things, which are civil in nature, cause all kinds of crimes include, Monetary issues, family honour taboos, and land disputes- the areas or the matters where the police are not to take direct cognizance as per the law in vogue. Such policing models have been adopted by Khyber-Pakhtoonkha province by establishing “Dispute Resolution Committees-DRCs” on the district level for resolving conflicts of civil and private nature so that they may not lead to some serious issues of social order and peace in the society. We don’t have statistical data to assess their impacts but they are generally believed to be very effective in resolving the conflicts and irritants.

Besides this, Police in Pakistan has been very active in getting disputes settled outside the court due to prolonged delays in court decisions. Very interestingly, 21st century Pakistan has witnessed an upsurge in Police encounters with criminals and also rise in police target killings. As a final consequence of all this deadly showdown and police loss of manpower and public reactions, crime and violence have remarkably reduced in Pakistan owing to zero tolerance measures taken by the police in the aftermath of National Action Plan and its implementation.

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Now a day, much focus is being put on predictive policing and law enforcement efforts aimed at discouraging and fighting all those factors and causes that lead to violence and crime. However, the broken window policing is somehow losing because it gets police engaged into unnecessary non-cognizable offences that are not always prone to result in bigger crimes; so many fear that empowering police with jingoism and naked authority would earn bad name for the police department  already having the track record of tainted reputation and maligned public image.

The Writer is a scholar, an educator, a novelist and a senior cop at Police Service of Pakistan…



The Ethical Dilemma of Post-modern State

By J. J. Baloch

ʎɐʍ ƃuoɹʍ

The postmodern state devalues human life in the name of preserving it, a very tragic trend that amounts to giving a killing medicine to an ailing patient by a doctor in the name of curing his or her disease.

The question as to how to fight terrorism outweighs the reasons as for why to fight it. Governments worldwide face greater pressures and public wrath for the ways they employ to fight terrorism than the terrorists for their acts of barbarism perpetrated on their opponents. It is perhaps so because the governments are supposed to show more responsibility, care, caution, and professionalism while using force and resources in countering terrorism than the irresponsible, careless, mindless and indiscriminate behaviour of the outlaws. The law enforcement efforts to curb terrorism impatiently results in the violation of Human rights which many civilized souls believe is criminal by all means.

Unlike some cultural aspects that are relative, violations of innocent people’s physical integrity, such as dropping bombs on them should be universally deviant and universally criminal. When the nations of the world begin to focus their power and resources on protecting and preserving human life rather than taking it, we will see the first true efforts being made to counter terrorism.

The modern civilization, despite its tall claims, is yet developing into a state where the so-called civilized mankind could be able to say terrorism is terrorism no matter who commits it against whom and why. What is better for the goose must be better for the gander. If freedoms and civil liberties are so dear to the Americans why it would not be dear to the Africans, Asians, or any other races or nations. Why we think that dictatorships are good for the Middle East and Africa since we, being civilized, have been in war with governments of the time for denying us our rights in the name of greater good and now in the name of counterterrorism.

The champions of human rights have been the champions of throwing nuclear bombs and raining drones on the innocent populations. Who would and who should really call anyone using violence for whatever reason terrorists? Why the elements of justice are not equal to elements of order and peace? Why the monopoly on violence rests with the state even if it turns to be the industry of violence or even if it becomes the agent of chaos and anarchism? Why citizens accept the state and its authority as legitimate since it seems to have lost the soul of establishing peace and order and no more remains the source of protection to human beings amidst hollow claims of the welfare of the humanity through so-called “world order”. Where the selective values of modern civilization in the garb of democracy and the rule of law put the blatant violations of human rights going on under their very nose? How strategic and economic interests of big brothers and so-called veto powers can guide them to go human, humane and humanitarian.


The postmodern world appears to be in a serious ethical dilemma of how the wrong can bring the right and how far it stands right to establish right. Why don’t we think what is better for our own people, living within the premises of our own devised systems, is equally better for all those living outside? How long humanity could bear the brunt of “theirs, yours, others etc” since its soul reflects only “ours”. If we commit the violence, we feel it is in so-called self-defence; but if they commit violence forwarding the same streak of logic, common sense and rationale we are hell-bent on declaring it violation, violence, and offence. The way we are divided; the way we are selfish; the way we are we nurture our notions of being humans; the way we get into the winning games of power and pelf and the way we are roped into groups speak volumes of our withering “ourness” and our dying inhumanity. If one percent or less population among us is criminal or involved in spreading violence and mischief that does never sanction that state to spread violence against already victim 99% population living within or outside the territorial jurisdiction of that particular state. Similarly, this argument does never mean to exempt or protect or justify the inhuman actions committed by the criminal or terrorists.

