The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by a state to enforce the law, to protect the lives, liberty and possessions of citizens, and to prevent crime and civil disorder. Their powers include the power of arrest and the legitimized use of force. The term is most commonly associated with the police forces of a sovereign state that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as being separate from the military and other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors; however, gendarmerie are military units charged with civil policing. Police forces are usually public sector services, funded through taxes.

Law enforcement is only part of policing activity. Policing has included an array of activities in different situations, but the predominant ones are concerned with the preservation of order. In some societies, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, these developed within the context of maintaining the class system and the protection of private property. Police forces have become ubiquitous in modern societies. Nevertheless, their role can be controversial, as some are involved to varying degrees in corruption, police brutality and the enforcement of authoritarian rule.

A police force may also be referred to as a police department, police service, constabulary, gendarmerie, crime prevention, protective services, law enforcement agency, civil guard or civic guard. Members may be referred to as police officers, troopers, sheriffs, constables, rangers, peace officers or civic/civil guards. Ireland differs from other English-speaking countries by using the Irish language terms Garda (singular) and Gardaí (plural), for both the national police force and its members. The word police is the most universal and similar terms can be seen in many non-English speaking countries.

Numerous slang terms exist for the police. Many slang terms for police officers are decades or centuries old with lost etymology. One of the oldest, “cop”, has largely lost its slang connotations and become a common colloquial term used both by the public and police officers to refer to their profession.


The Bangladesh Police (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ পুলিশ) is the main law enforcement agency of Bangladesh. It is administered under the Ministry of Home Affairs[4] of the Government of Bangladesh. It plays a crucial role in maintaining peace, and enforcement of law and order within Bangladesh. Though the police are primarily concerned with the maintenance of law and order and security of persons and property of individuals, they also play a big role in the criminal justice system.

Socio-Economic and Political Environment;

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh was a country born into difficulty . The liberation war of 1971 left the economy ruined and the communications system totally disrupted. The famine of 1973-74 set the war ravaged land and its people back even more. It witnessed assassination of top political leaders in 1975 and 1981 and has experienced authoritarian style of leadership and governance. However, despite this beginning and periodic floods, droughts and catastrophic cyclones, the Bangladesh people have shown remarkable resilience.

Bangladesh is a constitutional republic with a multiparty parliamentary democratic system of government. The Head of State is the President, however executive power rests with the Prime Minister.

Following a period of military rule, democracy was restored in 1991. Since then three elections have been held in 1996, 2001 and 2009 . The media, civil society, student community, labour unions, lawyers and other groups are quite active and at times vigorously advocate their views on democracy.

The two main political parties are the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Awami League (AL). There are many other political parties throughout Bangladesh. The government is a coalition headed by BNP which returned to power in the 2001 elections. In 2005 BNP government had mandatory leave 364 police officer and appoint their choice person. Political parties use police as their hands power .So ,how can we expected better service from police?. Now current government (AL) has been taken many steps to Reform police, recently they are arrange POLICE REFORM PROGRAMME (Newssletter April-June2009 Issue).17

Administratively, the country is divided into six Divisions: Dhaka, Rajshahi, Khulna, Chittagong, Barisal and Sylhet. Each Division is in turn divided into Districts (total 64) and then

into Sub-Districts or Upazilla. These in turn comprise a number of Union Parishads or councils which are the main form of local government. It is at these lower levels that the government has the most impact on people’s lives. There are reserved seats for women in every Union Parishad. In the last elections held in early 2003, women candidates enthusiastically contested the elections and were elected in over 12,000 seats. The Union Councils are not adequately effective due to lack of funds, limited administrative power and the unresponsiveness of some elected officials to community needs.

The concept of Gram Sarkar has recently been reintroduced by the GoB to assist with development at the village level. Although the Gram Sarkar is not officially part of local government, each is headed by an elected member of the Union Parishad. For police administration purposes, the Districts are divided into Circles which comprise a number of Police Stations (Thanas).

With approximately 140 million people inhabiting some of the most productive land in the world, the country is as poor as it is luxuriously fertile. Bangladesh has a total area of 143,998 sq. km. and is surrounded to the west, north-west and east by India, and shares a south-eastern border with Myanmar for 283 km. To the south is the Bay of Bengal.

The country is mostly riverine plains bound to the north by the sub-montane regions of the Himalaya; the piedmont areas in the north-east; and the eastern fringes adjacent to Assam, Tripura and Myanmar which are broken by the forested hills of Mymensingh, Sylhet and Chittagong. The great Himalayan rivers, the Padma and the Brahmaputra, divide the land into six major regions, which correspond to the six governmental divisions: north-west (Rajshahi), south¬west (Khulna), south-central (Barisal), central (Dhaka), north-east (Sylhet) and south-east (Chittagong).

The capital, Dhaka is a crowded city of approximately 12 million people and is growing into one of the worlds largest cities. It has significant traffic problems and is often confronted with hartals and violent demonstrations which require constant vigilance by the authorities and the police. Chittagong city, the second largest in Bangladesh, has a population of around 3 million and is a strategic port and industrial city. Like Dhaka, traffic management is a serious problem with congestion from motorised and non-motorised vehicles, and a lack of understanding and enforcement of traffic rules. Other main cities in Bangladesh include Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal and Sylhet.

With the exception of several city states (Singapore and Malta) Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world. On a per sq. km. basis it is three times more populated than India and seven times more populated than China. Most of the population, however, live in rural areas which impacts on the delivery of many public services, including police services and access to justice. This is particularly difficult in more remote and inaccessible areas because of poor road infrastructure and lack of communications.

The people are predominately Muslim (Sunni) with a small percentage of Hindus and a very small Christian population. Buddhists are also a tiny minority of the population and are mostly tribal people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Bangladesh is a poor nation, with the average per capita income around US$ 250 by the GDP standard, or US$ 1610 by the purchasing power standard. It is ranked 139th in the UN Human Development Index (HDI)18 out of 175 countries (2003 Human Development Report). More than 250,000 Bangladeshis are working abroad and about $US 1.9 billion is received as remittances from their income each year.

