Need for Police Reform in Bangladesh


Police are key participants in the creation of safe and stable communities they should not be singularly relied upon to prevent crime. In Bangladesh there is a widely held view that crime prevention should largely be a police responsibility rather than being the collective responsibility of the police, the community and other stakeholders. Greater collaboration on mutually complementary initiatives between all institutions of the justice sector, government, business community and civil society is required to reduce crime and fear of crime. In Bangladesh there are many loopholes in police organization. It needs to be reform. The Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh [GoB] has recognized the importance of improving human security and the need for comprehensive police reform as part of this process. The GoB has made numerous statements about its priority to strengthen the rule of law and improve the state of security in the country.

Research Methodology:

To make any research, methodology is very important, without adopting methods it is difficult to make any research. The out come are result depends on methods of topic. When I took decision to make this research. I observed some methods there are survey method, statistical methods, historical method, case study method, PLA (Participatory Learning Approach), qualities and quantities method. The techniques of date collection followed in research are interviewing, questionnaire, uses of documents, tools, and different types of national and international reports. I also took help from different websites for much information. This study is not basic on, this study is originated from many books, articles which are written by prominent writers and also from information by internet browsing method which has been followed is this study are.

  1. Concentrated study through many books, journals, articles national and internationals,
  2. Collection of study materials with the help of concerning teachers, friends and institutions.
  3. Study and discussion with the concerned teachers.
  4. Collection of respective paper through internet browsing.
  5. Contemplating over concentrated study.
  6. Prepared the dissertation paper.
  7. Planning the whole research paper.

Nature and Scope of the Research:

The main scope of the study is to give a comprehensive idea about police and discuss to add knowledge about reform proposal in police system in Bangladesh the scope of the research to assess the current situation with regards to human security the need for police reform grounded in a participatory consultation process and also to formulate a project support document which considered a range of strategies for maintaining law and order and importuning the effectiveness of Bangladesh police. The initiative was tasted to provide strategic policy guidance for initiating comprehensive police reform and establishing pro-people policing in Bangladesh.

Objective of the Research:

The main object of the study is to give a comprehensive ideal about police reform. The specific objectives of the research were to:

1. To trace out the historical background of the issue.

2. Undertake a comprehensive needs analysis of Bangladesh police.

3. Develop a project support document based on identified, needs to improve the effectiveness of Bangladesh police.

4. To know what type of reform is needed

5. Discuss the basic concept of the police

6. To consider alternative options relating to traditional and modern police strategies for maintaining law and order.

7. Examine best practices for developing more responsive, accountable models of policing.

Limitation of the Research:

The core problem in doing the research is the time factor I was within limited period to complete the research works, which really hinder the job to be perfect need for police reform is very huge thing In Bangladesh. So I will not able to discuss elaborately the whole reform proposal. I could not gather much information to make the topics dearer though I got a lot of articles, papers, books, journals and others I have failed to collect all required information from there in this short period of time. As I am doing such a difficult job for the first time and with immature mind, my incapability of understanding the matter deeply and analyzing it in proper way has also been a limitation of pleas arch paper.

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.

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:


         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.

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.

Bangladesh Police

An evidence of the existence of structured police system is available in incident. Mauryal Empire from Brahmin pandit (scholar) Kantilya’s mistonal edition Artbosastra. But since then no such change occurred in the structure of police system worth mentioning. In 12th Century, when there was the rule of Muslim Sultanate in Bangladesh, also in the subcominent, a slight change in police system was noticed. But it was the Mughal reign when the police system expanded and activated in a large new phase. Though in Mughal reign there was no professional police force in resemblance to British rule, an orderly police administration was present to maintain law and order throughout the country. From the British rule a real and total administrative outline of police system started to build up. Earlier, in Mughal Rule, the criminal system was very expensive and not suitable for colonial control. A revolutionary plan in that testing period of police administration was the police Reform of 1782. Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 (Sepahi Biplob) was a demonstration of the fact that police system was ineffective and useless and police administration was reformed in 1861 based on the Police Report of 1860.

Laws Governing the Bangladesh Police

The Bangladesh Police is mainly governed by the Police Act (1861), the Code of Criminal Procedure (1898), the Police Regulation, Bengal (1943), the Armed Police Battalions Ordinance (1979) and relevant Metropolitan Police Acts.[4]

Police Act, 1861: This Act describes the constitution of the police force; superintendence of the force; appointment, dismissal, and other conditions of service of inferior officers; power of inspector-general to make rules; special police and their powers; and duties of police officers.

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898:

This basic criminal procedural law contains provisions on the constitution of criminal courts and offences; power of courts; aid and information to the magistrates, police, and persons making arrests; arrest, escape, and retaking; prevention of offences such as security for keeping the peace and for good behavior, unlawful assemblies, public nuisances, temporary orders in urgent cases of nuisance, and preventive action of the police; information to the police and their powers to investigate; and proceedings and prosecutions.

