Unexplained delays in lodging FIRs affects prosecution, police study says

Mon, February 11, 2019

RAWALPINDI: Unwarranted and unexplained delays in lodging FIRs for cases of theft of property, robbery and vehicle theft, affects the prosecution of a case and casts serious doubts over the veracity of the incident, according to data compiled by the Rawalpindi police.

The inspector general of police Punjab’s complaint centre had taken notice of the pending complaints regarding the non-registration of FIRs in property theft cases including theft, robberies and vehicle snatching against unknown accused between Dec 24, 2018 and Jan 23, 2019 in Rawalpindi division and directed the regional police officer (RPO) to look into the matter as the government is working on bringing police reforms.

The provincial police chief has also directed divisional police chiefs, including RPO Rawalpindi to look into the matter of burking crimes in police stations and at sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) level.

It was found that a large number of complaints regarding property theft cases are being submitted to the IGP’s complaint cell for registration of FIR from various sources.

The complaints were forwarded to the concerned authorities through the complaint centre for the registration of an FIR, if found true.

Before contacting the IGP’s complaint centre, the complainants had submitted their applications with the concerned police stations and SDPO offices.

However, the FIRs were not registered even after considerable delays so that complainants had to reach out to the IGP’s complaint cell and submit their grievances regarding the non-registration of FIRs in property theft cases, even when the accused are unknown.

A large number of complaints regarding the non-registration of FIRs with delays ranging from one to 23 days has been noticed in the Rawalpindi region.

Superintendent of Police Raja Azmat told Dawn that according to the law, FIRs are to be registered without delay.

He said some people do lodge fake FIRs, especially for car and motorcycle theft in order to get insurance money. In such cases, the police take time to verify the incident which causes delays in the registration of FIRs.

He said sometimes the delays are due to technical reasons and at others, it is due to social and moral obligations.

The police legal expert said the police sometime use delaying tactics in the registration of some FIRs in property theft cases because otherwise it becomes compulsory for the police to investigate and recover the loot.

Another police official told Dawn that people make up stories of their property being stolen when they get into fights.

“There is delay in the registration of such cases because people who register FIRs on the basis of untrue statements are never brought to justice,” the police official said, adding that once someone is implicated in a bogus FIR, they have to face a lot of trouble.

Citing delays in the registration of FIRs in 24 property theft cases, the IGP directed the RPO Rawalpindi to look into the matter of delayed registration and the burking of crimes.

In some of the cases, the crimes happened in close proximity to a police station, where the registration of FIRs was also delayed.

In some of the cases, complainants have withdrawn their cases due to delaying tactics used by the police and at other times, victims go back without their complaint being registered at the police station after being told they will not get their stolen goods back.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2019

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