Police high-ups are embarrassed as many officials of the force have now been found involved in serious crimes including smuggling, human trafficking and rape, apart from the most common allegations of bribery and extortion.
Data of the Police Headquarters also shows that the number of complaints against officials ranging from superintendents to constables have been on the rise, despite repeated warnings issued by the home state minister, police chief and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner against such incidents.
Crime and security experts observe that strict monitoring, tough punishment and an end to culture of impunity could have stopped police’s involvement in serious crimes.
Asaduzzaman Miah, the DMP Commissioner, issued a letter last week saying he had evidence that many police officials were engaged in crimes like narcotics trade and kidnapping for money.
He warned of stern action against the errant personnel if they continued such activities.
AKM Shahidul Haque, the inspector general of police, said they had taken “zero tolerance” theory against the criminals. “If anyone is found involved in crimes, the person will not be treated as police official,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
“Legal and departmental action will be taken against them,” he added.
Yesterday, the deputy commissioner (north) of Barisal Metropolitan Police, Jillur Rahman, was suspended for taking bribes from lower-tier officials promising them of giving promotion. Jillur was also attached to the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Office in Sylhet range.
Later in the day, 10 other officers were suspended. The Police Headquarters took the decision as per recommendation of the IGP since the allegation against him was proved. The “discipline and professional standard unit” of the police conducted the departmental inquiry.
Police Headquarters Security Cell data say they got around 6,000 complaints against officials of different tiers from January to May this year. Of those, complaints were filed against 5,566 police officers – 28 were arrested red handed while committing crimes – across the country.
So far, the Police Headquarters have taken action against 787 officials. Of them, 57 were sacked or sent to forced retirement. Probe against the remaining accused is under way.
Of the accused officials, three are police superintendents, seven additional police superintendents, 18 senior assistant police superintendents, 48 inspectors, 812 sub-inspectors, 1,218 assistant sub-inspectors, 1,115 sergeants and trainee sub-inspectors, 431 habildars, and 3,132 are naiks and constables.
The data show that the Police Headquarters took action against 14,500 police officers for involvement in crimes in 2013 while 15,500 in 2014. The number of complaints filed last year was 18,000.
Different local and international rights bodies also blame police and its elite force Rapid Action Battalion for their involvement in extrajudicial killings, forced disappearance and torture in custody.
On June 28, two sub-inspectors of Pallabi police station and 16 others were sued over extortion charges.
On June 21, an assistant sub-inspector of police’s Special Branch, Mahfuzur Rahman, was arrested by the Rapid Action Battalion with 6.80 lakh yaba tablets from Feni. In interrogation, he confessed that 14 other police officials were also involved in the drug business.
Last week, the OC of Cox’s Bazar Detective Branch (DB) of police was closed to the DIG office and 10 others transferred for their suspected involvement in yaba smuggling and human trafficking.
Recently, an intelligence agency recommended action against 24 police officers for their involvement in human trafficking.
A number of police officers were sued in the recent times for realising money from people, mainly businessmen, following abduction. Some of the victims were killed while others released.
Police officers have also been found involved in rape, and harassing rape victims and their families when they wanted to file complaints.
On May 27, the officer-in-charge and a sub-inspector of Rangunia police station were sued for destroying evidence of rape of a minor girl and harassing the victim’s family members.
Few days back, officials at Turag, Gulshan and Bhatara police stations refused to register a rape case when the victim, a Garo woman, and her family members went there. Later the High Court deplored the police’s behaviour and ordered that no victim faces such discrimination and negligence in the future.
On May 11, SI Kalimur Rahman and his cohorts raped a police constable at his house in the capital. He was later arrested from Cox’s Bazar area and eventually lost his job.
In February, then Mohammadpur zone assistant commissioner Rajibul Hasan kidnapped a 17-year-old girl and kept her confined in his house for two months. The victim’s family filed a case with Kafrul police and approached RAB for help.
After the incident came into light in April, Rajibul was withdrawn and attached to Tejgaon deputy commissioner’s office.
Prof Zia Rahman, chairman of criminology department at Dhaka University, thinks the offenders in the police force should be given exemplary punishment.
“As there have been changes in crimes and life style of the people, same happened with police’s activities,” he said.
Former police chief Md Nurul Huda said it is a very sorrowful incident that officials of a disciplinary force are getting involved in crimes.
“The senior officials should intensify supervision to bring down the number of crimes committed by the police,” he said adding that the departmental punishment should be increased.
When contacted, State Minister of Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said no one would be spared if they are found involved in wrongdoings. “We will take action against those responsible applying the existing laws of the country.”