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Dhaka Tribune

Can Highway Police keep up with traffic growth?

The Highway Police is currently performing its duties through 73 police stations and outposts

Update : 09 Jul 2023, 01:39 PM

Despite the growing number of vehicles on the highways, commuters are experiencing hardships due to the insufficient coverage and capacity of the Highway Police to address the demands of the roads.

Approximately 73% of the country's total passengers and 83% of goods are transported through roads and highways. 

However, Highway Police is yet to take on operations on the routes as they are impaired by several challenges, including shortages in manpower and transportation. Currently, regional roads and highways are coordinated by the district police, along with members of the Highway Police

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the operations of the Highway Police has not been fully expanded. However, there are plans to gradually entrust them with complete responsibility when the manpower increases.

An official from the ministry said that wherever the police are deployed, they bear the responsibility of ensuring the security of the area. 

It is crucial for the Highway Police to take effective action in controlling and regulating roads and highways, and the inspector general of police will take effective measures in this regard, the official said.

Current state of Highway Police

The Highway Police is currently performing its duties through 73 police stations and outposts. 

Unfortunately, each outpost is equipped with only one vehicle, making it challenging for over 2,800 policemen to ensure the security of 3,000 kilometers of roads across Bangladesh.

Besides, new units, police stations, and outposts have to be set up to bring the remaining 6,000 kilometers of highways under the purview of the Highway Police. 

A proposal put forth by the Highway Police is currently under consideration by the government.

Bangla Tribune

In this regard, Additional IGP of Highway Police Md Shahabuddin Khan said: “A few police stations and outposts have two patrol cars, but most police stations have one car each. Which is far less than required. Many of the cars are old and often need to be repaired.”

He emphasized that by providing an additional vehicle to each police station and outpost, the operational capacity of the Highway Police would significantly improve.

Sources said the Highway Police is working to enforce the law on the 2,991km highways.

Its efforts are focused on enhancing the quality of passenger services, ensuring the safety of roads and highways, reducing the fatality rate in accidents, and raising awareness among drivers and helpers to prevent accidents. 

Experts' take on the issue

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said: "The issue of increasing the manpower of the Highway Police is in the government's plan. Besides, effective measures are being taken to increase its capacity and the number of police stations and to speed up the activities of the police stations.”

Former minister and transport leader Shahjahan Khan said: "The manpower crisis must be solved to speed up the activities of the Highway Police. Otherwise, the slogan ‘Nirapod Shorok Chai (want safe roads)' will not bring any effective results.”

Masiur Rahman Ranga, president of the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners' Association said: "If a part of the amount of tax paid to Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) is provided to the Highway Police, then it can move towards more effective management of road and highway safety."

Md Sultan, a leader of the Transport Owners' Association, expressed that in the event of any issues or accidents on the highways, both the Highway Police and other police forces are involved in handling the situation. Consequently, individuals are compelled to visit police stations for assistance. 

Dhaka Tribune

Given that the primary purpose of the Highway Police is to ensure highway safety, Sultan demanded that the entire responsibility for the country's highways be entrusted to the Highway Police. 

CCTV installation

According to officials, the highways are currently experiencing higher levels of traffic compared to previous times, resulting in an increased number of accidents.

In an effort to reduce these accidents to zero, a project is underway to install CCTV cameras along a stretch of 250km of road. By implementing this scheme, it will be feasible to promptly respond to incidents such as theft, robbery, and accidents occurring on the highways.

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