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Too many lawmen involved in crimes

  • Published at 06:09 pm October 27th, 2017
Too many lawmen involved in crimes
In yet another incident of criminal act by police, seven Detective Branch (DB) policemen were caught red handed for possessing a Tk17 lakh ransom at a check post on Teknaf-Cox’s Bazar Marine Drive on Wednesday. Another member of the DB, however, managed to flee the scene as army personnel started checking the motorised-vehicle they were boarding on with the money. Since then, the incident kept stirring criticism among different quarters against the police department. Inspector General of Police (IGP) AKM Shahidul Hoque told journalists that a case was filed against them, and an investigation into it was already launched. Meanwhile, a suspect in a robbery case accused nine police of Khalishpur police station, including its officer-in-charge, of gouging out his eyes in Khulna early September. The two incidents provides the evidence of police being linked to various crimes, with the media reports and the police department’s estimate showing the upward trend of police crime despite repeated warnings and stricter action in some cases.
Also Read- 7 DB men suspended for kidnapping businessman in Cox’s Bazar
From 2012 to 2017, some 721 criminal cases have been filed against policemen, mostly constable and sub-inspectors. At least 44 police members of different ranks lost their job, with 385 others suspended over the period when the number of cases remained almost the same. In 2016, 128 cases were filed while the figure stood at 129 in 2012. But there trend of low-ranking policemen being sued is changing as more senior officers are facing lawsuits these days than before. For instance, Faridpur’s Superintendent of Police (SP) Subhash Chandra Saha and his wife Rina Chowdhury were accused in graft case. Another statistic from the Police Headquarters shows that the department has taken 67,039 disciplinary actions against its errant members between 2012 and 2015. About 4-7% of these are major punishments, including forced retirement and dismissal. In total, 517 people have been fired and 36 sent to forced retirement in the meantime. Suspension, demotion, salary cuts, reproof notices and transfers were the rest were minor actions. The annual figures show that departmental cases did not decline. The number of punishments were the highest in 2014 at 15,297 and lowest in 2015 at 11,167. In 2016, it jumped up again to 13,503. The police currently have about 180,000 members, which means on any given year, 6-8% of the force are facing some kind of disciplinary action. According to sources, hundreds of complaints are submitted every month in the SP offices and the security cell of Police Headquarters. Interestingly, most of the investigation reports do not see the light of day, leaving the complainants to face police harassment instead. In his response to the seven DB members’ detention, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Friday said: “The force’s image would have been really tainted if the criminals had gotten away after committing the crime or if they were not punished. But this has proved that no one is above the law.” Kamal claimed that there is no possibility of partiality in police’s investigation into the matter as there are higher-ups who will reinvestigate if the findings are found questionable. “At the top there are MPs. Parliamentary committees can also order probes,” he added. Human rights activist Alina Khan on the other hand thinks police’s internal actions are mere eyewash. “When people forget the incident a few days later, the accused police return to business as usual. To stop these incidents, we need exemplary punishment,” she insisted. Jia Rahman, professor of criminology at Dhaka University, said that economic transformation of the society has created many opportunities to engage in crime. “Under these circumstances, if police do not undergo massive reform, people will not get necessary service from them,” he said, advising internal training on behaviour and job responsibility for them. Former IGP Nur Mohammad said some police are committing crimes due to lack of proper intelligence information about recruitment process and proper supervision. “After a fair recruitment, eligible police members must be given promotion, posting and training based on competency, and ineligible ones should be punished for negligence or failure at work,” he suggested. He recommended that the accused police members be sent to jail upon the completion of primary inquiry in a case as a stricter measure from the force.
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