On 16th August, NCA Pakistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Police Department KP province under a Norad supported gender responsive policing project. The purpose of the MoU was the establishment of Women Complaint Cells (WCCs) in three police stations in Mansehra district.
Under this initiative, for each WCC, two women constables will be hired while a woman supervisor will be one of the several in-kind contributions from the Police department. The MoU was signed with the Additional Inspector General (AIG) Police of the KP province. NCA in Pakistan together with our partner Khwendo Kor (KK) has been in close contacts with the IGP office, which included deliberations on the clarifications of roles and responsibilities, visit to a model police station in the provincial capital where a WCC has been established, and signing of the MoU.
Reforms have been introduced in the KP Police Department with the support of donors such as DFID and the UN. The main focus has been on upgrading the infrastructure (offices, equipment), and use of technology (such as electronic system of registration of complaints).The police stations have a women female staff deputed at the few WCCs that are functional in the province, but gender responsive policing is an area that requires considerable improvement. It was claimed that the police station which NCA visited had been receiving 15-20 GBV cases each month but no women (only one woman police officer) were present at the time of the visit. Since improved police services have been introduced recently, there is a need to raise awareness among the general public especially women on how to access the enhanced services while ensuring confidentiality.
The AIG Police insisted that NCA should allocate funds for refurbishment of the WCCs with toilet facilities in addition to provision of agreed support for equipment, utilities, staff salaries. In response the AIG was informed that due to limited budget it is not possible for NCA and KK to bear very high costs related to infrastructure. Later, AIG agreed that Police Department will take care of the main infrastructure cost (provide additional rooms for one police station) while NCA and KK would facilitate basic refurbishment and availability of toilet facilities to better serve GBV survivors and women from the local communities as well as to maintain a conducive environment. When NCA inquired about sustainability of the project, he committed that the Police department would sustain the running expenses of WCCs from its own budgets after completion of the project (this was included in the MoU). He was also appreciative of NCA’s role to gender sensitize and train the police station staff including staff to be deputed for WCC on gender responsive policing.
The AIG Police KP was very committed, efficient and professional person. He spent adequate time to discuss the roles of all three organizations (NCA, KK and Police Department) and signed the MOU (with some minor changes) during the meeting, a process which can take weeks or months in most Government offices. On the same day, the AIG sent a notification letter to the District Police Officer Mansehra for establishment of the Women Complaint Cells (WCCs) in three police stations. This is a great landmark for NCA and KK to establish Public Private Partnership with Police Department and if successful there is a potential to showcase this initiative with potential donors for scale up of this project within the district and then to other districts. The NCA GBV programme team visited the district last week and was glad to see the project had picked up pace. Women Police Officers have been hired and the refurbishment process is underway.