The leading claimant of human integrity and self-esteem, democracy goes down the drain of the inequality inherent in its accomplice “capitalism”. Modern civilization’s biggest of all tensions is to work out the built-in tensions between democracy and capitalism and also tensions between socialist states and their human rights conditions. The ideological irregularities causing human conflicts is still true with what has been witnessed as the systematic growth of warfare that knows no ending and no winning but continuing and losing by all involved whether directly or indirectly.

My request to the greatest of all politicos in the post-modern world is to think beyond democracy which should not be considered the full stop in the process of the growth of human consciousness about their being the super creature. The most fundamental tension of democracy appears to be getting too older by now to address the issue of inclusiveness in a proper fashion. Even if we take the example of world-leading as well as largest democracies, we would very tragically find that on average the flawed electoral systems produce no majority governments but rather the governments of the handful of some influential and resourceful people whether it is the United States or India or any other democracy.

If you don’t buy my argument, take your calculator and start counting and calculating the total votes registered, total votes casted, total votes obtained by the wining party, that would be forming the government, in terms of total population living within that territorial jurisdictions or electoral constituencies, even in the most idealist conditions you would find that the winning political party might not have secured the support and votes of more than the 30% of their total population but since it secures greater votes in terms of vote cast, it forms the government. As a matter of fact, I can’t call such government, representing the handful of people, as a majority rule or truly representative government.


As a consequence of the non-inclusive systems of governance and its resultant economic impacts, the inequality, poverty, lack of education, religious persecution, radicalism, economic turmoil, social suppression, and oppression of refined liberties and freedoms, especially of minorities, sow the seeds of terrorism, and thus counter-terrorism. Both the terrorism and the counterterrorism have proven the death knell to the legitimacy of the state in modern times. The most commonly utilized counter-terrorism tactics, such as extrajudicial killings, torture, forced disappearances, and political imprisonment is, in fact, themselves acts of terror. To terrorize in the name of combating terrorism is ironically hypocritical, self-contradictory and hence self-defeating. When counter-terrorists use the tactics of terrorists in order to counter terror, they descend to their moral level and just add more terror to the world. And if that were not enough, when counter-terrorists terrorize people, they generate more terrorists.

Great critic of modern times, Noam Chomsky states: “counter-terrorism is terrorism by another name”. We must counter counter-terrorism, in order to uphold human rights and give weight, resources, and priority to it. Military, police and clandestine agencies unilaterally function from a consequentialist point of view, with a modus operandi that denotes that their goals, professedly productive, be accomplished by any means necessary, even if those means are themselves directly counterproductive. Gone are the days when ends justified the means and hardly anyone should justify their criminal acts in name of establishing peace.

Rather than countering terrorism, the governments of the day should work collectively and implement new domestic and foreign “right-based” policies that adhere to the dignity and integrity of their citizens and also the citizens of their fellow states who are their partners in peace, not their allies in war. There is much beyond military, police, and other punitive actions to restore the ailing elements within the humanity and society. The best ways to fight terrorism are the non-violent means.

The modern politics get into the ethical dilemma when it begins to terrorize the innocent and non-combatant people in the name of countering terrorism. Therefore, let us shut down the counterterrorist show that places more restrictions on citizen’s freedoms and takes more lives annually than the ghost of terrorism because there is no greater right than the right to life.

The writer is a policing educator, a novelist, an author and a senior cop at Police Service of Pakistan… 




Towards the Strategic Policing (Part-II)

By J. J. Baloch


The Essence of My Anecdotes

During my eighteen years of active police service where I have been the part of executive district force as an independent commander (DPO) for more than eight years in ten districts, I have experienced the lot more new things never imagined before I actually confronted them. The essence of my experience is as under.

§  In policing every situation is almost either completely or partially a new situation with a quite new dimension of different new social environments. Nothing saves you better than your quickness and sharpness to understand the ground reality and work your way out of it.