Police Regulation of Bengal, 1943:

It is regarded as the bible of all levels of police staff, with 1290 regulations. It incorporated changes in the rules necessitated by the Government of India Act, 1935 and describes the police organization; relations with other departments; direction and control mechanisms of the police; privileges and general instructions; duties lf all ranks of police officers; detailed description of police stations, court police, railway police, criminal investigation department, and special armed force; appointment recruitment, and promotions; compensation and allowances; training and examination; uniform and clothing; punishment and appeals; and housing facilities.

Metropolitan Police Acts:

There are six Ordinances for administering the Metropolitan Police of Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal. These Ordinances were promulgated in 1976, 1978, 1984 1995 and 2006 (Sylhet and Barisal) respectively. All the Ordinances describe the organizational structure, responsibilities, rank structures, appointment transfer, power to formulate regulations, administration of the force, power and duties of the officers, and action taken for security and maintaining law and order in the respective metropolitan cities.

Armed Police Battalions Ordinance, 1979:

In accordance with the provisions of this Ordinance, a force called Armed Police Battalions was formed to perform internal security duties; recover unauthorized arms, ammunitions and explosives; apprehend armed gangs of criminals, and assist other law enforcing agencies.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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  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

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

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 appoints 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 arranging POLICE REFORM PROGRAMME (Newssletter April-June2009 Issue).

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 them

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), south­west (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, lives 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) 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 organizations 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.

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, organization 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

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

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 provides 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 trial admistrative detainees and 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 [13].

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 years. 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.

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 on­going 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.

Bangladesh Police:

Bangladesh Police is a national organization 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.

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.

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 Polic

Problem and issue Analysis of Bangladesh Police :

The following issue offers 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 issues.

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 .

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.

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.

Bangladesh Police; Existing problems and some reform proposals:

In common parlance cops and robbers are a conceptual couple — a cop always to chase this was not the case until relatively recently. Criminology has shed light, for most of it’s 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 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. A should be created where police will serve the purpose of the people. Their prime concercontrol and maintenance of social order.

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

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 .

Fifth, police is always confronted with the problem of inadequate logistic support. On an average police staffs 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 are 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.

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

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.

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

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 recommendation.

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.

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.

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.

Accessibility and Affordability 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.[32]

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.

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.

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.

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 42intervention 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.

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 it.

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.

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.

Identified needs to reform of Bangladesh police

The following sub-sections draw upon the problem and issue analysis to offer a distillation of the core needs of the Bangladesh Police. For the sake of consistency and continuity, the needs are classified in three ways:

First, they have been grouped under one of the 8 core themes

Second, strategic level needs are identified (presented in bold text); and

Third, the strategic needs have been further divided into more tactical needs.

At this juncture no attempt has been made to explain die means by which the needs should be addressed, or the timeframe for doing so.

Needs Relevant to Community Engagement and Crime Prevention Awareness of crime prevention needs to be raised:

Undertake an analysis of the social conditions associated with crime and identify possible interventions. Implement programmers to clarify and heighten public awareness of the roles of various stakeholders in contributing to safer and more stable communities through a process of individual and integrated effort. Provide training to increase me awareness of police of the concepts and methodologies of crime prevention. Establish a Crime Prevention Cell to support local police efforts and to act as a central research, policy and strategy formulation body for Bangladesh Police. A more collaborative and cohesive approach to preventing crime is needed:

Develop a National Crime Prevention Strategy, including the mechanism for more effective multi-sector collaboration.Establish District and Metropolitan Crime Prevention Committees and develop a local crime prevention plans that align with the national strategy.

Barriers to the more effective reporting of crime need to be removed:

Amendment of Section 154 of CrPC and die related regulations of PRB and replace FIR with a streamlined offence and complaint recording system.

Implement procedures mat remove constraints requiring the reporting of crime only at a police station. Implement specific strategies to build community confidence to report crime. Remove the emphasis on crime statistics being the only measure of police station performance.Develop techniques for more accurately assessing actual (including unreported) crime;         Implement victim support and referral systems in police stations.Implement and aggressively market a programme to remove Touts and Mastans from the vicinity of police station.

Improved systems of crime recording are needed:

Design and implement a streamlined offence recording system that allows analysis of

Crime and modus operand! Across Thana boundaries and throughout the country; Provide resources and training to ensure the efficient and uniform application of the new system.

The relationship between the police and the community needs to be improved substantially, Particularly at the Thana level:Establish a programme of external visits by community groups to police stations to

Support better understanding of what police do.Develop and institutionalise contextually relevant community relations programmes.Provide sensitizations and training to police to enable them to deal with the rapid transformation of contemporary society.

Needs Relevant to Confidence. Stability and Equitable Access: Inappropriate influence of police needs to be abolished:

 Develop and openly publish instructions and strictly apply disciplinary provisions to prohibit police officers from acting on the directions of people outside of their lawful command structure.

The public image of police needs to be improved:

 Implement a proactive programme to build a positive image based on a platform of pro-people policing free of partisan political interference;

 Identify and remove external barriers that constrain access to police services as the entry point to the criminal justice system.[42]

The level of victim support provided by Bangladesh Police needs to be improved:

Develop strategic partnerships with victim support groups;

In collaboration with partners, develop and implement training programmes and protocols to provide a seamless link between police and victim support groups; o         Enhance and formalise support for One Stop Crisis Centres in new locations around Bangladesh including the provision of dedicated and trained police resources. Increased awareness and observance of human rights by police is required: o         Integrate human rights training in a contextually relevant form across all police training curricula;

Publish, enforce and measure compliance with a Bangladesh Police code of conduct and statement of expected professional standards;

Provide support for prompt external review of complaints against police.

