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Dhaka Tribune

Holding landlords responsible for tenant’s crimes does not provide security

Update : 29 Feb 2016, 06:12 PM

Dhaka Metropolitan Police needs to reconsider its initiative asking landlords in the capital to submit personal information including national ID details and photographs, about themselves and their tenants by March 15.

This move to create a tenant database is overly intrusive and lacks justification in principle. Its sudden imposition of a tight deadline on hundreds of thousands of citizens is not realistic in practice.

Of most concern is the commissioner’s statement that landlords will be considered responsible for crimes taking place in their property if they fail to submit information about their tenants by the due date.

This clearly over-reaches the powers and authority the public vests in the police. It is wholly unreasonable to hold landlords responsible for criminal actions by tenants about which they have no knowledge.

The law already requires citizens to help the police in the conduct of their investigations. Creating a database of tenants will not add anything to the police’s ability to carry out investigations.

Indeed, the task of updating and maintaining such a database, while also ensuring that it is kept secure and only used for legitimate inquiries, will only add to the police’s workload.

The police need to allocate and use resources more carefully. Terrorism should not be used as an excuse to justify the intrusive gathering and holding of data which delivers no practical benefit in stopping crime.  

It is not sensible to impose added burdens upon ordinary law abiding landlords and tenants to disclose and register information, when there is no evidence the exercise will actually help in practice in identifying or apprehending criminals.

This database only risks wasting public resources and increasing public concern about private personal data being misused.

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