Community and humanistic policing: Shifting paradigm in Bangladesh Police
Syed Mahfujul Haque Marjan, Faculty Member of Criminology, University of Dhaka : Police, as an organization, is one of the less understood bodies of any society. As a service delivery organization, Bangladesh Police is also criticized. Apart from all the negative notions, Bangladesh Police has made significant success in recent years in introducing community and humanistic policing. Police officers in this country are now trying to make the police more pro-people.
They are going to the people to listen to their voices. At the same time, people are taking part in maintaining law and order of the neighborhood through community policing. Through humanistic policing, police officers try to respond to the causes of oppressed or minority groups in the society. Both trends of policing are aimed at building a new image of the Bangladesh Police.
Bede community (river gypsies) is one of the neglected groups of the society. Bedes have failed to join the mainstream of the society due to lack of jobs and other social problems. Hijras (third gender) are another troubled group of the society. They are not attached to the mainstream of the society. This alienation from the society has forced both the groups to engage in creating nuisance and other law-breaking activities in the society. However, Md. Habibur Rahman, present Additional DIG of Bangladesh Police, who was once the SP of Dhaka, is playing a pioneering role in bringing the oppressed communities into the mainstream of the society. He found Bedes and Hijras to be selling illegal drugs as they mostly remain unemployed.
Mr. Rahman managed jobs for the community. He has taken steps to empower the members of Bede and Hijra community through tailoring shops, beauty parlors, boutique shops, computer training, driving and other jobs. His pioneering work is encouraging other police officers across the country to do something for the betterment of troubled groups of the society.
The law makers and high ups of the police were giving importance to the idea of Community Policing in Bangladesh in 2007. In that time, Police Reform Program was introduced to bring changes in Bangladesh. Community Policing was one of the major parts of the Police Reform Program. , Though,though it was introduced in 1990s. Mymensingh was the first district of Bangladesh where Community Policing was introduced informally to control the deteriorating the law and order situation in the district. The strategy was attached with a Town Defense Party. Community Policing is a proactive policing. It is monitored by the police and the community. The first implementation of formal community Police program by Bangladesh Police was launched in Rajshahi. The program was directed by a constitution and it was formally endorsed by Bangladesh Police.
At present, community policing works in every district and metropolitan areas of the country. There are 50 thousand community policing committees all over the country. There are one million community police members are working for the betterment of the society. Nearly one lakh 90 thousand disputes have been managed successfully through Community Policing till the April, 2017. Every police station arranges at least one open house day to feel the pulse of the community on law enforcement.
The biggest challenge of the police organization in any country is to attach the community to its journey towards a law-abiding society. Police officers are trying individually to bring a positive trend in the organization. Now, it is time to blend these systems to the conventional policing in Bangladesh effectively.