Procedures for dealing with false complaints and false charges need to be simplified:

Review and amend PRB to simplify the process of dealing with false and suspect

complaints and charges;

Implement rigorous supervisor oversight of all reports.

Needs Relevant to Crime Investigation and Prosecution the efficiency and effectiveness of the investigation process needs to be enhanced:

 Review all investigative practices and amend PRB to permit streamlining of those

Process. Lift restrictions on who can undertake investigations.Introduce formal case management for all investigations.Expand and resource District Detective Branches to support local investigations in

Serious matters. Appoint, train and resource dedicated investigators at Thana level.

Arrange expert level supervision for quality assurance of investigations.

Develop a modular competency based basic investigations training packages for deliveryin the workplace.[

The preservation and collection of physical evidence needs to support investigations more


Develop basic forensic awareness training, including crime scene preservation, using

Modular competency based packages that can be delivered to police and the magistracy;

Develop a short crime scene preservation course and train all Constables in crime scene

Preservation.Establish, resource and support specialist Scene of Crime Officers (SOCO)   in major

centres.Develop procedures and provide equipment and training to facilitate offender fingerprints being taken at every police station.Develop procedures and provide equipment and training to facnilate   offender.Photographs being taken at every police station

Forensic support services need to be improved: Enhance the capacity of the Dhaka Chemical Laboratories, including upgraded Procedures, training and equipmen.Establish, resource and support Police Forensic Offices to provide basic forensic support to police stations in Metropolitan and District Police outside of Dhaka.Develop, resource and deliver advanced forensic training in fingerprints, DNA collection, ballistics, crime scene examination and handwriting analysis to forensic specialists;In conjunction with a suitable strategic partner such as the Department of Health, develop a DNA analysis capability.

More effective and efficient recording of crime and criminal histories is needed:

 Replacement of the FIR and GD with a more streamlined process of offence and

Information recording.Replacement of VCN with a more streamlined system at Thana level and across theCountry. Develop more efficient systems for interaction between Thana and Districts to counterthe effects of criminal mobility.

Design and implement a crime information, intelligence and criminal history database(s) at Police Headquarters and progressively expand to major centers.

To support proactive strategies to tackle crime, better use needs to be made of available

Intelligence:Develop and resource  a central  Criminal  Intelligence Unit and  small  Criminal Intelligence Cells at each enhanced District Detective Office;

Select and deploy selected personnel to Criminal Intelligence Cells and train them in

Intelligence analysis techniques; Provide training and equipment to support basic crime mapping and plotting in all police Stations;Develop proactive strategies to target crime and criminals based on better use of


The capacity of Court Inspectors to be able to prosecute charges in the lower court with greater Professionalism and effectiveness is needed:Review and redevelop the police prosecutions course;Support and resource refresher training for all Court Inspectors;

  Undertake an assessment of the merits of retaining prosecutions within police versus

Devolving the role to the Public Prosecutor; Implement a programme of monthly police, court and prison meetings to identify andResolve cross-boundary problems and court backlogs; Following the review, establish and resource a Police Prosecutions Branch or devolve the role to PP and discontinue police involvement in prosecutions.

Needs Relevant to HRM and Professional Development a total revamp of police recruitment processes is needed:

Review and redevelop transparent, accountable and centrally coordinated recruitment

Practices.Remove all discretionary powers of selection and utilise only published, measurableSelection criteria. Develop a mechanism for external oversight of complaints regarding failure to adhere to Published recruitment criteria.

A mechanism to ensure training keeps a contemporary focus is needed:

Develop and resource a holistic training strategy for Bangladesh Police based on current

And emerging need rather than on historical practice.Undertake a complete training needs analysis.Support and resource the development of curriculum and training materials design, Development and review capacity.

Commence the development of effective strategic partnerships, including linkages to

Tertiary institutions. In a number of areas review and complete re-writing of key police training curricula is needed:Redevelop the Constable, Sub-Inspector and ASP Courses.

 Redevelop the Detective Training Course

Review and priorities the redevelopment of all other training courses. Professional development of a cadre of professional trainers is needed:

Develop and introduce a professional train-the-trainer programme for Bangladesh Police Trainers; Introduce a system of trainer accreditation.

The availability of quality training and training materials is needed outside of the formal training institutions: Support the decentralization of training through enhancement of Metropolitan and Zonal Training Schools  and support for the establishment of District Training Officers.

 Establish formal linkages between all training institutions with regular meetings of training heads to achieve consistency and momentum towards common training objectives for Bangladesh Police. Development of modular, competency-based training packages that can be shared between training institutions.[47]

Pay, conditions and allowances for police officers need to reflect the complexities and challenges of their work:

Review existing pay scales and allowances Review police entitlement to accommodation.