The country continues to attract foreign aid from a large number of countries and organisations including donor agencies such as WB, ADB, UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, USAID, EC, DFID, DANIDA JICA and CIDA. For many years foreign aid provided over 50% of the government’s development budget, but the figure is now less than 30% and declining rapidly. The GoB maintains that as long as foreign aid donors increase access to the respective donor markets (especially the garment market) to offset decreased aid levels, it would prefer this approach because it is less dependency focused.

Crime and corruption are serious problems in Bangladesh and in the view of many, quite rampant. According to a World Bank report, the country’s GDP growth (which increased to 4.8% in the 1990s) would have gone up by 2-3% and its per capita income doubled, if corruption had not been so widespread. Extortion and toll collection are quite common.

This adds significantly to the cost of doing business and creates hardship and insecurity for many honest and hard-working people.

According to the UNFPA country report 2000, Bangladesh has the second highest rate of domestic violence (47%) in the world. However, in some other areas of human development, Bangladesh has made positive gains. Significant reduction has been achieved in infant and child mortality rates. Population growth has been sharply reduced to 1.5% and primary school enrolment is around 90%. Micro credit institutions, from both the public and private sectors, have not only created employment and earning opportunities for the poor and unemployed, but also created social awareness and enhanced the empowerment of women.

The landless poor, unemployed and disadvantaged groups remain a significant social problem and are estimated to exceed 40 million. A large proportion of the population still lives below the poverty line. As in many other countries, transnational and cross-border crimes are increasing. Organised national criminals collaborate with international and regional groups to commit emerging crimes such as drug trafficking, money lendering, smuggling (including smuggling of arms) and human trafficking. A large number of women and children are trafficked out of the country each year to be exploited as camel jockeys, domestic servants, sex workers and beggars.

3.2 The Criminal Justice Sector in Bangladesh;

The criminal justice sector in Bangladesh comprises the police, judiciary (including courts, prosecutors and defence counsel), traditional and non-formal conflict resolution mechanism, and the prisons. In addition, a number of civil society organisations also carry out activities such as legal aid in the sector.

The police and prisons are under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA). The administration of the courts is complex and involves a number of Ministries and the Supreme Court. The formal justice system is largely inherited from the colonial era and given me long passage of time now needs reform in many areas.

Customary and traditional forms of justice include the Salish or village mediation which can often show some base in favour of the rich and powerful and a gender base in favour of men. More contemporary Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism include mediation by

NGO village-level groups or members of the Union Parishad. When a dispute involves a serious offence or proves insolvable locally, the formal system usually intervenes.

In the view of many individuals and groups consulted during this Mission, the criminal justice system in Bangladesh is essentially impoverished: crime is underreported and poorly investigated by the police, the court system is slow and inadequate and the prisons are dilapidated and overcrowded.

Almost 70% of detainees are awaiting trial. Some have been in pre-trial detention for years because of backlogs in the courts. It is not uncommon to have views expressed that the criminal justice system is a burden and part of the “problem” rather than the solution to deteriorating law and order problems. Inefficiency and corruption throughout the sector are a major concern and a significant inhibitor to access.

The structure, organisation and primary focus of the justice system is based on a colonial “law and order maintenance” model. This concentrates on public order, control and protection of the wealthy and powerful rather than the detection, investigation and prevention of crime with the consent and cooperation of the law abiding public. At present, there is little relationship between the needs and expectations of the community, and the services delivered by the justice system.

Key laws pertaining to human security include: The Penal Code (I860), The Police Act 1861, The Evidence Act (1872), The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC 1898), The Anti-Corruption Act (1947) and the Special Powers Act (1974). There are a number of other Acts and Ordinances in addition to new legislation which include The Women and Children Repression Prevention (Special Provision) Act (2000), Speedy Trial Tribunal Act (2002) and The Law and Order Disruption Crimes (Speedy Trial) Act (2002).

The application of these laws and ordinances is the primary responsibility of the Police, who are the first point of contact with the formal justice system for most people. In case of violations, the offence is reported to the officer-in-charge of the police station in the form of a First Information Report (FIR). The police officer in charge of investigating the case is known as the Investigating Officer (IO). If a prima facie case is made against the accused during the investigation, the IO either submits a Charge Sheet (CS) or a final report. The Police have wide discretionary powers

which can lead to serious miscarriages of justice, particularly by the application of Section 54 of the CrPC and the Special Powers Act (SPA).19

The administration of justice is the responsibility of the judiciary, which comprises the Supreme Court (Appellate and the High Court Divisions) at the higher level, followed by a hierarchy of civil and criminal courts at the district level; and finally, village courts in rural areas and conciliatory courts in municipal areas. Bribery, corruption and abuse of the system are widely reported and appear to be endemic.

The Supreme Court is located in Dhaka. The higher level Judges, such as District and Sessions Judges, deal with both civil and criminal cases. The lower level Judges, such as Assistant Judges (formerly Munsif) deal only with civil cases. The Courts of District Magistrates, Additional District Magistrates, Magistrates of First, Second and Third Class deal with criminal cases only.

The Metropolitan Magistracy functioning in four major cities of the country also deals with criminal cases. In criminal cases in the Courts of Magistrates certain categories of police officials (court police) play the role of prosecutors. Besides police officials, the lawyers appointed as Public Prosecutors (PP) and Assistant Public Prosecutors (APP) also act as prosecutors.

In Bangladesh, Public Prosecutors are not career officials. Government law officers, other than the Attorney-General, are appointed on an ad-hoc basis, primarily on political affiliation. The report of the Police Commission of Bangladesh (1989), recommended that the present system involving political appointments be abolished and replaced by a permanent prosecution service. Steps are being taken to achieve this; however any permanent appointments will need to be transparent and objective to avoid exacerbating the existing problem.

A number of other reforms have been introduced by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (MoLJPA) to streamline the judicial system and reduce backlog in the courts. These include the Speedy Trial Tribunal for major cases, strengthening of ADR mechanism and consideration of introducing cost penalties for unnecessary adjournments and delays. In addition, a Monitoring Cell has been established in the MoHA to oversight the investigation process and provide better coordination with MoLJPA.

There are 66 prisons in Bangladesh which can be divided into two types. The Central Prisons, of which there are 11, are for the confinement of prisoners under tria\, admmisltaXvve detainees atvd convicted prisoners sentenced to a long term of imprisonment. These are essentially maximum security prisons. The 55 other Prisons are used for the confinement of all categories of prisoners except those convicted prisoners whose sentence exceeds 5 years. Under the orders of the Inspector General of Prisons, longer-term prisoners may be confined in these prisons for special reasons, however, they are essentially classified as “medium security”.

