In the dynamic realm of law enforcement, the National Police Bureau (NPB) of Pakistan takes on a pivotal role as the Police Order of 2002, mandates NPB to serve as the secretariat to the National Public Safety Commission (NPSC) and the National Police Management Board (NPMB).

In this capacity, the NPB has evolved into a crucial national platform providing policy insights and recommendations to the federal government across a broad spectrum of issues, encapsulating matters related to policing, police strategies, public safety, maintenance of law and order, and the broader canvas of policing. Though most experienced and professional police officers were appointed to command one of the most significant institutions of the police-related institutions most of the time, the NPB was turned into a paralysed institution by appointing unprofessional and irrelevant police officers to head the department, dipping its status into a non-operative tool of the government machinery.

Presently, after the appointment of Mr Ehsaan Sadiq and Director General of the NPB, visible changes could be noticed in the working and professional performance of the Bureau. Among its numerous functions, the NPB assumes a crucial role in monitoring various forms of crimes in general and against women and children in particular. It also diligently maintains an extensive database for tracking criminal activity in Pakistan, including organised crimes, financial crimes, and trafficking in persons. In pursuit of these objectives, the NPB collaborates closely with all police organizations across Pakistan, tackling challenges related to crime, security, and the maintenance of law and order. Additionally, the NPB extends its support to police organizations by offering valuable assistance in various domains, encompassing police development, standardization, computerization, internal accountability, forensics, communication infrastructure, and structural reforms.

At the heart of its mission, the NPB serves as the central hub for international cooperation in police training and development. In an interconnected global milieu where knowledge exchange and the dissemination of best practices are of paramount significance, the NPB plays a pivotal role in nurturing relationships with international counterparts, and enriching the collective policing wisdom. The NPB’s unwavering commitment to its mandate remains steadfast, despite operating within a challenging environment characterized by limited resources. Resolute in the face of these constraints, the NPB is firmly dedicated to spearheading and contributing to a more responsive, inclusive, progressive, and accountable police service in Pakistan. It is firmly believed that the NPB’s endeavors will have a profound and far-reaching impact on the quality of life and the fundamental rights of the nation’s citizens.

The NPB is acutely cognizant of the intricate challenges confronting modern-day policing in the 21st century. The rapid pace of urbanization, advancements in communication technologies, the proliferation of arms, a significant youth demographic, and a transformed socio-economic landscape collectively render policing an intricate and demanding task. In response to these challenges, the NPB recognizes the imperative need for unconventional and innovative approaches to policing and internal security. The National Police Bureau, in alignment with the government’s strategic vision, and in collaboration with international organizations and civil society, remains steadfast in its commitment to foster an efficient, accountable, and people-centric police service, one that stands as a bastion in safeguarding the rights and well-being of all Pakistani citizens.

During the past few decades, policing has evolved from simple crime prevention and investigation to a complex phenomenon. Contemporary policing in the 21st Century has become highly demanding and complex due to. Terrorism, transnational organized crime, cybercrime, arms proliferation, and drug trafficking have posed formidable challenges to traditional policing. Moreover, an ever-changing socio-economic context of policing is characterized by rapid urbanization, communication technologies, and a high proportion of youth in the population. The changed societal context requires non-conventional and innovative approaches to policing and internal security. It also necessitates a policing model that is technology-driven, citizen-centric, and human rights compliant and promotes strategic and specialized responses.

To respond to emerging and future challenges Police Order 2002, envisaged the establishment of a National Police Bureau (NPB), as a premier police institution at the national level. NPB, which replaced the erstwhile Bureau of Police Research and Development, was mandated, apart from other functions, to serve as a secretariat to the National Public Safety Commission (NPSC) and National Police Management Board (NPMB). In its later capacity, NPB acts as a national forum for all police organizations to provide policy inputs to the federal government on matters related to police, internal security, law and order, and policing. Some nationally acclaimed officers including Mr. Afzal Ali Shigri, Dr. Shoaib Suddle, Mr. Tariq Khosa, and Mr Ihsan Ghani headed NPB. Under such distinguished leaders, NPB contributed towards the drafting of Police Order 2002, the implementation of police reforms envisaged under the Order, the establishment of the National Public Safety Commission, and National Forensic Science Agency, and the development of Manuals on key police functions. NPB also oversees the implementation of decisions of the National Police Management Board-comprising heads of all federal and provincial police organizations. Moreover, NPB is the secretariat of the Police Reforms Committee formed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Despite its very critical role and the very important functions it is mandated to undertake, NPB is a highly under-resourced and under-utilized organization.

Despite these constraints, NPB once again seems poised to lead the effort to transform and reshape the police in Pakistan to make it more responsive, representative, progressive, and accountable. To this end NPB has already accelerated the ongoing implementation of recommendations by the Police Reforms Committee formed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan for better quality investigations, adopting a new urban policing police model, promoting ADR, and strengthening internal accountability. Work on internal police reforms pertaining to improving police station working and work ecology, human resource management practices, performance evaluation systems, and management structures have also been initiated recently. Dedicated working groups, headed by senior and experienced police officers, have been constituted, with representatives of all relevant police organizations.

To institutionalize mandated functions of NPB and new initiatives; functional units with specific tasks have been established. These include the Strategic Police Planning Unit, Gender Responsive Policing Unit, Counter Organized Crime Unit, Cybercrime Coordination Unit, Police Reforms and Development Unit, Police Standardization Unit, Mass Awareness Unit, International Cooperation Unit, Protection of Minorities Unit, National Crime Database Unit, Criminal Justice and Legal Reforms Unit, and Community Policing Promotion Unit. NPB is also starting the Police Executives Development Program to prepare police officers to perform their leadership role as heads of police organizations/ units and in key areas of policing. The aim of all these initiatives is to strategically revamp and streamline the working of key components of the National Police Bureau to enable it to lead the process of policy development, reform, and modernization in Pakistan.

These initiatives reflect the commitment of NPB to genuinely improve the quality of policing in the country. They also demonstrate the determination and proactive approach of the Bureau to address the emerging issues and challenges confronting law enforcement in the 21st Century. It is hoped with the support of police organizations NPB will be able to bring substantive institutional transformation to promote quality, efficiency, competency, consistency, transparency, accountability, and integrity in the police.

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