Promotion and career prospects for capable officers need to be increased:

Progressively implement career planning, commencing with all new recruits

Identify Constables who show high potential during the new recruit training course and ‘fast track’ them into meaningful roles in preparation for future promotion on merit.

Review the promotion system and progressively reduce the number of direct entry Sub-Inspectors in favour of internal promotions (5+ years)

 Progressively reduce the number of direct entry Assistant Superintendents of Police in favour of internal promotions (10+ years).

Organisation and rank structures needs to be flattened and more accurately reflect contemporary policing practice:

Undertake an analysis of actual rank and role requirements, identifying and removing

Legislative and regulatory barriers to improvement.

Progressively increase the ratio of Sub-Inspectors to Constables.

Reduce the number of ranks in the hierarchy.

Progressively remove the delineation between armed and unarmed ranks to create one

single rank and title structure for the entire Bangladesh Police.

The number of women in Bangladesh Police needs to be increased:

Development of a strategy to actively increase the number of women police officers in

Bangladesh Police and use them more effectively.

Commence a campaign to actively recruit women for police service.

The effectiveness of women police and their participation in meaningful roles needs to be


Develop an action plan to ensure the progressive deployment of women police officers to every Thana.

Develop a Bangladesh Women Police Officers  network, commencing with a ‘Women in Policing Conference’

Development and introduction of modular, competency-based domestic violence, sexual assault, victim management and interviewing techniques training for all women police and Selected male officers.

The core functions and priorities of Bangladesh Police needs to be clearly established and made widely known:

Identification and publication of core functions.

Revision and widespread distribution of regulations and procedures with regard to

Protocol, protection, security and public order ‘duties’ to reduce resource wastage and external Influence.

Human resources needs to be used with greater efficiency:

Develop a People Strategy Plan based on the vision, core functions and future directions

of the Bangladesh Police

 Develop a resource allocation distribution model for Bangladesh Police and undertake an assessment of the actual distribution profile of police versus the needs profile

Review the rationale, numbers and role of reserve forces in light of clearly identified core functions.

Needs Relevant to General Policing and Public Order:

The primary laws, regulations and procedures relevant to the operation of the Bangladesh Police need to be overhauled:

Establish a working party to manage the process of reviewing, updating and republishing PRB (and other procedures governing police operations) to ensure it meets contemporary policing requirements.

Analysis of criminal legislation, particularly the Criminal Procedure Code and

Submission of recommended amendments to government.

Approaches to public order policing needs to be streamlined:

Review standard operating procedures and provide advanced crowd control training to

selected personnel; Include minimum force, verbal defences, anger management and crowd psychology

Training in Constable and Direct Entry Officer training curricula.

Enhanced capacity to deal with women and young people is needed:

In collaboration with other key stakeholders, develop and resource a Juvenile Justice

Strategy; Formalise arrangements to support One Stop Crisis Centres with adequate permanent,trained staff;Disseminate information internally about the availability of OCC services and encourage police referral to and receipt of complaints from them;

Increase availability of support services for women and young people;

Formalise linkages between District and Metropolitan Detective Branches and OCC

where they occur in the same city.

A clearly articulated plan to address traffic enforcement and road safety is needed:

Develop an integrated traffic management and enforcement strategy between key


 Introduction of road safety education and public awareness campaigns.

Improvements to traffic infrastructure arc needed to enable proper enforcement of traffic law:Improve traffic road marking and traffic signs, particularly in main cities

Establish and proper fit out of metropolitan traffic control rooms.

Enhanced police capacity to enforce traffic law is needed.

Develop and delivery of traffic law enforcement training.Provision of motor cycles and communications equipment to enable greater mobility and effectiveness.

Accurate and timely information needs to be available more easily:

Revise PRB to remove restrictive practices with regard to FIR, VCN and GD;

Confirm statistic data needs and implement a simple and cost effective means of data

gathering and statistical analysis.

Develop a central data warehouse for the storage and analysis of statistical information.

Needs Relevant to Leadership. Management and Administration Leadership and management needs to be improved at all levels:

Develop supervisor and leadership training, using modular competency based packages

that can be delivered to police in the work place as well as formal training institutions.

Ensure contemporary management, supervision and leadership practices are inculcated

into the new training curricula at appropriate levels.Streamline and provide training for a more effective and more regular system of

appraising and correcting performance.

Comply with a formal process of inspection of police stations on a regular basis.

Support and resource the Police Staff College to refine its curricula, training materials

and learning methodologies.The physical management of important documents and records needs to be improved:Develop a formal document management, archiving and disposal policy.

Archive old records no longer being used in police stations to a central location.

Provide secure climate proof document storage cabinets in all police stations.

Review, modernize and re-print outdated forms in Bengali.

The police annual budget needs to be revised:

Undertake an external review of police budget allocation versus actual needs in light of

existing commitments and revised core functions and future directions.

Budget and activity alignment needs to be achieved:

Devolve full authority for expenditure of approved budgets from Finance Ministry to Bangladesh Police;

Develop a strategy for the progressive devolution of full authority from Bangladesh

Police Finance Wing to activity managers.