A number of new prisons are currently being built or planned. These include a major prison facility at Gazipur which is being used. Previously, there were also a number of Thana prisons but these are no longer functioning.

The official capacity of the 64 prisons is approximately 25,000, however the actual prison population is around 72,000. Of these, almost 50,000 or 70% are under trial. There is another class of prisoners known as ‘released prisoners’. These are foreigners who were arrested and convicted in Bangladesh, and have served their sentences but are still in prison because they have nowhere to go. 20

Not only are the prisons grossly overcrowded, but the problem is exacerbated by the high number of prisoners incarcerated because of delays in the judicial system. There is no effective classification system in Bangladesh prisons and remanded and convicted persons are often not separated. The conditions for women and juveniles held in detention require considerable improvement to ensure appropriate levels of classification, security and humane confinement. Medical, rehabilitation and vocational facilities are also inadequate.

A Cabinet Committee has been established to consider reforms to the prison system. The Committee is sitting regularly and examining various strategies and recommendations to improve conditions in the prisons. An additional Tk40 crore was allocated to improve prison facilities in the 2002 – 2003 financial year. This was mainly allocated to infrastructure which is in a serious state of deterioration. Funding has also been allocated to special facilities for children under six, living with their convicted mothers.

3.3 Judiciary and Magistracy:

The judiciary and the magistracy are key stakeholders in improving human security and access to justice. The overall structure, administration and function of the various parts of the judiciary and magistracy is complex and unclear even to learned people, and totally confusing and lacking transparency to others, particularly the disadvantaged. There are clear linkages between the work of the magistracy and policing, and it is essential for more effective collaboration and case management to streamline the process between the police-courts interface in the justice system.

The judiciary and magistracy, like the police, have a severe image problem are there are on¬going allegations of corruption and ineffectiveness. They should be free from political and other external interference, and separation from the Executive is an essential first step for reform.

Together with the police, the judiciary and the magistracy must take a more vigorous and committed role in defending the rights of the people of Bangladesh, particularly the poor and disadvantaged. Although it is suggested by some that The Women and Children Repression Prevention (Special Provision) Act (2000)) is beginning to have some impact, the overwhelming view remains that the plight of many women and juveniles in Bangladesh remains extremely serious.

3.4 Bangladesh Police:

Bangladesh Police is a national organisation with Police Headquarters (PHQ) based in Dhaka. It comprises 109,651 established positions of which 81,129 are constables. In addition to PHQ, it has a number of branches and units including the Special Branch, CID, Armed Police Battalion, Training Institutions, Metropolitan Police and Range (including Railway Police). The Range and Metropolitan Police are structured into Districts, Circles, Police Stations (Thanas) and Outposts. As the designated national institution for the PA to Strengthening of Bangladesh Police, the police are a key stakeholder.21

The history of policing in the Bengal region is as long as the history of local community and social life. Organized, public, professional policing, in the form we would recognize today,

commenced almost 250 years ago. First established under British colonial rule in the 1750s, and eventually based on the ideas of police legitimacy, structure and function adopted by the Irish Constabulary, the current police organization emerged, along with the new state, from the Pakistani era in 1971. The first officers of the Bangladesh Police were Bengali members of the recently disbanded East Pakistan Police. Today the organization, headed by the Inspector General of Police, under the general supervision of the Home Minister, has nearly 120,000 staff members.22

The vision of the Bangladesh Police is ‘to provide service to all citizens and make Bangladesh a better and safer place to live and work. This is to be achieved through a five point mission:

  • to uphold the rule of law;
  • to ensure safety and security of citizens;
  • to prevent and detect crime;
  • to bring offenders to justice; and
  • to maintain peace and public order.

In order to achieve its objectives, the agency is structured into the following 10 branches:

  • District Police Administration;
  • Criminal Investigation Department;
  • Special Branch;
  • Railway Police;
  • Traffic Police

CHAPTER FOUR Problem and issue Analysis of Bangladesh Police :

The following issue offer an analysis of the identified problems, their causes and effects identified. They have been grouped under theme headings. Identification of the needs emerging from this process is provided in these issue.

4.1 What is PRP ?

Police Reform Programme (PRP) aims at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Bangladesh Police by supporting key areas of access to justice; including crime prevention, investigations, police operations and prosecutions; human resource management and training; and future directions, strategic capacity and oversight.

The programme complements other initiatives for reform in the broader justice sector and is designed to assist Bangladesh Police to improve performance and professionalism consistent with broader government objectives. Support to a functioning, accessible and transparent criminal justice system, institutions and services (including legal aid) means that poor people and other disadvantaged groups have protection, representation and recourse to hold the resource-rich accountable for commitments services included in the MDGs and their targets.23

Key Components of PRP;

There are six key components to support the programme goal and longer-term outcome.The components provide a conceptual and strategic framework for the duration of the programme:

  • Component 1: Crime Prevention
  • Component 2: Investigations, Operations and Prosecutions
  • Component 3: Human Resource Management and Training
  • Component 4: Strategy and Oversight
  • Component 5: Programme Management
  • Component 6: Communication
  • Component 7: Trafficking in Human Beings.24

4.2 Why is there a need for police reform?

The challenges of crime and anti-social behaviour are enormous. Levels of crime, although falling, remain too high and detection rates too low. The police want to reduce public fear of crime and do more to build public confidence. This is being done through the police reform programme and reforms to the criminal justice system.25

Further measures now seek to push the programme forward. Underpinning this is the civil renewal agenda – the belief in strong, empowered and active communities. The government wants to create a police service which is more responsive to local needs and to clarify confusing police accountability arrangements, as well as creating a service better able to deal with higher level crime which goes across force boundaries.

What’s on the agenda?

