Political Science

History of Bangladesh Police

History of Bangladesh Police

Definition of police:

Police is a body of persons making up such a department, trained in methods of law enforcement and crime prevention and detection and authorized to maintain the peace, safety and order of the community.

The abbreviations of the term POLICE is:

P= Polite

O= Obedient

L= Loyal

I= Intelligence

C= Courageous

E= Efficient

 “Police” in this sense is much broader and is used to mean a whole system of governing a society by economic, social, political and cultural policy. The police in our contemporary sense are seen as a small part of the whole of domestic government and an important agency of criminal justice system.[2]

 The police is a state agency mainly patrolling public places with a broad mandate of crime control and maintenance of order. Police is assumed to be functional prerequisite of social order, but empirical studies revealed that many societies have existed without a formal police force.

 Police functions generally relate to promoting public welfare by restraining and regulating the use of property and liberty of persons.

Concept of Police

Police are agents or agencies empowered to use force and other forms of coercion and legal means to effect public and social order. The word police come from the Latin politia (“civil administration”). In criminology discussions about police and their functions are significant as it is the primary duty of the police department to prevent crime, arrest criminals and handle them before the conclusion of trial. For police personnel the knowledge of criminology is a must and in almost every state police department has a division of criminology and criminology is a part of their training manual, it is an admitted fact that sincere and honest police force can ensure peaceful society.

Though complete elimination of crime from the society is not possible but it can be controlled and maintained in an acceptable stage. On the other hand, corrupted, unskilled and insincere police personnel facilitate the criminals to perform their activities and make the life of the citizen miserable.


History of Bangladesh Police

The Bangladesh Police is the main law enforcement agency of Bangladesh. It is administered under the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of Bangladesh. It plays a crucial role in maintaining peace and enforcement of law and order within the whole of Bangladesh. Though the police are primarily concerned with the maintenance of law and order and security of persons and property of individuals, it also plays a vital role in the criminal justice system.[5]

Ancient Period

There is a long and very much old history of police. A study of history shows that police is as old as the civilization. In the city state of Rome police became a special institution by about the time of Augustus towards the Middle of the fist century B.C. In case of Bangladesh the history of policing is also very old.

Manushanghita, the hieroglyphics of Emperor Ashoka, and the stories of renowned travelers are the main sources of composing our history. These sources also give clues to compose the fragmented history of Bangladesh Police. In Orthoshastra by Koutilla, nine types of spies are mentioned. During that period policing was confined in the efforts of collecting intelligence in order to curb anti-governmental activities and to maintain law and order in the society. The duties of under cover spies were extended such a way that they used to conduct surveillance over the activities of ministers, civil and military officials. For this all means of temptations and instigations were used. Information about investigating techniques and investigating authorities may be found in Orthoshastra. The procedures of punishing the accused are also found in this book. Hence it maybe assumed that there was one kind of police under the local autonomous system in the rural and urban areas.[6]

Medieval Period

Details of policing activities during the middle age cannot be found as well. However, during the periods of the great sultans, an official holding the position of Muhtasib used to perform the duties of policing. This person happened to be the chief of police and the in charge of public works and the inspector of public ethics simultaneously. In urban areas, Kotwals were responsible for performing police duties. Information regarding police systems during the Mughal period can be found in the book Aain-E-Akbori. The policing system introduced by Shershah Shuri, was further organized during the period of Emperor Akber, the great. The Emperor organized his administrative structure introducing Fouzdari (the principal representative of the Emperor), Mir Adal and Kazi (the head of judicial department) and Kotwal (the chief police official of larger cities). This system was very effective in maintaining the law and order in cities. The Kotwal police system was implemented in Dhaka City. Many district sadar police stations are still called Kotwali police stations. In Mughal period Kotwal emerged as an institution. According to the historians the Kotwal was minor luminary under the Muhtasib.

A Fouzdar was appointed to every administrative unit of the government (district). There were some artillery and cavalry forces under the Fouzdar. Thanadars was appointed dividing the parganas into small localities. There was a disciplined police system during the Mughal period though there was no professional police force like that of the British period. In general, it may be opined that there was a remarkable development in the maintenance of law and order and criminal administration during the reign of the Muslim rulers.[7]

British Period

The establishment of a systematic police force in England was of slow growth and came into effect after its creation abroad. In the early stage of Industrial Revolution when England was facing grave crisis due to socioeconomic transformation the necessity of an effective organised police service was keenly felt Sir Robert Peel, the then Prime Minister introduced a bill in the British Parliament in 1829 which created an organised civil police in the nearby London Metro police. Initially there were some opposition to the existence of this uniform police but the success of the London police in controlling social disorder and crime captured imagination of not only the people of England but also of the whole Europe and America, New York city copied the London model with some modifications when it organised the first Municipal Police Force 1833.[8]

In 1858 full control of the Indian Territory was taken over from the East India Company by the British government. The success of the London police organised under Peels Act of 1829 prompted the British government to reform the police system in the sub-continent on the line of the British constabularies. With this end in view a police commissioner was set up 1840 and on the recommendation of the commission of the Police Act (Act V of 1861) was passed by the British Parliament. Under this Act a police force was created in each province of British India and placed under the control of the provincial government. The administration of the police force of a province was vested upon an officer styled as the Inspector General of Police. The administration of the police in a district was placed under the Superintended of Police. The Act is still in force throughout the Sub-continent and has been regulating the function of police in Bangladesh as well as the other countries of the sub-continent.

Pakistan Period

After partition of the Sub-continent in 1947 police force in Bangladesh was first named as East Bengal Police and then as East Pakistan Police and it continued to function as provincial police force in the same lines as during the British rule.

Role of Police in Liberation War

The most glorious chapter of the history of Bangladesh Police came when Bengal-speaking police officers participated along with the citizens in Bangladesh Liberation War. During the liberation war a large number of police officers from all ranks including a

Deputy Inspector General, some senior Superintendents of Police and many other gave their lives for the cause of liberation. Many police personnel embraced martyrdom on 25 March 1971 fighting bravely with mere .303 rifles against the Pakistani invaders. The resistance by the Bengali members of police at Rajarbag is basically the first chapter of armed struggles during the War of Independence. This armed resistance was a clear indication to all that they had no other alternative but to go for an armed struggle to achieve independence. The name and address of 1262 police officers of different ranks could be listed who sacrificed their lives for the independence of Bangladesh during the liberation war.[9]

Again Mr. Mahbubuddin Ahmed, Bir Bikram, who was the Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Jhenaidah at that time, led the historic guard of honour given to the members of the Mujibnagar Cabinet when the provisional Government of Bangladesh took oath on the auspicious day of April 17, 1971 during liberation war.

Bangladesh Period

After the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country on December 16, 1971 the police force was recognized and it assumed the role of a national police force. Bangladesh Police as like as other police forces over the world is primarily responsible for the preservation of peace and order, protection of life and property of the people and prevention and detection of crime. The traditional role of police in Bangladesh has undergone significant change after the liberation. The role of police is no longer confined to maintenance of law and order and prevention and detection of crime. To meet the need of an independent and developing country the police is now required playing a significant role in developing state and such kinds of activities by providing the basic security required for sustained economic growth of the country. Police also is contributing substantially in this field by keeping under control economic crimes which retread the process of the development. It is further playing a vital role in dealing with insurgency in some areas of the country which impedes development activities and threatens the security of the state.

Bangladesh Police