Management capability needs to be improved:

Develop and implement management training and workplace learning;

 Develop and implement a programmed to support enhanced awareness and capacity for

strategic and unit level planning;

Establish, pilot and implement a formal mentoring strategy throughout the hierarchy.

Needs Relevant to Asset Planning. Acquisition and Management Equipment needs to be upgraded and or replaced:

Investigate alternatives for motor vehicle acquisition, maintenance and replacement on an outsourced basis.

Implement a weapons upgrade programmed that matches the needs of the Bangladesh

Police core functions.

Acquire and distribute light weight ballistic vests on a pro-rata basis.

Acquire, distribute and provide training for non-lethal arms including capsicum spray.

Infrastructure needs to be upgraded and/or replaced:

Undertake immediate assessment of the refurbishment needs of all police stations/offices

Develop a Strategic Asset Management Plan mat identifies priority infrastructure

Development needs in the context of their support for the delivery of effective police services.

Refurbish selected police stations as demonstration sites for ‘model’ policing activities.

Effective use needs to be made of information technology:

Revise   and   update  the  Bangladesh  Police   Information  Management  (computer

Acquisition) Strategy.  Develop   costed   Technology,   Information   and   Applications   Architectures   andImplementation plans.

Design and implement a scalable police wide area network.Develop an electronic mail and intranet capability.Procure and implement personnel, crime, intelligence and criminal history informationdatabase(s).

Communications infrastructure needs to be upgraded:

Develop a Communications Upgrade Strategy for the entire organization;

Undertake a major upgrade of the three Bangladesh Police Radio networks;

Acquire and distribute more mobile and portable radio equipment in accordance with

demonstrated needs.

Needs Relevant to Oversight, Future Directions and Planning Capacity to deal with emerging issues needs to be built:

 Develop capacity to identify and quantify emerging issues, formulate policy and

undertake applied research.Revise the structure, roles and responsibilities of the CID, including the provision of adequate resources and training of personnel to establish a capacity to deal with ‘white collar’, drug trafficking, arson and computer crimes.

Establish and resource a Transnational Crime Unit.

Conduct an international symposium on organised and transnational crime to raise

awareness, establish professional linkages between relevant agencies and improve international cooperation.

Clear performance targets need to be set and monitored:

Articulate and publish the Bangladesh Police mission and core areas of focus.

Establish goals and performance targets for Bangladesh Police.

Develop and implement a performance monitoring and evaluation mechanism.

Develop a mechanism for periodic measurement of police morale.Externally publish police performance reports.Anti-corruption and complaints mechanism need to be made more robust and accessible:Develop, openly publish and aggressively pursue an anti-corruption strategy forBangladesh Police.Develop, publish and provide training on a police code of ethics and post it in every police station and building.

Publish and post anti-corruption and complaint handling procedures in every police

station and building. Provide further resources and training to create a Professional Standards Branch from the existing Security Cell.

Develop a mechanism for external oversight of internal police investigations.

Establish and properly resource a ‘police hotline’ to provide for the anonymous reporting of corrupt and inappropriate behaviour on the part of police officers.

The quality of the relationship between police and the media needs to be improved:

Develop a police media strategy Introduce bi-weekly police media conferences;

Establish, resource and train personnel for a Police Media, Marketing and Public Affairs Branch.

Media access to non-confidential police information must be increased

Media training to be provided to all Officers in Charge of Police Stations, District,

Divisional and Metropolitan Police Senior Officers;

Media studies to be included in all basic training courses for Sub-Inspectors and above;

Intensive practical workshops focussing on electronic and print media to be included as a component of all courses at the Police Staff College.

Bangladesh Police needs to position itself for the future:

 Significantly   strengthen   policy,   planning   and   research   capability   to   improve

Understanding and better inform strategic decision-making across all areas of criminology,

demographics and social change as well as other critical cross-cutting social issues such gender, juveniles, HTW/AIDs, human rights and the environment.

Improve the capacity to build strategic partnerships with other key stakeholders and

institutions nationally and internationally. Consider ways in which non-police specialists  can  be  utilised   in  the  firture (civilianisation, outsourcing, contracting) to improve performance and enable police to focus on core policing responsibilities.

Ensure a capacity for organisational renewal through environmental  scanning, strategic

assessments, applied research and effective use lessons learned. Only in this way will

Bangladesh Police be able to ensure continuing relevance and a capacity to contribute to human security in Bangladesh.

Reform Proposal of Bangladesh Police:

The ultimate objective of police reform in Bangladesh is to shift from a colonial policing system to a democratic structure where the police work primarily for public interest and not the interest of the ruling party or any influential group. The police should uphold a democratic system based on the observance of human rights, facilitate access to justice to all without discrimination, and secure the rule of law based on the norms of accountability, transparency, equality, and community participation. To do this, neutrality and autonomy of the police must be guaranteed. Any reform agenda should therefore protect the police from external undue interventions and give operational autonomy to the officers while ensuring meaningful and strong oversight, accountability, and transparency with its policy directives and strategic goals.

Recommendations on the following areas are made by the different development partners and civil society and other non-governmental organization in different occasion.