Police Reform must help meet the following challenges:

  • Providing a citizen-focused service to the public, especially victims and witnesses, which responds to the needs of individuals and communities and inspires confidence in the police.
  • Tackling anti-social behaviour and disorder.
  • Continuing to reduce burglary, vehicle crime, robbery and drug related crime.
  • Combating serious and organized crime, both across and within force boundaries.
  • Narrowing the justice gap by increasing the number of offences brought to justice.
  • Better leadership and training.
  • Optimising police use of science and technology.
  • A better deal on occupational health.
  • Modernising police regulations and all terms and conditions.
  • Ensuring all staff have high quality terms and conditions.
  • Performance management.26

4.3Problems to be Addressed;

The Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh (GoB) recognizes the importance of an efficient and effective police force as an integral part of the broader justice sector and as a key contributor to a safer and more secure environment based on respect for human rights, equitable access to justice and observance of the rule of law. In partnership with UNDP and other development agencies, the GoB has supported reform and renewal of the Bangladesh Police to improve the administration of justice and the maintenance of law and order including international norms for human rights.27

There are many problems to be addressed in the reform and renewal of the Bangladesh Police through the PRP. These include:

  • Shortfalls in supervisory and managerial competence;
  • Police are under-resourced and under-trained;
  • Lack of specialized technical capacity to deal with emerging crimes;
  • Lack of confidence in the police expressed by many members of the community, civil society and business;
  • Lack of sensitivity by the police on the plight of victims of crime, particularly women, young people, minorities, the landless poor, street people and other vulnerable groups;
  • The management and effective operations of the police is adversely impacted by external influences with great regularity;
  • The low number of women police and their low representation in decision making positions;
  • The police having a propensity to focus on protocol, ceremonial and static security tasks at the expense of core duties;
  • The machinery of policing has not evolved over time and does not meet the needs of present-day Bangladesh;
  • Inefficiency use of police resources and lack of competency by officers performing many critical functions without adequate (or any) training;
  • The existence of opportunistic and institutional corruption in a range of shapes and forms;
  • Generally low motivation and morale linked to low pay, poor working conditions and limited promotion prospects, especially at the lower levels;
  • Inadequate overall strategic planning, including human resource and career development, transparency and accountability of function and sustainability of operations; and
  • Widespread abuse of authority, whilst accountability and transparency are lacking.28

4.4 Bangladesh Police; Existing problems and some reform proposals:

hi common parlance cops and robbers are a conceptual couple — cops always to chase This was not the case until relatively recently. Criminology has shed light, for most of its the robbers and miscreants; cops and other components of criminal justice system were jurisdiction. The “classical school” was concerned with the establishment of a reasonable criminal justice system.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries science of flourished as a branch of political economy. This branch took into consideration the problem and disorder and considered how to develop appropriate policies to prevent and control it. this sense is much broader and is used to mean a whole system of governing a society by social, political and cultural policy. The police in our contemporary sense are seen as a the whole of domestic government and an important agency of criminal justice system.

Here I want to focus the problems of Bangladesh Police and how to come out of the situation law and order situation presupposes the establishment of a professional police force. An should be created where police will serve the purpose of the people. Their prime concercontrol and maintenance of social order.29

Recently people are more conscious than ever about the role of police in ensuring law and or number of former police officials, columnists, advocates, judges and human rights activists a putting their valuable views in different newspapers about the problems of police and setting their recommendations to reform the police. This positive trend, I hope, will usher in a path shall get a professional and institutional police.

Police of the Indian sub-continent took institutional shape after the mutiny of 1857. The Britiswere bewildered at the widespread mutiny all over India. After controlling the mutiny they reorganize the police of Indian sub-continent and appointed a Police Commission in 1860. In accordance with the recommendations of the Police Commission the Police Act, 1861 was pasorganisation of police was established according to the provisions of this Act, which continues regulate the police functions still today in Bangladesh. Immediately after establishing the police British rulers realized that they had created a Frankenstein. Later on successive enquiries foupolice incompetent, high-handed and corrupt. In 1902 the Fraser Commission clearly told that police system established by the British rulers had completely failed. It recorded that, “they went, the Commission heard the most bitter complaints against the corruption of the police. These complaints were not made by non-officials only, but also officials of all classes including Magistrates and police officers, both European and native.”

The structure, within which the police of Bangladesh are working, was established by the British rulers. At that time police was low salaried, little educated, corrupt and they had no accountability. At the end of nineteenth century, movement against British government became widespread. They got a readymade force, police, at their disposal to suppress the rightful movement of this sub After the emergence of Bangladesh, government kept the previous structure of police. Some initiatives were taken to reform it, but no government implemented the reform proposals. The incumbents did not do anything for establishing a professional police force in this country. The whole government machinery is well aware of the corruption, manipulation, illegal arrest, torture and other malpractices of police. In spite of that they are working with this deviated force. It has become a usual practice that opposition parties criticizes the activities of police, but when they go to power they defend the same police force and utilize the force for narrow party purpose as usual.

Police force in Bangladesh is beset with many problems. First, the structure of police was established by the British rulers and the laws regulating the activities of the police were enacted

by the same ruling elite. Both the structure and laws require extensive review. Our police owes its creation to the Police Act, 1861, principal purpose of which was to maintain the status quo. The Act puts major emphasis on maintenance of order. Rather than focusing on the professional aspect of crime control, and clearly define police role and respect new Act overemphasizes the constabulary functions of the police. We require a new Police Act, which will focus on professional aspect of crime control and clearly define police role and responsibility. The new Act needs to ensure police professionalism, accountability and modern police management, the proper functioning of which seeks to improve human security and access to justice. It should provide the basis for establishing police as a public-friendly service-oriented organization, which will be monitored by police-public consultative committees.

Second, the police of lower echelon constitute majority of police force. But they, particularly the constables, Nayeks and low ranking police officers, do not possess substantial educational and intellectual attainments. Their treatment and exposure to the general people is very arrogant and frightening.30

Third, because of lack of proper training and motivation, police do not know that they are the servants of the Republic, which requires its people to be served properly. Members of police force are busy with serving the government officers and party in power, rather than acting in a service-delivery system. Proper training will make them aware about their role of establishing rule of law. As members of an important agency of state and criminal justice system, they are under lawful compulsion to provide proper service to all types of people of the society.

