The evident mount of crimes involving police personnel, who are supposed to be defenders, in recent times across the country, is indeed a matter of concern. According to recent statistics, at least 76 members of the force, which included constables and sub-inspectors, were terminated for their involvement in crimes in 2015, while 9,958 more were punished for negligence, indiscipline, and gross misconduct. Moreover, some police personnel were arrested on charges of extortion, drug smuggling, rape and human trafficking etc over the year. Just recently, two sub-inspectors in the capital Dhaka have been suspended because of their alleged involvement in two separate incidents of torture on a Bangladesh Bank officer and a Dhaka South City Corporation officer. What is more worrisome is that the inspector general of police appears hell-bent on glossing over the problem as he has sought to describe the criminal incidents involving police as mere stray incidents. There are reasons to believe that it is mainly such an attitude for which police high-ups failed to take, in most cases, any deterrent actions against the errant police personnel until date emboldening the force's members to increasingly involve in crimes. One can also blame the reported rampant politicisation of the force on partisan line for the incumbents' partisan interests ever since they assumed power in 2009 for the situation.
Allegations, meanwhile, are also rife that police officials usually have to pay hefty bribe for posting in the capital and other cities, something that ends up indulging them in engaging in crimes. The increasing tendency of police personnel to engage in crimes takes place at a time when the key crime busting unit continues to fail to deliver in containing ordinary crimes. Overall, the government immediately needs to streamline the police, not to mention making a course correction in conducting the force. It needs to realise that any further delay in this regard may lead to a situation which will be hard to cure. After all, it pledged in its 2008 election manifesto to establish the rule of law, something crucial for democracy which is anything but possible in the existing situation. Above all, conscious sections of society need to raise sustained voice against the menace.
Md. Golam Mortaza
Department of Law, Rajshahi University