“The Police are the main terrorist in Bangladesh. They harass general people in many ways to get some bribe and sometimes want to protect corrupt people because they give heavy amount of money.”
The police have a vital role to play in maintaining internal laws and orders as well as establishing the rule of law in the country. For controlling the law and order situation, tackling the ever-increasing sophisticated criminal activities, arresting the spread of drugs and narcotics, and punishing heinous crimes like murder, rape, mugging, hijacking, abduction, smuggling, acid-throwing, and violence on women and children, the need for the police force is indeed very great. But the police do exactly opposite of what they should do. The police force is the most corrupted department in Bangladesh. They are became the enemy of the general people because of harassing people for accused of crime, taking bribe and protecting corrupted people etc. The illegal activities that are done by police are discussed below.
Police of the Indian sub-continent took institutional shape after the revolt of 1857. The British rulers were bewildered at the widespread revolt all over India. After controlling the mutiny, they thought to reorganize the police force 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 passed. The organization of police was established with according to the provisions of this Act, which still regulate the police functions today in Bangladesh. After establishing the police, British rulers very soon realized that they had created a Frankenstein. Later on successive enquiries had made and found the police incompetent, high-handed and corrupt. In 1902, the Fraser Commission obviously told that the police system established by the British rulers had completely failed. It was recorded that, they went; the Commission heard the bitterest complaints against the corruption of the police force. These complaints were not only made by non-officials, but also officials of all classes and levels including Magistrates and police officers, both European and native.
The structure, within which the police of Bangladesh are following, was established by the British rulers. At that time, police was very low salaried, little educated, corrupt and they did not have accountability. At the end of nineteenth century, movement against British government became very widespread. They got a ready made force that was police, at their disposal to suppress the rightful movement of this sub-continent. After the birth of Bangladesh, government kept the previous structure of police. Some initiatives to reform police were taken, but unfortunately no government implemented the reform proposals. The governments did not do anything for establishing a professional police force in Bangladesh. The entire government machinery is well aware of the corruption, manipulation, illegal arrest, torture and other malpractices of police. Moreover, they are working with this deviated force.
The malpractices of POLICE in Bangladesh
As enforcers of the law, the police are commonly seen as the trusted discernible of law, meant to protect the innocent, find the guilty and bring them to trial and promote the means and ends of justice. But sadly, all too often police across the Bangladesh are cited for wrongdoing that ranges from individual misbehavior to institutional criminality. Some of the commonest complaints against police experienced by the citizenry of Bangladesh are illustrated below.
Harass and Accused of crime
The most popular types of crime in Bangladesh by the police administration are the accused of crime. The police pick up innocent people with the consent of the officers-in-charge, keep them in custody and only release them when they pay. People try to free themselves from those arrests on false charges. This evidence can also be found by the case of 21 August 2008 grenade attack in the “Bangladesh Awami league” meeting at Bangabandhu Avenue. The police give a report to the government making an innocent man called “George Mia” as a main terror. But further investigation said that he even did not know what is grenade.
Despite a constitutional prohibition, arbitrary arrest is among the most common practice in police of Bangladesh. It is regularly accompanied by assault and extortion, and also often leads to torture, killing and other grave abuses of the arrested person and others. Laws and regulation in Bangladesh make it easy for police to arrest someone on a suspicion and try to pry some information out, with which to conjure up a better excuse to hold the person in custody. Section 54 Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, permits arrest on “a reasonable suspicion” of a crime, is perhaps commonly used provision. For police in Dhaka, section 86 of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance is frequently used to arrest without valid cause after dark wherever someone is found “without any satisfactory answers”. The section carries one year penalty, fine or both. A person can also be held in detention under provisions such as the Special Power Act 1974.Police often misused those law and regulation.
Under these laws a hapless ordinary pedestrian can be end up in jail for months simply for crossing the road at the wrong time and in wrong place: specifically, where police were present. Many others are targeted arrestees, having been identified as political opponents or the government as a whole. Police forces do those things for others for money. The following incidents help to understand how easily this works in practice.
For example, on 24 November 2005 Mohammed Abul Kashem Gazi was going to buy spare parts for his refrigerator shop. He was stopped by a number of policemen in front of the Khilgaon police outpost without any obvious reason. Somehow a dispute followed, and soon led to three of the officers assaulting Gazi on the street, and dragging him back to their main police station, they kept him in detention overnight and took his mobile phone. He was brought before a magistrate the next day under section 54, and mercifully released him on bail due to health grounds. Police commonly arrest people as a part of service to someone they know, or in exchange for money or other rewards.
Police also harass women and children. They harass women without any reason. The harassment to women by police is also increased.
|year||Number of women|
Diganta TV, 30/10/2010
A survey conducted by TIB on 3030 households of those who had experience of the police administration during the previous year, the highest proportion of 39% was accused of a crime.
