The special committee that the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) constituted after the death of 10-year-old Amal in a cross firing between robbers and police have come up with a set of recommendations that the police force across Pakistan should incorporate in their operations. The crux of these recommendations is the prevention of collateral losses. One cannot agree more to the text of the report. The report if becomes part of the police operations will make it more challenging for police to apprehend criminals as they will think twice before firing a bullet in worst situations. However, the danger of loss of innocent and civilian casualties will decline considerably.

Of all the recommendations, the committee has rightly identified that the police force lacks proper training in dealing with emergencies. The finding of the committee that police officers do not take refresher courses shows the lethargy of the department whose primary functions include not only prevention of crimes but also protection of people belongings and lives. The police need to admit that. There is no shame in admitting one’s negligent behaviour, as acknowledging one’s fault ensures and inculcates meticulousness in performing one’s duty. All the provincial chiefs of the police force need to issue orders in the light of recommendation that the report has made.

It is about time to equip police forces not only with modern tools and tactics to apprehend the criminal elements but also with the sense of the importance of the value of human life. The civic training along with training in urban policing of the law enforcement agencies is of utmost importance as it helps in making a person able to assess the appropriate amount of force in a given situation.

The most important and worth considering advice of the committee report is curbs on sub-machine guns (SMGs). The government needs to ensure that the police force should be equipped with pistols or handguns, as the document demands, to deal with issues of street crimes. Carrying SMGs for routine policing is a practice that no police force of any civilised nation sticks to. The police in many countries are allowed to carry pistol for patrolling purposes and apprehending the criminals.

It is to state with disappointment that police in Pakistan believes in brute force to catch criminals or lawbreakers. The reliance on and display of force by police has often ended up in encounters. If the police chiefs of the provinces implement the report in full, a significant change in police performance will be visible.