1)                  Amendment of laws and regulations

2)                  Institutional administration

3)                  Capacity building

4)                  Infrastructure development

5)                  Improvement of service delivery

6)                  Anticorruption mechanism

7)                  Establishment of community policing.

Amendment of Laws and Regulations:

The Police Regulation, Bengal 1943 was written with a view to fulfill the demands and needs of the British Government.[56] Now that Bangladesh is an independent country, this regulation is no longer relevant nor productive. Moreover, as there was no constitution yet at the time these regulations were formulated, many provisions are not consistent with the spirit of the present Constitution. The immediate modification of these laws and regulations is therefore necessary.

The Special Power Act of 1974 should be repealed as most offences there under are already conversed by the Penal Code and other laws. What needs to be done is a comprehensive review of the Penal Code, the Criminal Code of Procedure, and the Evidence Act to determine their appropriateness, effectiveness, and practicality. Parameters for the exercise of police discretion in effecting arrests and other legal processes should be set to prevent abuse. particular attention should also be given to the situation of female victims and accused. For women and minor girls who are witnesses / victims of abduction, appropriate shelter should be provided pending trial, preferably with their legal guardian, or in a protected shelter maintained by NGOs or through special government arrangements. The practice of putting females in prison on the pretext of ‘safe custody’ should be discontinued. A strategic law cell/commission composed of former judges, lawyers with relevant expertise, former inspector generals of policy, attorney generals, and other experts should be established to review these laws and regulations and propose new or a mandatory legislation where necessary.

Institutional Administration:

Use of the police for political, economic, and personal interests is a practice that must cease altogether. To do this, attitudes of both those in power and the police should be changed. Those in power should realize that the police are not to be used for political and personal ends.

Similarly, the police themselves should also realize that they are servants of the state and the people, not of any ruling party or privileged segment of society. In this regard, grant of full operational independence to the police is crucial.The police must be given sufficient independence in the performance of its duties and functions, free from external pressure or influence.

Capacity Building:

Both long-and short-term measures should be undertaken to increase the number of police personnel. Taking into consideration the poor ratio between the population and the police as well as the economic situation of Bangladesh, a mechanism should be devised to appoint police officers from the community.The number of women police should also be increased to deal with women-related issues. In terms of increasing competence, a new curriculum for police education and training should be developed with a

view to making the Bangladesh Police more capable, service-oriented, people-friendly, and efficient.

Infrastructure Development:

The thana building should be situated on government land. The practice of housing a police station in an improvised or rented accommodation should be avoided. All police stations should have sufficient toilet facilities for the staff, detainees, and visitors. Necessary furniture and fittings, as well as equipment, including land telephone, mobile telephone, wireless sets, computer, printer, fax, internet, and CCTV camera, should be regularly supplied to every police station. There should also be a library containing a collection of relevant reference materials. Vehicles such as jeep, police van, motorcycle, bicycle, and boat should be at the disposal of the police when needed.

Improvement of Service Delivery:

To facilitate dissemination of information, there should be an information board beside the main gate of the police station stating the procedure for filing GDs and FIRs, meeting the arrested persons and others, making complaints against police harassment, and all other services delivered by the police station. Inside the station, a receptionist should be stationed to assist complainants and visitor. The reception should keep a database of relevant and frequently requested information.

It is recommended that police stations have three main sections: (i) administration section, responsible for transport, information technology, accounts, housing, custody, reception, arranging meetings with the arrested persons and the people in safe custody, receiving GDs, FIRs, etc. issuing certificates, maintaining arms, warehouse, etc., (ii)investigation section, responsible for investigating all types of cases and lawsuits in the prescribed time and submitting investigation reports; and (iii) law and order section, responsible for community policing patrol duty, security of important persons, external duty in religious, educational, and social functions, and political gatherings.

Establishment of Community Policing:

Necessary laws should be enacted to institutionalize the community policing system. Budgetary allocation should be made available to facilitate community policing all over the country. At present, the Bangladesh Police is a ‘force,’ not a ‘service’ delivery organization. A radical paradigm shift is imperative to transform the ‘Bangladesh Police Force’ into the ‘Bangladesh Police Service.’ Although an enormous challenge, this is not impossible to achieve if all parties cooperate to undergo and sustain a long-term police reform agenda.

Reform Agenda:

The Bangladesh Police has gone through phases of growth and development. However, the demand for police services has increased at a rate faster than

the growth and expansion of the service delivery capacity of the police. Crime is increasing; the criminal justice system is cracking under heavy workload; society’s expectations from the police are high but the police’s status and resources are poor; forensic science facilities are outdated and inadequate; laws are stacked against the police; public cooperation is invariable missing; and working and living conditions leave a lot to be desired. Corruption, incompetence, and failure to control the law and order situation plague the police force. Above all, there is a culture of political patronage that perpetuates impunity and absence of accountability. Clearly, it is time to transform the Bangladesh Police into a true public servant and elevate the sense of security of the people that is essential for the socioeconomic development of the country. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper formulated and approved by the government has identified key issues that require attention. These include lack of

1)                  a special police force to deal with special crimes, such as heinous crimes, economic crimes, and cyber crimes;

2)                  coordination among law enforcement agencies; and

3)                  a research cell to investigate the nature of changing crime and the appropriate methods for handling them.