Fourth, salary given to the police officers and constables is insufficient. Police officers and constables work 13-18 hours a day, which is almost double than the working hours of the government employees of professions. On an average officer in charge of a metropolitan police station works 18 hour officer in charge of district and thana level works 15 hours. In all the police stations Sub Assistant Sub-Inspectors and constables work 13-16 hours a day. But their salary is not their serving 13-18 hours a day, as professional service requires sufficient monetary salary structure of police is like that of other government employees, they do not get an remuneration for extra work.3′

Fifth, police is always confronted with the problem of inadequate logistic support. On an average police staff sit in each room of a police station. In most of the police stations there is no room for conference or meeting. Police stations of districts and thanas have no prison van, metropolitan police stations though have prison vans, but those are old and obsolete. Malkhanas of metropolitan and district police stations are narrow and unhygienic, while police stations of thanas have no malkhana. The toilet facilities of police stations are insufficient. Police require sufficient number of vehicles for arresting criminals, but most of the police stations do not have sufficient number of cars, and the available cars are old. The police stations are not provided with necessary furniture. Police require modern and light arms for expected crime control, but 45.5 percent arms in the metropolitan police stations are Chinese shot guns, 78.6 percent arms in the police stations of districts are three three rifles, in thana police stations this is 95.5 percent. Criminals are using modern arms like Chinese rifle, AK-47 rifle, SMG, LMG etc., whereas our police is equipped with such weapons, which are difficult to carry and manoeuver. Sixth, police is the only state agency to investigate criminal cases, the outcome of which may be a charge-sheet for the prosecution or final report for release of the accused. This reality places police in an advantageous situation which they can manipulate and they do it extensively for their personal gain. There is no authority to monitor the investigating activities of police. In the absence of a supervising authority police officers easily include or delete names from the charge-sheet, or give final report where charge-sheet should be given, or vice versa. Seventh, police officers do not get sufficient time for controlling crime and investigating criminal cases. On an average every Sub-Inspector of district police stations has to investigate 7.5 cases in a month, and Sub-Inspector of thana police stations four cases. They do these investigating activities in addition to other duties, hence police officers remain reluctant to take up new cases. Metropolitan police spend 40.6 percent time of a month for maintaining law and order, 32.7 percent for ensuring the security of VIPs, and 18.4 percent for works relating to criminal cases. Police officers of districts and thanas take half of the time of a month for securing the VIPs.32

Eighth, government uses the police as a branch of its political organization and suppresses often the rightful activities of opposition political parties. Extensive political use of police force hinders the development of professionalism, as a result less qualified and dishonest police

officers are placed in important positions, and the people remain deprived of the service of honest and sincere police officers. Because of excessive political use, police has no chain of command.

Ninth, police organization of Bangladesh suffers from insufficient accountability, both internal and external. Internal accountability can enhance competence, and prevent corruption, whereas external accountability can ensure people-oriented service. Law prescribes the mode and manner how the police officers will dispose of their duties, but there is insufficient departmental mechanism, and no neutral body of the state to scrutinize whether the police officers are doing their duties properly. It creates widespread human sufferings, and violation of citizens’ rights, police unrest and reform of police Brutality and corruption are not the recent phenomenon of the police force of this region, rather the available history witnesses the reality from the Mughal period. Police has been practicing torture from the very beginning. In 1813 a Committee of the British Parliament commented on the police brutality that police was appointed to save the villagers from the robbers, but they so brutally tortured the villagers which was no less than that of the robbers.33

After the creation of new police force in 1861, the British rulers understood that they had created a Frankenstein. In 1869 they took initiative to reform the police, but it failed to bring any good result. In 1902 the Fraser Commission was appointed and it found the police high-handed, incompetent and corrupt. After 1947 the police force of East Pakistan continued to function under the structure and rules established by the British rulers.

In 1948 the East Pakistan police were agitating in Dhaka. In this context a six-member Commission was formed to reform the police, with Justice Sahabuddin as the President. This Commission gave their report in 1953, but it was not implemented. In this context another police unrest took place in 1955. Later on a Police Commission was formed in 1959, and another in 1969, but recommendations of none was implemented. After the establishment of Bangladesh a Police Commission was constituted in 1978. Another Commission was formed in 1986 with Toiabuddin Ahmed, then Additional Inspector General of Police, in the chair. Government accepted partially the reports of these two Commissions for implementation, hi 1988 a Police

Commission was formed under the leadership of Justice Aminur Rashid, and government partially implemented the recommendations of this Commission.34

Nine Police Commissions were formed to reform the police from 1960 to 1989. But successive governments did not take concrete measures to implement the recommendations, only some recommendations were implemented partially. In the absence of any effective reform police identified as oppressive, perpetrator, corrupt and abuser. Transparency International has several times identified police department as the most corrupt among all the departments of the government. On February 4, 2002 the Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh submitted a report, which revealed that during the last seven years officials of 24 ministries took huge amount of bribe. In monetary terms it was 15 thousand crore taka. During the said period the officers and staff of police took bribe to the tune of 2066 crore taka. In a survey report of Transparency International, police department and lower judiciary have been identified as the most corrupt service organisations;83 and 75 percent citizens fall victim of corruption respectively when coming to get service from these departments.35

We need to establish an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission, like ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) of Hong Kong, to combat all pervasive corruption of Bangladesh including the corruption of police. In 1973 ICAC of Hong Kong was established to investigate the corruption of a police officer. Then the Commission declared its crusade against corruption and successfully rooted out corruption from Hong Kong. Following the example of Hong Kong, many countries have established Independent Anti-Corruption Commission to address the vice. But a Commission like one established by the present government of Bangladesh will have no utility in addressing the menace.

If we want to establish a professional police organization, which will effectively control crime and give service to the common people, we need to enact a new Police Act and establish a Public Safety Commission or a Security Commission. Muhammad Nurul Huda, a former Secretary and IGP, put forward the recommendations.36

The Act overemphasized the constabulary functions of the police against the professional aspect of crime control. Maintaining the legacy of British and Pakistani regimes, the police of Bangladesh remain busy with suppressing and persecuting the opposition. Because of excessive political use, the police of Bangladesh failed to develop professionalism.

