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The need for police reform

  • Published at 07:08 pm January 9th, 2018
  • Last updated at 12:17 pm January 10th, 2018
The need for police reform
Ordinary citizens need to have faith in their police force, and conversely the police, need to assure us that we can trust them. With all-too-frequent reports of violence against women, minority communities under attack, and numerous unexplained disappearances of prominent citizens, it is clear that people are not feeling safe. That is why Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s urging of the members of the Bangladesh Police to build themselves as a “pro-people force” could not be more timely. With the elections coming up later this year, it is up to the government to ensure that our police force remains an organisation which continues to work for the people, and not for themselves. The current situation calls for vast improvement, and it is hard to think of a more worthy goal for a government seeking to be elected. Rampant corruption among law enforcers remains an issue, while women are afraid to report violence and rape, fearing they will be subjected to harassment all over again, except this time at the hands of the police. All of these contribute to a toxic culture where people are simply not comfortable dealing with those who have taken an oath to serve and protect them. It is a good thing that an IGP complaint cell has been set up -- it would go a long way towards ensuring professional accountability of police personnel. If Bangladesh is serious about meeting its development goals, then it simply cannot ignore the mammoth task at hand that is police reform. There is no progress without protecting our people first.