The personal information of tenants and house owners that Dhaka Metropolitan Police has been collecting on paper is being stored at police stations, while the work to set up a central database, as announced earlier, has yet to begin.
On February 29, the DMP announced that it has been collecting “identification information” on landlords and tenants as part of an effort to create a central database of city dwellers and their service staff.
The DMP asked city residents to provide the information by March 15, causing concerns among citizens that their personal information may be misused.
Contacted on Saturday, DMP Joint Commissioner Krishna Pada Roy said they will not initiate the digitisation anytime soon. They, however, were in talks with software developers.
Digitisation of data is the first step to create a database.
The joint commissioner added they may extend the deadline for collecting information. “We will see the response of citizens after the end of the March 15 deadline,” he told The Daily Star over the phone.
The official also said forms filled out by tenants and house owners will be kept at the police station concerned and the officer-in-charge will be the custodian of those.
A number of police officials confirmed that they were collecting information of tenants through house owners and using beat police.
Asked about the digitisation, the officials said they will not start the task until they receive directives from the DMP headquarters.
About the collection of identification information, the officials said they have been contacting house owners and distributing the forms. A small number of tenants came to police stations and filled out forms.
Helal Uddin, officer-in-charge (investigation) of Dhanmondi Police Station, said once they complete the information collection, they will arrange the forms according to road and holding numbers to learn who live in which area.
“At present we are collecting forms filled out by tenants and house owners and storing those at the police station,” he added.
Scrutinising the tenant's form, it was found that it does not ask for information about family members or the names of the spouse, mother and offspring of a tenant. Police officials said they provided only one form to a tenant's family, to the person who rented the house or flat.
Mohammad Anwar Hossain, officer-in-charge of Shah Ali Police Station, said they were collecting information following the DMP commissioner's directive.
DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah at a press briefing on February 29 asked tenants and house owners to provide their “identification information” to the police station concerned by March 15.
“It is part of an effort to create a central database of city dwellers and their service staff and the move is intended to curb crime and create a sustainable security measure”, he said.
But many view the police move as unnecessary and time-consuming because basic information of people were already in the National Identity (NID) card database.