Community policing is also weak. Chowkidars (village police) and dafadars (higher ranked village police) are not adequately linked to the thana. Investigation, law and order, and prosecution duties are combined in the same official, which tends to make officials unaccountable and inefficient. A colonial mindset continues to prevail, often resulting I maltreatment of women and children. Routine inspection and supervision have decayed. Prisons are overcrowded, prisoners under trial are not treated separately from convicts, women face great insecurity even in “safe custody,” and a large number of children are in prison. Problems also pervade the judiciary, particularly, the lower judiciary. A critical problem is the slow disposal of cases. Weaknesses in procedural law, prevalence of vested groups, poor training and physical facilities, lack of inspection and supervision, and intrusion of political considerations, all contribute to such undesirable outcomes.

In addition, the police and civil society identified the following key reform areas :

  1. Increase the number of police, especially women police.
  2. Minimize political use of police and external influence on police operations.
  3. Amend obsolete and outdated laws.
  4. Amend laws to make policing people-friendly.
  5. Curb corruption, enhance transparency and accountability.
  6. Increase community involvement to step up crime prevention.
  7. Improve human resources management and development.
  8. Improve investigative and operational capability.
  9. Develop infrastructure.

Recent initiatives for the improvement of Bangladesh Police:

In Bangladesh there is scarcity of resources and facilities required for a modern police force to combat crime. This is one of the reasons for the weak performance of Bangladesh police organization. From the very beginning, this organization has been facing a number of serious problems regarding its essential demands. For the improvement of police department several recommendations were made in different occasions. Very recently some of them were fulfilled.

One of the important tasks performed by the police officer is investigative a case. Investigation requires expenses. Investigating officer has to visit the spot several times, communicate with different persons, take initiatives for the arrest of offenders and spend money for various purposes along with the stationary costs of paper, per and photocopy. But there were no financial allowance for the cost of investigation. For this reason there was no alternative for an investigation officer but to take bribe from the party of a case. To solve this problem government has very recently decided to pay investigating officer the costs of investigation.

Another decision which should be appreciated is the enhancement of monthly allowance for the traffic police. As the number of traffic police is small and they have to do the hard job, this monetary allowance would definitely improve their performance.

There are some other major decisions taken by the government for making police department a better service oriented organization.

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 medieval period. In 1813 a Committee of the British Parliament commented on the police brutality, as police was appointed to save the villagers from the robbers, but police so brutally tortured the villagers what was no less than that of the robbers.[61] 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 started to function under the structure and rules established by the British rulers

In 1948 the East Pakistan police organized a mutiny 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. In 1988 a Police Commission was formed under the leadership of Justice Aminur Rashid, and government partially implemented the recommendations of this Commission. Nine police Commissions were formed to reform the police from 1960 to 1989.

An Independent Anti-Corruption Commission, like ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) of Hong Kong need to be established 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

Establishing a professional police organization, which will effectively control crime and give service to the common people, requires the enactment of a new police Act and forming of a public Safety Commission of a Security Commission. The aim of the Police Act, 1861 is to maintain the status quo. The Act over-emphasized 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 apolitical use, the police of Bangladesh failed to develop professionalism. The present Police Act should be replaced busy a new one, which should determine the responsibility and accountability of police. The Act should establish effective police management and promote professionalism in the department. We may establish a Public Safety Commission or a Security Commission, which should “i) lay down broad guidelines for preventive and service-oriented functions by the police; ii) function as a forum of appeal to dispose representations from officers regarding their being subjected to illegal orders and regarding their promotions; iv) generally review the functioning of police force.”


Police are part and parcel of the criminal justice system. Criminal justice dispensation largely depends on the police, Le. to arrest the accused and produce him before the court, to investigate the matter, to give charge sheet/final report The criminal justice system is followed by the natural justice, which means the accused is presumed to be innocent until his guilt is proved undoubtedly. The accused deserves constitutional protection until his guilt is proved. There is a spate of allegations of violation of fundamental rights of the accused (sometimes general people) in the hand of police. This is happening at least for two reasons, political interference and lack of knowledge of human rights as well as other laws. The police must have the knowledge of the following issues while dealing with an accused.

Constitutional Rights/Fundamental rights

Of the human rights those are guaranteed by the constitution are called constitutional rights or fundamental rights. For example our constitution recognises equality before law as a fundamental right (Article 27), which is also recognised as one of the human rights of a man. Constitutional recognition means mat the state is under constitutional obligation to protect those rights. The fundamental rights are also enforceable by the court. For example, right to security is not incorporated in our constitution as fundamental right Therefore, no one could establish his right to security as fundamental rights through the court of law. The Constitution of People’s Republic of Bangladesh has recognised a number of human rights as fundamental rights (Article 26-44). Among them equality before law, freedom of speech, right to association, right to movement, right to religion, right to treatment according to law are mentionable. It is a unique feature of our constitution mat it has recognised ‘enforcement of fundamental rights’ as one of the fundamental rights {article 44}. That means when one’s fundamental rights are at stake he could take recourse to the court to protect it (Article 102). The state by no means could deprive him to get justice. It is noteworthy that our constitution guarantees only the political rights as fundamental rights. Civil rights are not recognises by our constitution.