Taking bribe by the police officers is a common thing in Bangladesh. Once a person is under custody, the police have adopted a range of alternative ways to proceed. If the detainee can be accused of a serious offence like murder or storing illegal weapons then the investigating officer would already be calculated how much money can be made and from whom it can be collected. On one side, he will be taking money from the complainant (like on the pretext of needing to purchase fuel for the police vehicle). On the other, he will be bargaining with the accused about how much it will cost to escape from the charges, or at least from the Third Degree Method or death by “crossfire”.
If threats and negotiations with an accused do not yield anything lucrative, then, police will turn to what is euphemistically called as the Third Degree Method. The third degree starts out light, and is gradually increment intensity as the interrogation continues. The scale of torture also depends on the severity of the charges and amount of money given and other factors such as the amount of interest in the case from politicians or other influential or powerful persons, and the identity of the accused. Third Degree Method is an all-round winner for police who use it. It brings in money and helps curry favor with upper level officers, members of parliament and other important people.
The people who go to the police office to the police station for making general diaries (GD) had to pay a bribe and those who went to the police station for submitting First Information Report (FIR) had to pay a bribe. People in every span of life have to give bribe. If someone who victim of anyone’s offence, he or she has no way to go police. Because if they went to police they have to pay money and have to give answer of lots of unnecessary questions. They have to face lots of hassles. If people make any GD, they have also give bribe to the police for making investigation. People become discourage to police.
Police officers took bribe from the vehicles. Police officers realize money from a number of vehicles by setting up check posts at different parts of the capital. The police ‘inspection’ rises as the Eid approaches nearer. They set up ‘strategic city points’ where some four or five sergeants instead of the usual one sergeant and even the custom of inspection in case of the violation of ‘unconventional norms’ have become null and void. They are charging the bus drivers at will. Bus drivers also say that besides the ‘strategic points,’ new points have been set up by the sergeants. The passengers sometimes have to sympathize with the unfortunate bus drivers who get ‘caught’ twice or thrice in the span of some ten to fifteen minutes. The sole objective of the police sergeants is to take money from the bus drivers, so they are least interested in controlling the traffic.
The officers also take money from owners of hotels, guesthouses and even apartments regularly and allow them to carry on anti-social and criminal activities. They also take money from the hooker for setting in the store in the roads side. This amount of money goes to the upper level of the police department.
The survey conducted by TIB that the household members who were victims of corruption at the hands of police administration incurred is given below:
|Expenditure by victim households on an average for police corruption is Taka 9675 annually|
|Taka 10282 in villages||Taka 7845 in towns|
Transparency International Bangladesh-2001
Ø Making general diaries had to pay a bribe of Taka 458 on average.
Ø Submitting FIRs had to pay a bribe of Taka 4000 on average.
Ø Average Taka 18000 had to be incurred as bribe for police action to arrest the accused.
Ø The threat of arrest on false charge had incurred an additional expense on average of Taka 18800 on account of a bribe.
Ø Accused by the police had to pay over Taka 8000 on average as bribe.
Ø To lodge a complaint with the police had to pay nearly Taka 2000 as bribe on average.
Ø The average amount of bribe for obtaining a clearance certificate from the police was Taka 1700.
Ø For getting a reprieve (postpone) from false charges was Taka 12000.
Ø The average amount paid by households as bribe to the police for getting other jobs done was Taka 7000.
According to Transparency International Bangladesh in 2006, a considerable amount of money is paid for informal fees to the police force.
Corruption in Police: Ratio of Service Recipients Forced to Pay Bribe
Household income lost to bribery: Transparency International Bangladesh 2006
Especially, people from low income groups are heavily affected by the practice of having to pay bribes. The following chart shows the relative amount households in Bangladesh have to pay to bribes generally. These can be bribes paid to the police and government enforcement agencies.
According to the Bangladesh Census of 2001, there are 2 crores 53 lakhs 62 thousand 321 households in the country and a national level the police administration elicits a sum of Taka 2275 crores annually through corruption. The corruption data based on the report of TIB (2001) estimates this sum to be Taka 453 crores on the basis of newspaper reports throughout the year.
Protect Corrupt People
Officers-in-charge in police are primarily responsible for the failure in government initiatives to improve law and order in Bangladesh. Any step to improve the law and order will be worthless as long as the officers provide shelter to criminals and allow them to carry on with their activities. The law and order situation will remain unchanged unless honest officers take over from the corrupt ones at the police stations. It is the officers-in-charge who can improve the situation simply by discharging their duties.
Police in Bangladesh are also very active to protect terrorists. If a formal complaint make against the attackers who is terror, for attacking the police office will reluctant to take the case. Terrors do looting, kidnapping, hijacking, teasing and various forms of illegal activities, police and other law enforcing agencies are completely ignoring the fact and continuing to give shelter to the perpetrators , mostly belonging to the ruling party.
For example, Ruhul Amin is a notorious person who violated country’s law and forcefully entered into the office of the newspaper along with a huge gang thus committing various forms of extreme illegal activities because of writing against his illegal activities at March 9, 2009. Ruhul Amin went to the court with 30-35 people, many of whom were carrying weapons, tried to stop the editor of the Weekly Blitz from entering the chamber of the lawyers. The entire court area was virtually cordoned by the armed members of Ruhul Amin’s gang. Police did not do anything.