§  When challenge poses in full swing, you are left with hardly any option to get a meaningful advice and is left alone and in many situations disowned. Even the sworn officers turn their eyes and attention away from you to share the responsibility and sometimes it is your sole and core responsibility where others are not supposed to be the part. Nothing works better than your own faith in yourself, your abilities to sense way-out and your own bloody common sense.   

§  Sometimes you get into a kind of trouble where many shortcuts strike your mind but always remember the best way in such situations is not always the most obvious way.

§  And another misguiding presumption grow into our minds as police officers when the similar situation happens and we begin with our previous successful rule to apply but here be aware and careful that in policing no one rule will always apply or succeed.

§  Sometimes when you go to the crime scene and many people gather around the crime scene and investigative public gossip begins and as a result, many stories as to who might have done that crime and why transpires and they distract you from your primary job of trying to protect and to pick the crime scene signature. Never accept anything so easily; concentrate on the scene of the crime and also on the comments of the first person who brings up new ideas in gossip.

§  Gut knows more than the brain. It is my experience that you can get so many ideas and facts when you are guided by your hunch in detecting crime. Never allow your mind to distract you from your hunch but rather try to build on your hunch. Gut can get to the essence very fast while brain keeps busy in sifting the grain from the gross, a cumbersome process of conventional policing.

§  Remember policing is not a simple straightforward way of doing things in an effective way; if you really want to make a difference and mark in your job for outshining your colleagues than as there are methods to everything including madness and freakiness, so there is a way that leads to truth or the leads that take you to actual offenders. For that, the natural way is to go undercover by impersonating a criminal.

§  If your mentor has not been very frank with you, let me tell you very honestly that policing is the very dirty job. Here the most pure and classified information very often comes from the criminals; I never mean from the confessions of those criminals who commit them but from inside the criminal communities and groups not necessarily associated with the same gang but the hardened criminals have their “boys and girls” who they are in illicit relationship with or they have the places such as prostitution and gambling dens to spend their ill-gotten money for the sake of their pleasures and comforts. Using anonymity is in touch with such organised criminal syndicates to extract the information as much as and as quick as you can.

§  Whenever you receive any threat alert about any predictable criminal or terrorist incident, try to think like a criminal but remember don’t ever mix thinking like a criminal with acting like a criminal except that act is designed against the criminal to trap him or her for the sole purpose of detection and arrest. Never connive with criminals but conspire against them. They are always your sworn enemies and will never ever exempt you from harm and loss as their potential enemy. If you spare them for whatever reason, rest assure they never will; they will harm you. Sparing them to your own peril as a police officer is something that will never ever allow you to rise and make your mark as a trusted and loved cop.

§  Always be alive to public and local sensitivities. Some people are very touchy about something; you as a police officer never ever try to play with those sensitivities in a quick of enthusiasm of setting everything right overnight. Avoid this at all costs; this will pay you back.

§  How you, as a police leader (DPO) conduct publically and professionally do impact on what you want to achieve in your area of responsibility. Always keep yourself aware of what the public, as well as the police officials who work for you, think about you. Your image, as a police officer, always has the impact on your credibility and performance.

§  Shun all your biases. Keep your personal beliefs with you; never allow them to blind you. There will be many people living in your area of responsibility and maybe have different beliefs and notions in a variety of things that might not be in line with what you think right and good on your own. Learn to coexist with differences failing you’re being intolerant and with pre-conceived thoughts will limit your effectiveness, dynamism and humanity.

§  Be always unpredictable for the criminals and your police force but never ever be unpredictable for the general masses. If you become predictable for your force or for that matter for the criminal they will take you for granted thereby being able to pre-judge your response typical of certain environments. This could give both criminals and your subordinates a levelling field or cushion to play with your weaknesses and limits. The set image for police commander, even if he or she believes in due process, in the eyes of police or criminals always backfires. As some hardened criminals I had a chance to personally interrogate very clearly confessed what they did but showed confidence in the fact that due to loss of evidence or if not found the judge would not be able to award any sentence to them and confessions before the police have no evidentiary value; so ultimately will be set free. This is how some predictable scenarios encourage criminals to continue to go scot free and repeat crime. This is very dangerous. On the contrary, if police get impression that their boss is benign, kind and ignore their violations or they feel that their boss does not stand with them an hour of adversity they shun their all loyalties to the department. So predictability is licence of police arbitrariness and criminal incentive for committing crime.

