Security plans for election campaign period lacking in half of districts

Islamabad: The Free and Fair Election Network FAFEN’s District Long Term Observers DLTOs conducted interviews of 69 District Police Officers DPOs regarding re-elections security plans and according to more than one half of the DPOs 36 out of 69, or 52% they had not developed any security plans.

In a press release issued by FAFEN on Wednesday, DPOs were willing to be interviewed in 69 out of 70 districts, but the DPO in Swabi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa KP declined to be interviewed. Among the interviews with DPOs, 26 were conducted in Punjab, followed by Sind 19 interviews, KP 14, Balochistan 7, Federally Administered Tribal Areas FATA 2 and Islamabad Capital Territory ICT 1.

Although the DPO in Islamabad agreed to be interviewed, he declined to answer most or all questions. More than one third of DPOs 25, or 36% did not know or did not answer the question about cooperation among police and security forces to plan for re-elections security. In response to other questions, a minimum of one tenth 6, or 9% and maximum of one fifth 14, or 20% of DPOs did not provide an answer.

More than one-half of the DPOs 36 out of 69, or 52% said they had not developed any security plans for the re-elections campaign period, while more than one third 27, or 39% said they had done so. Five 7% of the DPOs declined to answer this question and one DPO was unable to provide an answer.

About two thirds of DPOs 46, or 67% said they were not aware of any arrangements for training of security personnel for the elections. Some DPOs 11 or 16% of the total said training sessions have been planned. Ten DPOs declined to answer, and two did not know.

Almost half of the DPOs 32, or 46% said they were aware of an ECP Code of Conduct for police during elections, but almost as many 28 or 41% were not aware of such a code. Four DPOs said they did not know, and five DPOs did not give an answer.

Six 9% DPOs shared a copy of the draft election Code of Conduct for police with FAFEN, while 50 DPOs 72% did not. Thirteen DPOs 19% did not answer this question.

Two thirds of DPOs 43 or 62% expressed satisfaction with the availability of resources for re-elections security. However, one fifth of the DPOs 14, or 20% were not satisfied with the resources available. Three DPOs said they did not know, while nine 13% did not share this information.

Almost half of DPOs 31 or 45% said they are cooperating with other security forces to make security preparations for the re-elections period. One fifth of DPOs 14 or 20% said they were not doing so. Six DPOs 9% did not know, and one fourth 18 or 26% did not answer.

More than half of DPOs 39 or 57% stated that they are cooperating with ECP to plan for re-elections security, but 13 DPOs 19% said cooperation was lacking. Four DPOs 6% said they did not know and one fifth 13 or 19% did not give an answer.

Based on information received from DPOs around the country, FAFEN recommends that ECP should take the lead to coordinate with police and all relevant security forces to make security plans for each district and constituency well in advance of General Election 2013. ECP, police department and other security forces should ensure that all security officers with election duties have formal training sessions on the new ECP Code of Conduct for Security Personnel and other relevant laws and regulations. DPOs and other security officials should continue and increase their communication and transparency with election observer groups, including FAFEN.