A worrisome piece of news for the common people is that, seven members of the Detective Branch (DB) of police were detained with the ransom money of Tk 17 lakh in Cox’s Bazar on October 24. The seven, who allegedly abducted a local trader, were detained soon after they freed the abductee collecting the ransom money.
Six of them were detained with the ransom money at Teknaf around half an hour after they freed the trader.
The seventh DB men, who tactfully escaped detention, surrendered before the law enforcers on the next day.
Three police officials were sued on October 25 on charge of raping a housewife in Brahmanbaria.The accused are one Inspector, one Sub-inspector, and an Assistant Sub-inspector of Chatalpar Investigation Centre in Nasirnagar upazila. The rape case against the police was filed at the district’s Children and Women Repression Prevention Special Tribunal. Taking cognisance of the case, the Judge ordered the chief judicial magistrate in Brahmanbaria to investigate the incident.
According to a newspaper report, some members of the investigation centre entered the woman’s house at around 8:00pm on October 4 and ransacked it. The male members of that family were not present at that time. As the woman tried to stop the policemen, they threatened her and took her to a boat at a nearby ghat. There, they gagged and gang raped her and then left. Hearing her screams, some locals rescued and took her to hospital. The woman said she filed the case with the court as police did not take the case.
Another newspaper report said that a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) sub-inspector has taken Tk 45 lakh as bribe from the co-owner of a recruiting and travel agency firm in the capital’s Fakirapool area. Following the media report on the allegation, the Police authority suspended SI Susanta Kumar Rahut. About the bribery, victim, a co-owner of Mohammadi Trading International and Shahpur Tour and Travels at G-Net Tower, told the newspaper reporters that SI Susanta along with an informant went to Shahpur Tour and Travels on October 8. The CID official seized around 1,200 passports and detained two staff at the office. The CID sub-inspector demanded Tk one crore to release the passports and the detainees, the businessman alleged. He also alleged that CID men threatened him to implicate in a human trafficking case and do whatever necessary to put him behind bars for life.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has filed a case on October 23 against a former Superintendent of Police (SP) of Faridpur and his wife for illegally amassing more than eight crore taka through abuse of power. These are just a few incidences of crimes committed by the cops and reported in the newspapers in a week which adds to the long list of criminal offences committed by members of the law enforcement agencies.
Although, an unscrupulous section of police are involved in these criminal offences, it involves the reputation of the entire police force.
Amid widespread allegations of highway extortion by an unscrupulous section of police, the High Court (HC) earlier directed the inspector general of police to submit a report in 72 hours on steps they had taken to stop extortion by the police from goods transports. Such stringent step by the HC had come following a report headlined ‘Police extortion adds to goods prices,’ published in a national daily sometime back.
While inaugurating the Police Week 2017 on January 22, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called upon the police to improve their performance to build a safe and peaceful society and said the police have to be associated with democratic values and more friendly towards people. “Bangladesh Police is the icon of peace, security, and discipline. It’s every member has been making persistent endeavour for providing internal security, establishing the rule of law and protecting human rights,” Sheikh Hasina said. Prime Minister also handed over awards in four categories to 132 police personnel, including officers, for their outstanding performance in 2016.
It is not a denying fact that, there are many officials in the police force who have total commitment to law enforcement and make different from other officials in the police force. Their dedication, courage and skills earned high reputation for the entire police force. Many courageous police officials successfully busted dens of militants, arrested suspected terrorists and made a huge recovery of bombs. Nation also feels proud of them.
But the criminal offences committed by an unscrupulous section of police, has greatly tarnished the reputation of the entire police force.
Unfortunately, sometimes there are deliberate attempts to downplay the offences committed by the police and not placed them to face appropriate legal action. When a corrupt police officer manages to escape proper punishment, it inspires others to commit similar crimes. So, the criminal cops of the police force must not be allowed to escape proper punished. Apart from the departmental action like placing them under suspension, the offenders must face the legal action as per the law of the land.
Like a routine job police high-ups pledge on different occasions including police week every year to motivate police to make them friends of the people. But all basic principles and moral values likely to guide the actions of the police seem to have failed to bring slightest change among the members of the law enforcers. People are frightened of the police more than the criminals. Criminals in police uniform are false friends of the people; and false-friend is another name for enemy.
Apart from the fact of serious erosion of police image over the years, a steady recklessness in their professional conduct has only added to our woes. The insurmountable gap between the police and people is growing inevitably, as the police becoming synonymous with crimes and ferocity.
There are a number of problematic issues that need to be resolved with some degree of serious attention. These include, proper training, motivation, discipline and confidence building measures.
The matter that needs a great deal of attention are questions relating to the recruitment, orientation and training of police personnel charged with creating and maintaining a safe and secure environment for society at large. If the government wants to restore public confidence in police, then the first and foremost step should be the imposition exemplary punishment to the offenders in the recent occurrences.
A neutral, honest and efficient police force is essential for maintaining law and order and combating crimes in any country. The role of police force is of vital importance in ensuring internal security, improving law and order, curbing crimes, upholding human rights and establishing rule of law. But the criminality of an unscrupulous section of police in recent days has greatly exercised the mind of the conscious citizens.
The problem with our police is that some bad elements among them have developed an anti-people attitude. This is obviously a damning indictment both on the professional standard and human quality of some members among the police, who have been increasingly proving themselves as a disgrace to the forces that ideally should have set them apart for discipline and service to the people. This issue should be addressed seriously to restore public confidence on police. Finally, it cannot be allowed a few criminals to bringing shame for the entire police force and disturbing the public order.
The writer is a columnist