§  Always be easily not cheaply accessible to both the public as well as the police. If you are cheaply accessible to everyone, then criminals also take the opportunity to get closer to you and the unwanted people who have nothing to do in life get access to you for unnecessary gossips and futile time-wasting conversations either ringing you or knocking at your door at odd timings that could drag you to controversies of character and reputation. However, for meaningful interactions with people who are in genuine troubles requiring your help should not miss the chance of reaching you any time. For all this you need to build a sensible system of public relationship without any intermediary who could likely to misuse being your legitimate representative. Social media and text messages are very good forming of personalised connections that I advise for police officers to keep in touch with the public.

§  Whenever people find themselves in the middle of any trouble of the kind of emergency and crime situation, you should have your very expeditious system of quick response to mitigate the loss and to minimise the damage. This is very important and will bring good name to you and your department. In crime situations quick response will prevent crime by ensuring red-handed captures of the criminals with higher deterrent rates.

§  Convey a very clear and categorical message to the criminals and their supporters or harbourers that neither connections nor bribe can save them from the clutches of law when found involved and you are a police officer who is guided by law and zero tolerance policing-tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.

§  In policing you should conduct yourself in guardianship mode rather than going for warrior mindset. Terror and punitive approaches end up in public ill-will and distrust. In such state of affairs police officers goes to loser ends and criminal makes the most of public grievances and bad image of police. In many such situations, people say publically and on screens that they fear police more than they fear terrorists and criminals because if terrorists or criminals commit any wrong they are punished but if the protector himself or herself become the violator, society lose faith in the system generating the serious crisis of legitimacy of statehood which, in turn, eats into the vitals of good governance.  

§  Always know your limits. If I storm my brain as a police officer for identifying legitimate limits to be taken serious care of, the list of such limits include:

o   The rule of Law

o   Due Process

o   Human rights

o   Public Trust

o   Professional integrity

o   Personal values

o   Loyalty to the country

o    Respect for moral values

o   Fear of God  

§  Besides this there is long list of some very strategic measures that a police officer need to ensure while conducting him or herself in the line of duty. Some of such steps are:

o   Assess threat

o   Identify vulnerabilities

o   Shortlist hot spots and likely targets

o   Involve community

o   Cultivate intelligence sources

o   Profile criminals

o   Build crime database

o   Use technologies such as biometrics, forensics, telemetry, social media etc.

o   Establish counterterrorism force and system

o   Transform police culture from force to service model

o   Adopt proactive policing that is to prevent the crime incident before it   takes place.

o   Minimize opportunity of crime.

o   Minimize vulnerability of likely target

o   Adopt problem solving approach

o   Accept democratic oversight and resist political interference

o   Cleans police from criminal and unwilling workers

o   Make corrupt and extortionist an example for severe punishment

o   Assign different tasks to the most suitable persons who are likely to outperform them.

o   Promote Transparency, accountability and professional integrity

o   Protect your officers of all ranks from injustices, criminal threats and political tensions and guard them like a wounded mother lion when you find them right on their principles

o   Never abuse and never be physical with your officers

o   Make good community relations

o   Build partnerships with all stakeholders in peace

o   Balance the crime and criminals through innovative crime prevention strategies

o   Adopt procedural justice

o   Build legitimacy through public trust

o   Capitalize on diversity

o   Avoid provocation

o   Master Good Communication skills

o   Go for right-based organisational culture


Closing Thoughts

While doing all this you need two important things without which you can never achieve these ends. They include working in strategic frameworks with leadership dynamism. Leadership dynamism implies certain qualities of a police leader i.e. positivity, capacity, vision, will, action, pragmatism, persistence, evaluation, feedback and change. While chalking our strategic framework for establishing peace and order in the society, community priority should always be at the centre of strategy. It is so because the community is a primary stakeholder and the end user of policing products such as peace. Besides this, it is the community who will follow the strategy so developed and make such strategy a success or failure by either cooperating in providing information, logistics, resources, legitimacy to police action and above all your image is crafted at the place where community votes for or against whether you are good or bad, your force deliver service or cause problems. Strategic policing is, thus, multidimensional approach to law enforcement that has great potential of transforming police and policing into a true art of PeaceCraft in Pakistan. 

The Writer is a Policing Educator, a Novelist, an Author and a senior Police Officer at Police Service of Pakistan…