For example education is not recognised as the fundamental rights by our constitution though it is the most important civil rights.

While performing the duty police should take special measures that in no way one’s fundamental rights is being violated. “Right to protection of law1 (Article 31) and ‘safeguards as to arrest and detention’ (Article 33) are mostly related to policing. When police arrest a person they must not be oblivious of the fundamental rights of the arrestee i.e. right to be informed his guilt, right to be produced before the court within 24 hours, right to defend himself through consultation with lawyer. On the other hand, when police take the arrested person under their custody they must not treat the arrestee otherwise than law, i.e. they must not torture him; treat him indecently, which undermines his dignity as a human being.

Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code gives a wide authority to the police to arrest any person who the police reasonably believe to be involved in criminal activities. In such a case, the police have to disclose the source, nature of his reasonable belief based on the criminal record. The credible information of the police must not be a vague one rather they must record why they believe so to justify the arrest The general statement mat the arrestee is involved in criminal activities is not acceptable at all (Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) , The belief of a layman without any scrutiny is no more pleasing as reasonable belief. The judgement of this case is certainly a landmark decision in the history of Bangladesh (Dr. Shahdeen Malik termed it as ‘Charter of Freedom in a write up soon after the decision came into being). In this case it was directed mat the arrest and investigation must be conducted within the limitation and safeguards of Article 27, 31, 32, 33 and 35 of the constitution. Police must abide by the guidelines of this case.

It is a common feature that after arresting a person police produces him before the court with a prayer for remand. It is also seen that our magistrates are very impatient to allow then* petition. Police always ask a remand to extract information from the arrestee. But they should understand that this extorted information has no evidentiary value. According to Article 35 (4) no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be witness against himself. Therefore it is so clear that the information extorted by police through interrogation or torture from the accused could not be used against him in trial. So, what is the necessity to take an accused under police remand? On the other hand police could not take a confessional statement of the accused under threat or offering something under section 161 of the O.P.C. Statement to the police is not considerrd, without some exceptions in trial also because they are the interested party of a criminal proceeding. Police have to consider these facts when dealing with an accused person.

The police must take the issues aforementioned into consideration while performing then- duties. Also the concerned authority should take necessary initiative to provide them human rights training. The authority obviously should consider the other necessary matters relating to police, i.e. salary, accommodation, duty hours and other benefits. We wish the police would be friend of the people. However, the onus is on the police hi that case. There i have given some Recommendations:

1. Government’s political commitment is crucial to the proper implementation of the principal objectives of police reform.

2. Police operations should be allowed to function hi an environment free from external interference and influence.

3. Creating new institutions and providing physical facilities alone will not produce desired results, ensuring the quality of police service is also very important. Intensive training should be imparted to the police personnel following recruitment orientation regarding rules and procedures, code of ethics, motivation regarding responsibility and importance of service to the people should be addressed and emphasized during in the training programmed.

4. There is significant public demand for greater Police Accountability. There should be effective monitoring mechanisms in place to make the police service more transparent and accountable.

5. Salaries and remuneration of the police should be raised and these should be competitive with other services.

6. Budget for the police should be increased since a technically efficient and well governed police service is an investment for development and economic growth.

7. The police service should receive appropriate allocations from the development budget. There is widespread support for a significant increase in the number of women police. 9. More women should be inducted in police service, with need-based physical/residential facilities at duty stations.

10. All police actions relating to women victims and suspects should be conducted by women police or at least jointly with their male counterpart.

11. Modem Police should have in their possession modernized equipment for investigation, surveillance and monitoring.

12. Close networks/collaboration between police and NGOs should be established to nurture police victim support units.

13. There is a need for providing further logistic support to the Thanas.

14. Most importantly police should be provided with more transportation facilities to increase its mobility and to ensure timely response.


The Research is strongly of the view that a Programme to Strengthening of Bangladesh Police with a particular focus on police reform is necessary, feasible and realistic. As with any analysis, the needs identified are not exhaustive despite best efforts by the Research. This is a point in time analysis, and other needs will emerge continuously because of the ever changing environment and the impact of globalization. A well designed and implemented Programme, based on identified needs and on-going strategic Research, has the potential to make a meaningful contribution to improving the image, efficiency and effectiveness of the Bangladesh Police towards a more pro-people policing model. However, the fight against crime and disorder can only be won if the police have the confidence of the community and work in partnership with them. Responsibility for preventing and detecting crime and anti-social behaviour, and combating the fear of crime is not the preserve of the police alone. Local authorities, schools, health services, the private security industry, business, voluntary organisations, faith communities and individual citizens and the police all have a role to play hi establishing a civil society and strengthening social cohesion. Appropriate linkages with the broader justice sector will also be required.

Finally, a consensus at the highest levels on the future role and direction of the Bangladesh Police is a pre-requisite for successful and sustainable reform.

police reform