Every breath you take/I’ll be watching you

Here’s an idea for everyone to chew on: would Karachi be better off if the police as we know it, i.e. funded by taxpayers, were disbanded?

It’s not quite as kooky or easy a question as it might first appear. There is a kind of political philosophy which holds that state funded police are an abomination – libertarianism. The obvious question that then arises is, “If not the police, then what?” You could argue that we’re already on the way to a private security market for those who need it and that those who can’t afford it – the poor – are in any case being exploited by the police.

Personally, I don’t believe this blog can be a medium to effect change, but there have been some calls for more stimulating material here. Well, for those who spoke up, here’s the chance to debate a radical theory.

10 Comments so far

  1. turab (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 11:16 am

    throwing away the problem is not the solution!

    OBTW where is the coverage for the upcoming Cricket game and an intersting post would be the lack of tickets or the lack of system of distributing tickets…. or how everyone over here got tickets?
    through powa or money or company?

    atleast thats a better post than compared to Unaiza’s God aweful posts…..

  2. ash (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 11:20 am

    Thats never been done and so we have no idea if it would be workable or not. We know from other countries examples that a police force can actually work and benefit society so maybe we just need this institution like every other one to improve

  3. Sufi (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 11:21 am

    – Do I feel safer when the police is around? No.
    – Have they helped me in the time of need? No.
    – Did they try to harass me? Yes.
    – Do they look like thugs? Yes :D
    – Do I loathe them? Yes.
    – Does their existence change my life in any way? Only for the worst :D

    Good idea Cy. I really wouldn’t care if there were/weren’t any policewalas..

  4. MB (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 11:33 am

    SUFI :
    Nice scoring but Whats the alternate ?
    I would suggest not repeating how bad is the department. Closing down ( if your point is accepted) is part of solution. Not the solution itself. Whats the other part ?

  5. Sufi (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 11:51 am

    oh I forgot to add to the list..

    Did they try to ram into my car for no apparent reason at 2 am on shahra-e-faisal? Hell yeah .. lol. They tried to kill me, and I don’t know why :D I just increased the speed and ran away :/

  6. Kashif (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 1:12 pm

    We need community policing – select people from each neighborhood should be responsible for crime situation in their localities so that there would be no outsiders to take bribes. There should be elder-citizen committees to overseeing this.

  7. sid (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

    its a gr8 idea because of the reasons sufi already mentioned but then whats the alternative??
    Its not like those who cant afford private security dont need it. They do and more so than the well off. If the state police is disbanded whatever little benefits the police does provide them are taken away too. Its like sayin that beacuase KESC is doin a bad job at providing electricity, we should do away with it and bring in a more expensive and more efficient energy provider and those who cant afford it… who cares abt them anyway??
    By stimulating change, i meant to make life better for those who dont know what a good life for us. Most of us here, our only interaction with the police is at roadsides or when theres a robbery at our place or when our phones get stolen but there r bigger problems plaguin ppl in karachi for which ppl require a centralised police service.
    Yes, the law is not implemented in Pakistan anyway but by pravitising citizen’s basic amenities is robbing them of their right to justice. We already live in a society where commercialism reigns supreme. do we really want to commercialise ur security system? That could spell a disaster! Wouldnt the companies want to increase ‘demand’?? And how would they do that? By ensuring that a citizen always feels that his life and property r under threat.
    That is the opposite of a security providing organisation is supposed to do.
    A better alternative is to improve what we already have.
    Consider th Maslow’s hierarchy, for example. A man’s most basic need are food and shelter. Do ypu think the meagre salaries the government pays them are enough to fill their pot bellies and the kids? actually not. that really shouldnt be an excuse but unfortunately it is. A hungry man who goes home to see his kids goin to bed without eating loses sense of right and wrong.
    so that is what we need to do. if they get better salaries, there wont be a need to take bribes and serve only the higher ups.
    If there was an accountability system, if they knew they’d be punished things wouldnt be so bad.
    What we need is a more honest government. And that can only happen if we the public could leave behind the mullah-army debate and concentrate on more pressing issues.

  8. Cy (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 2:01 pm

    Sid wrote: “If the state police is disbanded whatever little benefits the police does provide them are taken away too.”

    Can you name some of those benefits? And justice has nothing to do with police – that’s the job of the courts. Whether those should be privatised, too, is the next question.

  9. verysmart (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 2:06 pm

    excellent topic Cy.
    I guess community policing is the idea being promoted by the city govt… (but they may have political gains to acquire from it, since it will mostly benefit the local karachiites aka Mohajirs)

    I guess anoter important addition is to create an area wise citizen-police laison committe alongwith communit based policing, comprising of local elders in each area to whome the town police officer will be answerable, and they can have him fired or demoted by filling a complaint to the town nazim, city nazim and the governor sindh.

  10. sid (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 2:13 pm

    i hace seen cases when the police were able to help out a few ppl in need. The fact that it was only after more infulential men had called up the police is a different. They did get help. If there was no police, where would the help have come from then?

    not all policemen are the same. the usual adage ‘black sheep’ can be used in this case with a little modification. there r some white sheep who genuinely want to help out. and they do.

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