By: MUHAMMAD UZAIR NIAZI
The police department in Pakistan experienced a gender audit in 2009-2010 in order to determine the gender sensitivity of police organisations in Pakistan. This audit played a key role in forecasting a clear picture of women in this department. The main theme of this audit was to ascertain the presence of female police nationwide, and to figure out how the police organisations intended to implement women-friendly policies at the workplace and in police services.
The results generated from the gender audit methodology helped in setting a benchmark for mainstreaming the gender equality perspective in the police service. Among the police organisations, the motorway police was ranked high with 61 percent, followed by AJK police 59 percent. Railway police, Punjab and KPK scored between 57-50 percent. The ranking of Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan police ranged between 44-40 percent, while Islamabad police was positioned at 37 percent. The women police constitute less than one percent of the police service and they are less represented at mid and senior level police ranks. The audit was a joint initiative of the National Police Bureau Pakistan and GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation), with facilitation from GRP (Gender Responsive Policing) project.
This gender audit helped in gathering updated information, which reveals that there was a significant difference in opportunities, resources, responsibilities, and acknowledgment of women’s role. The audit findings propose that the perspective of women police is rarely represented, with little say in decision making and lacking career development opportunities. The little field exposure and irrelevant work assignments limit their skills and opportunities for growth.
The organisational culture of the police as identified in the audit reflects the traditional patterns of our police department, showing biases towards working-women and women victims. It is evident that the women issues are not taken seriously and women officers often find it difficult to affirm their position. The audit report revealed that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that were formulated to deal with women affected by any type of violence were not practised across the capital and provincial police organisations.