The present Police Act should be replaced by a new one, which should determine the respond accountability of police. The Act should establish effective police management and professionalism in the department. We may establish a Public Safety Commission or a Safety Commission, which should ii) lay down broad guidelines for preventive and service-oriented by the police; ii) evaluate the performance of the police every year; in) function as a forum to dispose representations from officers regarding their being subjected to illegal orders an regarding their promotions; iv) generally review the functioning of police force.” Concluding remarks: Enacting new law and establishing Public Safety Commission do not suffice to develop an efficient, accountable and professional police organization. Inevitably we should enact new law and establish some commission, but at the same time it requires a political goodwill, both the government and opposition need to be committed for establishing an apolitical police organization, which will control crime professionally and serve the people as an organization of the democratic republic of Bangladesh.37

Concluding remarks: Enacting new law and establishing Public Safety Commission do not suffice to develop an efficient, accountable and professional police organization. Inevitably we should enact new law and establish some commission, but at the same time it requires a political goodwill, both the government and opposition need to be committed for establishing an apolitical police organization, which will control crime professionally and serve the people as an organization of the democratic republic of Bangladesh.

4.5 Crime Prevention:

This component is designed to  improve police community engagement and create an environment that facilitates prevention of crime and equitable access to justice. This includes

development of a National Crime Prevention Strategy with gender and human rights perspective. A further key objective is to minimize the opportunity for appropriate influence over the police in administering their role in the justice system. Strong emphasis is placed on crime prevention and community engagement, and a major focus on victim support, particularly for the poor and vulnerable groups.38

Key outcomes of this component include:

  • Enhanced crime prevention through police/community awareness and collaboration.
  • Removal of barriers to the more effective reporting of crime.
  • Creation of an environment that enhances the public image of police and provides reduced opportunity for inappropriate influence over police.
  • The contribution of Bangladesh Police to victim support is enhanced particularly for the poor, women and girls and vulnerable groups.
  • Enhanced capacity to be responsive to women, young people and vulnerable people.
  • Refurbish and equip replicable model Thana in selected locations within Metropolitan Police and Ranges and staffed with both male and female police.

There is a definite lack of focus by the police and other stakeholders on the prevention of crime before it happens rather than reacting to it after it occurs. This can largely be attributed to a lack of awareness and understanding, but also to a lack of leadership on the part of various stakeholders, including the police. For example, hundreds of police officers are continuously engaged in dealing with violence between rival students at educational institutions such as Dhaka University when the underpinning tensions remain untreated.

The big issues relevant to crime in Bangladesh are so obvious to everyone; murder, robbery, dacoity, corruption and so on. However, little work is being done by Bangladesh Police to analyse and treat the underpinning causes of these crimes. Because of this lack of analysis, and because of the lack of police guidelines or policy on crime prevention, police are unable to provide advice to the public on what preventative actions they can take. In fact police themselves lack training and experience in crime prevention and community safety.

Whilst the police are admittedly not particularly active in mis regard, it is true to say that they are also generally perceived to be singularly responsible for both preventing and solving crime. In reality however, the community, civil society and other stakeholders including other government departments also have a significant moral obligation to play a more active role. There is however no single focal point for crime prevention and no holistic strategy for focussing collective efforts on preventing crime. The absence of such a strategy means that the best resources are not being brought together in a coordinated and cost effective manner to prevent crime. Accordingly the reduction of current crime levels and prevention of future crime is made much more difficult and, in a vicious circle, most police resources continue to be deployed in a reactive manner.

Police do not routinely provide crime prevention advice and in me face of limited awareness, the community, particularly the poor and uneducated are more vulnerable to crime and exploitation.39

4.6 Accessibility and Affordabilitv of Justice ;

For most people in Bangladesh, police represent the entry point to the criminal justice system. Access to justice via this entry point however is not easy nor is it affordable except for certain classes of people.

In terms of access, the limited mobility of police particularly in rural areas, which is significantly constrained by a lack of vehicles and limited fuel budget, means that police services are primarily delivered through often inhospitable Thana. Very few police stations are constructed in a manner which is conducive to encouraging the public to enter. Police stations, particularly busy ones, are also almost constantly ‘surrounded’ by Touts who harass, or seek to intervene between victims and the police. These Touts are often well known by the police who are unable or unwilling to deal with them.

Some 80,000 or approximately 72% of police officers in Bangladesh are poorly trained, poorly equipped Constables who have limited authority, education and life skills. More than three quarters of Thana personnel are usually Constables.

They are however the public face of policing in Bangladesh. In fact, the considerably outdated PRB provides that ‘They [Constables] are not intended to perform duties requiring the exercise of much judgement and discretion’. (Regulation 208(a)) This in fact seems to reflect the way in which a large number of Constables are actually used.

Police stations are consistently under-staffed because of the low number of police who are actually deployed to work at Thana level, versus those who are deployed to reserve forces, public order, protocol and protection duties for bom individuals and organisations. A good number of police are also deployed to guard the police station.

Unreasonably long hours are worked by police at Thana level. Were they to work eight hour shifts and take proper days off, most police stations would have just a handful of police per shift. These officers however are being constantly drawn away from dealing directly with the community into protocol and security, further depleting actual numbers on a day to day basis. In terms of affordability, people are regularly required to pay bribes to police, Touts or Mastans to access so-called ‘justice*. In fact via bribes and other forced payments, many poor people are made poorer by accessing a basic service that should be provided equitably to all at no cost. Those payments sit on top of any detriment victims may have already suffered at the hands of criminals. In this sense, the justice system contributes to, rather than reduces poverty. Where honest and hard-working police are found, they are sometimes afraid to act against influential people including local politicians, pressure groups and their criminal associates, for fear of reprisals on their families, damage to their career prospects, or transfer to an adverse location. Senior officers appear unwilling or powerless to stop such intervention. In any event it is fair to say that the sophistication, skills and training of some police officers does not equip them to deal with powerful and influential people. Criminals with money are also able to bribe their way out of many situations.

Ultimately in Bangladesh this means that power, influence and money determine the accessibility of police services for many people, not constitutional rights, legal provisions and genuine need.

