Women cops can transform police culture

Nov 25, 2013
LAHORE-THE speakers of the 3rd National Women Police Conference were of the unanimous view that women police could become agents of change and transform the police culture by adopting professional skills, proper training and sheer determination.
They said that the equal strength of women police could bring about a real and sustainable change in policing practices, making police a true service provider, sensitive to the needs of citizens.
Senior police officers and legal experts said that women police officers could promote soft image of police, improve access of women victims of violence to police services, reduce torture in police investigations since women police use communication skills instead of force.
The two-day third National Women Police Conference was organised by GIZ in collaboration with National Police Bureau of Pakistan. The theme of the conference was “Accelerating Change through Women Police.”
Ehsan Ghani, DG, National Police Bureau (NPB), Zulfiqar Cheema, inspector general, National Highways and Motorways Police, Juergen Shilling, country director, GIZ Pakistan and Dr Khola Iram, principal adviser, Gender Responsive Policing (GRP) Project, were the chief guests of the conference.
More than 100 women police officers, from DIG rank to constable rank, from all over Pakistan, including all police organisations and Azad Jammu and Kashmir attended the event.
Senior male police officers from all police organisations nationwide also participated in the event to support and encourage their female colleagues.
Ehsan Ghani said that this conference had emerged as a major outcome of the Women Police Network (WPN) which was an important initiative of the Gender Responsive Policing Project funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and jointly implemented by the National Police Bureau and GIZ.
He said, “The change is a slow process but it has started in police and will continue as long as we stay committed.” He said that the GRP Project presented a great opportunity as its approach was context specific based on realities of policing with emphasis on improving gender sensitivity across police organisations. Zulfiqar Cheema said that the government of Pakistan was committed to strengthening the police service to make it inclusive and fully capable of meeting the diverse challenges and needs to uphold the rule of law, which also includes crimes against women and other deprived segments of society. He suggested that men officers should continue their war against extremism while professionally trained women police officers should deal with gender-based crimes sensitively and sympathetically by working at Investigations Wing and forensic science laboratories. He admitted that there were structural and cultural barriers to the participation of women in police and the situation called for focused and concerted efforts to overcome the challenges of inclusion and ensure full participation of women in policing functions.
He also appreciated the bilateral technical cooperation being extended by the government of Germany to promote gender responsive policing in Pakistan.
He strongly recommended that the senior police management should take concrete measures to offer support and guidance to women police to perform to the best of their abilities and prove their potential.
GIZ Pakistan Country Director Juergen Shilling said that as an implementing agency of the German government, GIZ valued the partnership and appreciated the efforts of the National Police Bureau and all the police organisations for working together with the GRP project on a subject of utmost importance gender responsiveness in policing which was aiming to improve police response to gender based crimes.
Dr Khola Iram said that women police could change the police culture and help build public trust in police. She added that good position of women in police force could accelerate change in police culture that would be a real and sustainable change. She suggested that the women police stations should be linked with all the referral services like shelters (Darul-Aman), hospitals, NGOs and free legal aid providers to provide immediate relief to women victims of violence.
She claimed that the women police was necessity of the police force to secure the engendered rights and liberties of the individuals, ensure a just criminal justice system, combat gender based crimes efficiently and promote general welfare of society to make it violence-free. The main objectives of the conference were to explore the rationale for the induction of women in police as a consequence of policy or need generated by public demand highlighting utilising their potential for enhanced policing practices, recognise the need for functional women police stations keeping in view the enacted laws, their application and implementation for combating violence against women, identify the dynamics around stereotypes and prejudices attached with the roles of women in policing, using media advocacy to change perceptions and support in building strategic alliances on the ‘equal role and performance agenda’ in policing by delegating women substantial roles under a gender just criminal justice system, enhance an effective and applied interagency linkage at policy, institutional and service provision level to accelerate the change not only to mitigate violence but also timely dispensation of justice.
By Arshad Dogar
(The News)