Working Paper

Co-producing Citizen Security: The Citizen-Police Liaison Committee in Karachi

Published on 1 January 2002

Beginning in 1989, the Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) has become an important component of policing in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan. Rooted in the business community, and dependent largely on private donations and on the volunteer labour of business people, it has taken on core police intelligence functions.

The CPLC works very closely with the police, and focuses on improving police performance through supportive engagement with their work. It has established a number of crime databases that are used operationally by the police, and manages them on a day-to-day basis. The organisation conducts crime analysis, plays an important role in the investigation of kidnappings, and provides a range of police-related services directly to poor and rich alike. With offices in police stations and its headquarters in the office of the Governor of Sindh Province, the CPLC has become deeply integrated into the apparatus of government.

The CPLC is an example of the kind of ‘hybrid’ arrangement for the provision of public services that, we are beginning to realise, may be widespread where there has been a breakdown of conventional governance arrangements. This we term co-production: the provision of public services through an institutionalised, long term relationship between state agencies and organised groups of citizens, where both make substantial resource contributions.

Unconstrained by conventional assumptions about how public services ‘ought’ to be provided, the paper addresses the following questions. How did a substantially ‘private’ organisation like the CPLC come to play such a large role in the performance of a core government function like policing? What strategies have its leaders pursued to protect this role in a politically very unstable environment? How have they ensured the continuing integrity of their organisation and its members in the face of temptations to abuse their influence?

Publication details

published by
Masud, M.O.
IDS Working Paper, issue 172
1 85864 474 7


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