4.7 Awareness and Observance of Human Rights:

Human rights violations by Bangladesh Police, ranging from minor infractions to grave injustices, occur with unacceptable regularity. This occurs largely at lower levels where the education levels, attitudes, lack of training and difficult personal circumstances of lower ranked police officers combine to generate ignorance and indifference. Common examples of human rights violations include unlawful arrest and detention – including misuse of Section 54 CrPC, physical assault – often associated with forced confessions, and detention under the Special Powers Act to prevent release after being granted bail.41

Police at many levels perceive donors and human rights organisations as berating them with human rights issues and pushing a human rights agenda when the police have ‘higher priority’ issues to deal with. For many reasons articulated in this analysis, both in this sub-section and others, considerable effort will be required to shift the current paradigm. Donors and human rights organisations themselves must carefully consider how they engage with police to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

Some rudimentary aspects of human rights awareness training is contained in the basic training curricula at the Police Academy Sardah. However, except for the Police Staff College Mirpur the training curricula of the Bangladesh Police do not address human rights in the context of policing philosophy and operations. Because of the lack of focus on contemporary policing needs, training in human rights is presented to the vast majority of police officers as more of a general knowledge topic. Accordingly it is not inculcated into the policing ethos or credo of graduates from these institutions. Similarly, the Bangladesh Police itself does not publish, measure and enforce adherence to the professional standards it expects of its officers. Doing so vigorously woukl serve to set and maintain compliance with acceptable standards of human rights which would in turn build community confidence. Virtually no in-service training is provided to the vast majority of police officers and this includes the subject of human rights. The Police Staff College however has conducted specific human rights training with and without donor support and has modules on human rights and policing vulnerable groups included in a contextually relevant manner in a number of its courses. Such inconsistencies in police training curricula contribute to a fragmented approach and a difference of understanding of the issues between different classes of police officer.

The problem of vulnerability is exasperated because the public themselves largely do not have a sound appreciation of men- rights as provided by the Constitution and other covenants.42

4.8 Adequacy of Victim Support;

The lack of support for witnesses and victims involved in criminal investigations and other traumatic events discourages public interaction with the police. That ultimately results in equitable access to justice being denied. Police in Bangladesh are largely insensitive to the plight of victims of crime. This can be attributed to their own often difficult circumstances, the way they are treated by their superiors, the attitude of society at large towards them, isolation from the community; and because of gender bias, inadequate training, poor supervision and a lack of accountability.43

In many cases in Bangladesh, particularly in crimes against the person, the victims of crime are socially, culturally and economically linked with the offender. When this is combined with a lack of understanding by police of victim trauma, the absence of adequate support mechanism, particularly in the case of women, it means that access to justice is almost impossible. Police generally, but women police specifically have not received adequate (in many cases any) training in domestic violence, sexual assault, and other offences against women that are crucial to providing relevant support services for victims and witnesses.

From an investigative standpoint, the lack of support for witnesses and victims also means that information that would be critical to successful prosecutions is often not disclosed. The failure of Bangladesh Police to prioritise this as an issue therefore has a compounding impact on the generally poor standard of its investigations.

Limited physical resources and inappropriate deployment of human resources to other areas of policing further constrain current police capacity in this regard. Once again however, whilst police are expected to take a leadership role, they should not, and in fact are not, left to deal with this issue alone.

A number of NGOs such as the Acid Survivors Foundation already provide direct support services. However the police have not developed systematic and effective partnerships with such NGOs wherein police could be the referrers and NGOs the primary support givers. Further analysis of this issue is provided later in this section under the heading of Police Capacity to Deal with Women and Young People.44

4.9 False Complaints and False Charges;

False complaints are often used by accused, and Touts on behalf of accused, to negate legitimate complaints. That is, to challenge the credibility of a victim, or to raise a counter-allegation which is then used to threaten or intimidate victims and witnesses so that they do not proceed with their complaints. Unfortunately police rarely take decisive action against people who raise false complaints and accordingly there is little deterrent against doing so.

Police often lack the technical investigation skills and experience to quickly distinguish between opposing complaints. The lack of investigation management process in the gathering of reports, witness statements, and in the analysis of evidence also means that the basis for clear decisions, and possibly charges for making false reports are simply not available. Procedures for dealing with allegations of false complaints and counter-complaints are also complicating the issue. Accordingly valuable resources and time are wasted pursuing false accusations. In the face of allegation and counter-allegation, police often disregard both sides and ultimately therefore natural justice is denied to genuine victims.45

4.10 Crime Investigation and Prosecution;

One of the most significant opportunities for enhancement of Bangladesh Police is in the area of the ongoing criticism of the incomplete and perfunctory manner in which many investigations are undertaken and the lack of success in prosecuting crimes. Greater effectiveness and efficiency in this regard would significantly enhance community confidence in their ability and overall perceptions of the police. It would also be a significant step towards reversing a growing crime problem in Bangladesh.

The objective of this component is to ensure high quality police operations and investigations are undertaken in a timely and professional manner and lower court prosecutions do justice to

investigative efforts. There is a strong focus on improvements to investigative processes, police operations and more effective prosecutions based on sound evidences and proper preparation of briefs. The component has a significant human rights perspective by diverting police away from the current reliance on ‘confessions’ to embrace more professional approaches to the use of evidence based on forensic support and criminal intelligence.46

Key outcomes of this component include:

  • Improved crime scene preservation and forensic support
  • Enhanced efficiency and effectiveness of investigative processes
  • Improved systems and processes for gathering and analyzing criminal intelligence
  • Increased capacity, professionalism and effectiveness of Court Inspectors to prosecute charges in the lower court; and
  • Revised criminal laws and regulations to reflect contemporary requirements.47

4.11 investigations and Investigations Management:

“An investigation is a search for the truth,

in the interests of justice

and in accordance with the specifications of the law”

The capacity and desire of Bangladesh Police to undertake thorough and impartial investigations and bring them to lawful and effective conclusions are fundamental to controlling crime in Bangladesh. There are however many impediments to the effective and efficient conduct of investigations by police in the current environment.

Most investigations are undertaken by Sub-Inspectors and Inspectors. However these officers have multiple tasks that draw them away from investigations which require concentrated, uninterrupted focus to secure acceptable outcomes. Examples of constant distractions include protocol, VBP protection, security and public order duties.

It is common for investigators to have 15 – 20 serious investigations underway at any given time and, with such a workload, it is simply impossible for them to give due attention to all of them. Furthermore, specialist and in-service training is very rare, and when it is given it is structured and delivered in such a way that it does not provide investigators with the knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully complete many investigations. Local investigations are also hampered because investigating officers are generally confined to investigate only within their own Thana. As criminals are highly mobile and witnesses and victims not confined to a single Thana, wider ranging authority and capacity to cross boundaries is needed by investigators.49 For reasons of their own capacity and resource constraint, but also because of constraining procedures and regulations, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Detective Branches provide very little support to investigations undertaken at Thana level — where most crime actually occurs.

