The Prime Minister's call to the police while addressing the inauguration of the Police Week-2019 is timely. There is no denying that our police force lacks accountability and transparency. There are numerous cases where innocent people have been implicated in false cases. The injustices faced by Tara Mia (who was accused of attacking the police just before the December 30 polls) and a rape victim (who was framed in a false case of Yaba possession) recently are just two of the many cases of public sufferings at the hands of police.
Thus, while we commend the PM for her straightforward directions to the police force and for raising her concerns about public sufferings at the hands of the force, we also think that only words are not enough to stop this. The government has to take some concrete actions to curb corruption in the police.
Admittedly, most of the members of the police force have been carrying out their responsibilities to maintain law diligently. But to make the force more efficient and pro-people would require a monitoring and accountability body. The present arrangement, being an integral part of the force, may not always be able to function independently. Thus, the need for an independent oversight body.
It is high time that the archaic and colonial Police Act 1861 was replaced with new legislation. The Bangladesh Police Ordinance drafted in 2007 which sought to create an independent National Police Commission to free the force from political influence should be finalised without further delay. The said draft also called for forming an independent Police Complaints Commission to deal with serious complaints against the law enforcers to make them more accountable to the people.
The PM's directive can only be meaningful if the above reforms, especially an independent complaints commission, are implemented at the soonest.