December 17, 2018

Data Story of the Day: KP Law Enforcement and the National Action Plan

Similar to the Nawai Waqt story we covered earlier on Data Story of the Day, this Jang report shares statistics of the performance of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police in pursuance of the National Action Plan.

The plan, chalked in 2015, offers a nationwide strategy to combat terrorism in the country.

The Jang report covers a period of three years between 2014 and 2017 and focuses on the efforts of the police department. It has a tonne of numbers about the actions taken by the police in their search operations. Here are some of the details:

• Police conducted 39,665 search and strike operations across the province from 2014 and 2017 and arrested nearly 200,000 suspects

• Police confiscated 1,612 kilograms of explosives, around 52,500 guns

• Around 7,500 people were arrested for wrongful use of loud speakers and 364 people for instigating violence through public addresses

A balancing act?

The numbers appear to be largely appreciative of the police department’s performance but a couple of sentences near the beginning and a couple at the end seem intended to introduce skepticism about the numbers.

The reporter writes that even though the police arrested nearly two thousand suspects over the course of three years, thousands of these suspects were considered innocent after interrogation and released.

Type number. Repeat.

The story has six key pieces of information — number of operations, number of arrests, explosives confiscated, weapons confiscated, people arrested for hate speech, loudspeakers confiscated — and each of these six statistics are repeated at least three times if the headlines are included.

This is typical of Urdu print journalism and we cannot blame the reporter. He probably had quotes and comments from the law enforcement for this story. The day Urdu print copyeditors start including quotes and attribution in news stories, I will be a really happy man. Unlikely, though.

Follow our Data Story of the Day tag to read more local data-driven investigative stories.

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