A lack of specialization in specific investigative fields, such as drug, arson, fraud, motor vehicle collisions and sexual assault offences means that there are few true investigative experts who are able to deal with tile complexities and nuances of specific classes of crime. The Detective Training School requires revitalization and the DTS curricula (analysed later) needs a major revamp to ensure contemporary investigative techniques are being taught to prospective and current investigators. The curricula must also include focus on investigative specializations. The quality of First Information Reports (FIR) also has a direct bearing on the quality of investigations. Police at Thana level are often untrained or not inclined to gather critical information at the time of first report. For example many police see domestic violence largely as a ‘family matter1, not a crime for them to be involved in. Many others change the reported facts so that crime can be classified as less serious making it easier to dispose of without thorough investigation. Yet others dissuade the lodging of reports or just refuse to take them at all. The current basic police training is largely process oriented and focused on technical attributes, such as knowledge of the law, but does not teach police officers to be probative, analytical or good communicators. Rigour and true ‘investigation’ hi the gathering of facts for FIR is therefore often not evidenced.

From a physical standpoint there is a lack of suitable interviewing facilities for victims, witnesses and suspects at most Thana; and the lack of equipment, furniture and resources such as paper, pens, typewriters, and fuel for inquiry vehicles constrains effectiveness. Finally, the lack of forensic support also severely constrains the quality of many criminal investigations.

Limited ongoing management of the vast majority of investigations, case management processes, periodic oversight and review of incomplete inquiries and limited measures of performance are commonplace and not the exception in most Districts and Thana.

This means mat the vast majority of investigations are undertaken by under-resourced, under-trained and over-burdened officers who operate with little accountability, yet expectations of them are so very high. It is almost impossible to reconcile the two under the existing situation.49

4.12 Crime Recording Intelligence and Analysis;

Crime, by any means of assessment, is significantly under-reported to police, and sometimes under-recorded by them when it is actually reported. It is widely understood that the community reports only a small proportion of actual crime.50

Many reasons for this were identified and analysed, including community fear of reprisal by criminals and their associates against victims, witnesses and their families, and intervention by Touts. Furthermore, police do not encourage reports and in fact regularly discourage it They also play down the seriousness of crimes and often record a lesser crime, allegedly to downplay the true crime portrait in and to lighten their workload. Again there is a perception of defensiveness on the part of police, whereas, despite the obvious implications of high crime itself, high levels of reporting denote community confidence in the ability and willingness of police to help the victims of crime.

Attitude notwithstanding, the Bangladesh Police is also constrained by antiquated, manual processes mat limit effective crime recording. Village Crime Note Books (VCNB) and FIR do not capture the kinds of information that allows effective statistical analysis, the accurate portrayal of modus operandi and other basic tactical intelligence. There is no computerization of crime reports, and whilst the police, through Special Branch have a considerable capacity to produce general intelligence products relevant to their own area of focus, there is no effective development of any systematic criminal intelligence. To meet the growing crime challenges facing Bangladesh, particularly in terms of organized and trans-national criminals, the capacity of the Special Branch and CID should at least be equaled, if not exceeded by an adequately resourced Criminal Intelligence Unit.51

Whilst a requirement exists within Police Regulations Bengal (PRB) for police to identify, plot and analyse crimes, in reality it does not occur. Deployments of operational resources are made on the basis of “best guess’ rather than factual information. There actually appears to be limited understanding by most police, certainly at lower levels, of the value of crime analysis in preventing and solving crime Whilst the problem is compounded because there are no trained and qualified crime analysts, even rudimentary analysis of crime trends and patterns would allow Bangladesh Police to take a more proactive posture on dealing with crime and would certainly contribute to the more effective use of resources.

As criminal activity is not widely targeted on a proactive basis, the chance of criminals being caught is considerably reduced, or at least made a far more laborious and inefficient process. Furthermore, in the absence of information of this kind, policy and planning decisions such as resource allocations to Thana cannot be made with a high degree of reliability. The analysis of crime trends and patterns would also allow police at Thana level to provide proactive crime prevention advice to the community and therein build stronger relationships. Finally with no national identify system and no computerization of criminal histories with links to fingerprints of all offenders, it is a simple matter for a highly mobile criminal population to change names, date of birth, and village of origin to avoid apprehension or proper identification and police are largely powerless to prevent it52

4.13 Police Prosecutions Capacity;

Police prosecutors manage the prosecution of criminal cases in lower courts and form part of the Detective Branch. Most Police Prosecutors hold the rank of Sub Inspector and Inspector, There is no Police Prosecuting Branch to centrally manage the prosecution process and professional development of Court Inspectors.

Despite the lack of formal qualifications for the roles they perform, many Court Officers perform admirably, particularly when it is considered that they often appear against highly qualified and skilled professional legal advocates.53

The effectiveness of the Investigation, Supervision and Prosecution Course (3 weeks) and the Police Prosecutors Course (2 weeks), conducted by the Detective Training School to prepare Court Officers for their job is questionable. Like much of the general police training curricula the prosecutions training curriculum is quite dated and in need of urgent review to bring it in line with the current needs of Court Inspectors. Review of the mode of course delivery is also required and should include assessment of the viability of, including the periodic court attachments and other workplace-based learning options which are not currently included. In-service and refresher training for Court Officers is extremely limited but critical to ensuring currency of practice and procedure.

The systems to support effective lower court prosecutions are weak and there is no computerised system to show the charge sheet lists or the status of cases preferred by police. There is no centralised management of criminal history information and it is relatively easy for an accused to appear in one court under one name and another court under another name.

With regard to the links to the investigative process, the evidence presented by investigating officers in court is not always sufficient to secure a conviction which makes the role of the Court Officers particularly difficult Sometimes criticism of Court Officers and court outcomes is more appropriately attributable to the standard of investigations . Witnesses and investigating officers fail to appear in court for a range of reasons including lack of funds for transport, failure to receive notification, commitment to other duties, and in the case of civilian witnesses, concern over the loss of income which is not recompensed by the court.54