The police are protecting the big people in Bangladesh not because of their duty, because of their money power. When a big people do any crime, the victim party does not have any help from police generally. Police reluctant take any case against the big people. The powerful person, generally the politician occupies the other person’s lands or arbitrarily torture, rape, murder etc general people or weak people. Police also help don’t help the weak people because police took money from those wealthy person. For example, the son of Basundhara group Ltd chairperson murders the director of the Basundhara group Ltd. The son of Basundhara group Ltd gave huge money as bribe to the police and home minister to release from the murder case.
If the ordinary citizens caught ‘dacoits’ or thieves, they do not too much care about police. They think that those criminals may entice the policemen through bribes and secure their freedom, or they may obtain bail from the court and later escape with much of their booty. And incidentally, on this occasion, despite the hue and cry and the chase organized by people in the neighborhood, police patrols were not in evidence near the scene of the crime.
Drug is the one of the major concern of Bangladesh. Commonly abused are Phensidyl, Tidigesic, Heroine, Ganja, Yaba, Pethidine etc. Bangladesh is a transit country for drugs. Heroin is smuggled from India to Bangladesh through the porous Indo- Bangladesh border. Dhaka airport and the seaport of Chittagong appear to be preferred exit points.
100,000 people, of whom 30 percent are women and children, are involved in the illegal drugs trade with Dhaka being the largest market. Drug addicts spend at least Tk 46 crore on narcotics every day . But a drug addict spends at least Tk 100 every day. Extrapolating from these figures, we can estimate that about one lakh people are involved with drug trade  some 4.6 million (46 lakh) drug addicts in the country.
We can easily understands how dangerous the drug for Bangladesh. Police know everything about which way drugs come, where it is sold, who sold drugs. But police hardly caught culprits, because they have got heavy amount of money from them. Sometimes police caught those drug sellers and takers, but within few days they released for the jail and do those illegal activities again. Those culprits maintain a strong relationship with upper level police officers by paying big amount of money.
Since independence in 1971, the economic development of Bangladesh has been hindered by the addition of newer problems with the existing ones. Form the discussion above we have seen that police department is one of the biggest reason for the huge corruption of Bangladesh. They harass general people in every step of life. Police charge people with accuse to crime. General people have to pay bribe to free themselves from arrest on false charges. To obtain police clearance certificate and submit complaints to police, people has to face corruption. They harass children and women. Not only police harass general people, but also save corrupted people. They protect powerful people, illegal drug seller and other criminals for money. Everywhere in police department is attacked with corruption. But what are the causes of corruption in police administration. TIB made a survey on households (76%) of those who went to the police administration for assistance during 2009. They find that (76%) respondents said lack of accountability, 73% identified discretionary power as the major cause, 54% cited monopoly power, and 33% identified lack of transparency as the major cause. Prominent among other causes cited were influence of powerful people (23%) and the menace of red tape (14%). So the government should take step to reform police force in such way that that problem can be removing or at maintain in a tolerable level. Otherwise people will distrust on police force and don’t go to police, will do by their own. Then the whole law and rule will collapse.
1) New Age
2) Dainik Prothom Alo
3) Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB)
4) Diganta TV
5) The Weekly Blitz
6) Department of Narcotics Control, Bangladesh; World Drug Report
7) Bangladesh News
8) The Bangladesh Observer
9) Constitution Of The People’s Republic Of Bangladesh
 P = Polite.
 New Age, 10/04/2009.
 Dainik Prothom Alo, 12/02/2010.
 Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB)
 Nick Cheesman,“Fighting lawlessness with lawlessness [or] the rise & rise of the Rapid Action Battalion”, 2006.
 The methods start with beating with sticks and other objects on the joints and soles of the feet; then, walking over the body, forcing hot or cold water into the nose (depending on the season), applying chili or itching powders, and Banshdola: rolling and pressing on the body with bamboo; then, hanging upside-down from the ceiling or a tree and beating, inserting sharp objects under fingernails and into other sensitive parts of the body, and hanging a heavy weight from the penis and forcing to stand on a table or chair.
 CHRI 2005 Report: Police Accountability
 First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is a report of information that reaches the police first in point of time and that is why it is called the First Information Report. An FIR is a very important document as it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. It is only after the FIR is registered in the police station that the police take up investigation of the case.
 New Age, 10. 07. 04
 New Age, 10. 07. 04
 The Weekly Blitz, March 9, 2009.
 Dainik Prothom Alo, 20/06/2008.
 Indian Narcotics Control Bureau.
 Department of Narcotics Control, Bangladesh; World Drug Report, 2004 and ARQ 2003.
 A private organization Family Hall International carried out a survey in 2004.
 Bangladesh News, June 26, 2008.
 Editorial, Bangladesh Observer, November 29, 2004.
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