Wednesday, 29 March, 2023


Smart Police, Smart Service

Dr. Kazi S. M. Khasrul Alam Quddusi

Smart Police, Smart Service
Dr. Kazi S. M. Khasrul Alam Quddusi

Very much in line with making Bangladesh ‘Smart Bangladesh’, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has recently vowed to transform Bangladesh's primary law-enforcement agency into a world-class 'Smart Police' force, propelled and reinforced by knowledge, science and technology. On top of that, the prime minister has very rightly asked the police personnel to enhance their services for the people to gain and sustain public trust more convincingly and comprehensively.

The prime minister’s speech embodied definitive instructions to the police force as she duly underscored the need for the force to serve the people keeping the humanitarian aspects in mind with the result that the trust and confidence among the mass people regarding the police force remain unharmed or get better. She added with conviction that police are now serving the people as the force of the people while in the past the people used to live in sheer fear of the police.

In fact, even sight of the uniform of this force remained an alarm bell or matter of anxiety for many people in the past. And, such fears or mindsets die hard. For this, however, only the general people are not to blame. Attitude and behavioural patterns of a section of the force were responsible for this. With the passage of time and with the infiltration of new blood and enlightenment, however, things have changed for the better. The scenario has, however, not become fairly rosy as yet.

The prime minister also reminded them of their duties to serve the people and stand by them as gaining trust of people is essential for any force. In fact, police personnel are in a position to help or even harm the general people. They possess the direct authority to channelize their power in favour of the weak and the oppressed. People in other professions do not have that influence because of the police’s direct and indispensable interactions with the commoners.

The prime minister also urged the law enforcers to 'humanely' serve the people wherein lies the very essence of the speech delivered by the prime minister while addressing the inauguration ceremony of Police Week, 2023. And, adoption of a humane approach signifies the greatness of a force no matter how dynamic or effective that is. If and when the people find a self-disciplined and smart force as their supporter and sympathizer in their hours of vulnerabilities, smart police will justify its existence as a force delivering smart service.

Though the prime minister has praised the force wholeheartedly for their morale booster, tales of lapses or excesses of some police personnel still haunt the headlines. Some of such instances even remain unreported. Sadly, a number of police personnel get engaged in unprofessional activities and inflict pains on ordinary and helpless people. In fact, people with bad grooming and mentality are there in every profession.

The reassuring fact is, however, that the police authorities mete out punishments to wrongdoers in many cases. Hopefully, such preventive and punitive actions would be undertaken more extensively and substantively so that no sense of impunity grows among the erring members of the force. Human minds tend to be corrupt and depraved but punishments work as deterrents. In fact, it applies not only to the police force but to incumbents of all other sectors.

Over and above, there are complaints of political victimizations of people for which our decayed political culture is to blame. Manipulation and manoeuvring of this dedicated force are traditional malpractice in our country that needs to be checked for the sake of the force’s unhindered professionalism. However, the force cannot show leniency to the hardened criminals and to the anti-state elements and have to control them with an iron hand. Under such circumstances, concerned police personnel are expected to use their discretion with precision.

In fact, the cultivation of professionalism in a force can emanate from having objective orientation and by harbouring proper perspectives. Researches are on round the globe to infuse and increase professionalism in the police force. In this regard, “Five I's of Police Professionalism: A Model for Front-line Leadership” can be referred here which was published in Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal Volume way back in 1998.

The above old yet classic model, given by N C Griffin, is called the Five I's of Police Professionalism for front-line leaders and it is a leadership and influence model by which police leaders can measure their own character and development and can influence and lead others effectively. The crucial personal character traits or five I's are integrity, intellect, initiative, industry and impact.

The first ‘I’ stands for integrity which implies that the police leader's integrity must be beyond question as it is a self-induced compliance to moral principles incorporating core personal values such as trustworthiness, courage, honesty, self-discipline and tolerance. The second ‘I’ or intellect implies that law enforcement is as intellectually demanding as other jobs. Thus, police leaders ought to focus on growing intellectual insights in domains such as procedural duties, discretionary authority, and relevant conceptual attitudes. The third ‘I’ or initiative involves doing and showing rather than waiting or watching only, that is, prevention rather than cure. The fourth ‘I’ or industry refers to work habits that focus on results rather than activities, that is, effective output rather than show-off. The fifth ‘I’ or impact implies that the personal quality of positive impact involves a presence of confidence, competence, and a positive attitude. This very quality enables a leader to decisively influence others inside and outside the workplace. This model may not be the only exhaustive model in the field.

However, this Five I's model provides sets of responsibilities for front-line leaders with a method for achieving maximum personal development along with a positive influence on others. Efforts towards achieving a high degree of professionalism are quite evident in our police force. Hopefully, such efforts will reach a pinnacle and progress in this crucial arena would go on unabatedly. The more our police force becomes inclined to professionalism, the more the people would find themselves in a niche in terms of receiving smart and quality service.


The writer is a Professor, Department of Public Administration, University of Chittagong. Email: [email protected]