Women Police stepping in on the frontline as first responders in Balochistan

13 April 2021 - Quetta: Empowering women police to take on the role as first responders and go a step further to make real and tangible contribution in combating crimes of Gender Based Violence (GBV) is not only one of the most effective ways to address GBV crimes but also the most appropriate and humane way of supporting the victims and survivors of such crimes, while also enhancing the role of women police officers as first responders.

Evidence shows that women police officers constitute only around 1.5 percent of the entire police force in Pakistan. This number is dismally low and close to only one percent in Balochistan, where structural and cultural barriers make it difficult for women to participate beyond their traditional and social roles as homemakers, mothers and primary caregivers, preventing women’s equitable participation in prominent professions. Those who are able to opt for professions such as ‘police’ get to work outside the confines of their traditional roles, however, the choice is often limited to either doing desk work at police offices, carrying out body searches of women, or making way for the police during house raids.

Given this background, it is indeed a moment of great pride and honour for UNODC to train and enable induction of the first-ever batch of Women Police Constables in Balochistan as First Responders in close collaboration with the Police Training College (PTC) Quetta through the office of IGP Balochistan.

A cadre of young and enthusiastic women police officers undergoing a first responders’ training is one of the rare sights to behold in a conflict sensitive and tradition-bound province of Balochistan.

The training was attended by 25 under training women police officers for the two consecutive days, 12-13 April 2021, representing nearly all regions across the province. These women police officers will be deputed in different districts of Balochistan after being certified as first responders. Men police officers also participated in the training that helped to enhance coordination between women and men police officers. 

As Balochistan combats the spike in COVID-19, the existing gaps in the provision of relevant services to victims and survivors of gender-based violence in the face of the unprecedented challenges of the shadow pandemic, the Women Police as ‘First Responders’ are all set to work as a vital force that can provide the much-needed support to female victims and survivors of violence in Balochistan. The female and male participants were enthused to take their new role forward and fully understood that a continuous learning in this area is necessary to build their knowledge and skills to enable them to assume their roles effectively and provide the appropriate support to survivors and victims away from any biases and dispositions.

As part of its umbrella Rule of Law (RoL) programme, UNODC aims at providing further trainings focusing on police including forensics science, investigation skills, public dealing, gender sensitization, and gender-responsive policing.



The Women Police First Responder training was graciously supported by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and implemented by UNODC.