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The formal and organized policing with varieties of activities as of today has come to this stage through lot of evolutions and developments across the long time. The policing, indeed, started from the very beginning of the settlement of the ancient nomads and living in an organized social texture that originated from the day they learnt to produce their food through agriculture, animal husbandry and poultry. When the nomads started living in society, the necessity of keeping peace and order became inevitable. Though the present structure of policing in Bangladesh and India bears much of the British heritage, it has long history which started in the ancient period and ran through the middle age to the British and finally to the present time, having a lot of changes and developments.

Ancient Period

Bangladesh Police has an ancient history and heritage. The history of Bangladesh Police may be found in the components of the history of the ancient period. The civilization of Bangladesh is older than that of the west. Bramhalipi was found at Mahastangar much earlier than the birth of Jesus Christ. Manushanghita, the hieroglyphics of Emperor Ashoka, and the stories of renowned travelers are the main sources of composing our history. These sources also give clues to compose the fragmented history of Bangladesh Police. In Orthoshastra by Koutilla, nine types of spies are mentioned. During that period policing was confined in the efforts of collecting intelligence in order to curb anti-governmental activities and to maintain law and order in the society. The duties of under cover spies were extended such a way that they used to conduct surveillance over the activities of ministers, civil and military officials. All means of temptations and instigations were used; though Koutilla thought that the king should n’t have made the queen an object of character test of his councilors. Information about investigating techniques and investigating authorities may be found in Orthoshastra. The procedures of punishing the accused are also found in this book. It is mentioned in Horshocharito,written by Huen Shang about thousand years later than the time of Orhoshastra, that crimes of heinous nature were very rare in those days. However, highways and river routes were not very safe in those days. The author himself had been a victim of robbery on several occasions.

Hence it maybe assumed that there was one kind of police under the local autonomous system in the rural and urban areas. Two designations namely- Sthanik and Nagorik were there to conduct trials, to solve disputes of minor nature, to sanction monetary punishments and to impose social regulations and restrictions. In remote rural areas, heads of villages were responsible for maintaining law and order and for collecting information regarding the movements and activities of strangers. In the ancient period there was actually no organized and independent policing system in our country. Some of the activities of police were carried out by few assigned personnel.

Medieval Period

Details of policing activities during the middle age cannot be found as well. However, during the periods of the great sultans, an official holding the position of Muhtasib used to perform the duties of policing. This person happened to be the chief of police and the in charge of public works and the inspector of public ethics simultaneously. In urban areas, Kotwals were responsible for performing police duties. Information regarding police systems during the Mughal period can be found in the book Aain-E-Akbori. The policing system introduced by Shershah Shuri, was further organized during the period of Emperor Akber, the great. The Emperor organized his administrative structure introducing Fouzdari (the principal representative of the Emperor), Mir Adal and Kazi (the head of judicial department) and Kotwal (the chief police official of larger cities). This system was very effective in maintaining the law and order in cities. The Kotwal police system was implemented in Dhaka City. Many district sadar police stations are still called Kotwali police stations. In Mughal period Kotwal emerged as an institution. According to the historians the Kotwal was minor luminary under the Muhtasib. The wide powers of the latter and the nature of his duties required him to keep his eyes and ears always open. He used spies and the regular police for this purpose. The routine duty of the police was to patrol throughout the day and night to guard vantage points. Leading men were appointed wardens in every quarter of the city; and thus public co-operation was enlisted. The Kotwal maintained a register of inhabitants within his limits, noting down their address and his instructions, so that the particulars of the people without jobs and those living on other people's stupidity or gullibility came to his notice without any delay. It was therefore, easy for him to note the arrival and departure of strangers and keep track of them. He was also a committing magistrate. The force under him was entirely civil in character."
A Fouzdar was appointed to every administrative unit of the government (district). There were some artillery and cavalry forces under the Fouzdar. Thanadars was appointed dividing the parganas into small localities. There was a disciplined police system during the Mughal period though there was no professional police force like that of the British period. In general, it may be opined that there was a remarkable development in the maintenance of law and order and criminal administration during the reign of the Muslim rulers. "To maintain law and order and to suppress criminals in a vast empire with medieval means of communication and transport was a Herculean task. To achieve that goal, the means adopted by the Muslim Rulers were - benevolence, justice, personal supervision of criminal administration, speedy remedy, emphasis on prevention and punishments - drastic enough to cause awe and sustain public confidence." (Quoted in Our Police Heritage, by N.A. Razvi, Lahore 161, Page-20).

British Period

The police system inherited by the jamindars continued during the initial period of the British rule. In 1765 the standards of the barniks turned into the standards of the kings. The British Raj had taken initiative to reform the police administration in order to realize their objectives of increasing revenue collection. There had hardly been any changes in the police system before the event of turning the supervisors into collectors in 1770. As per the Regulation of 15th August of 1772, two types of courts namely- Civil Court and Criminal Court were established. The Collectors used to supervise the proceedings of Civil Courts. As the President of the Council, Warren Hastings appointed fourteen Fouzdars in Bengal for the first time. Mohammed Reza Khan, who used to reside in Murshidabad, was appointed as Nayeb Suba and Nayeb Nazim in order to conduct the criminal court and to run administration on 15 October 1775.

On 7 December 1792 Lord Cornowalice imposed the Police Regulations in Bangla, Bihar and Urissha collectorate areas. As a result, the era of keeping police forces by the Jamindars came to an end. The entire country was divided into several police areas and one daroga was appointed for each area under the supervision of District Magistrate. Each district was divided into several police areas, each comprising of 400 square miles, and one daroga was in charge of each police area. Darogas could not be removed without the approval of the government. Ten percent commission on the value of recovered stolen property and ten taka for arresting dacoits used to be awarded. This Regulation re-introduced as Regulation XXII of 1793. This police system introduced by Cornowalice was well-known as thanadari system and this system marked the beginning of the hierarchy in the police department. However, Lord Moira remarked about this system as follows "This police system was introduced not so much for the protection of the people or prevention of crime, but was devised exclusively for strengthening the arms of the Magistrate and exercising an efficient control over the police of the interior."

According to Regulation X of 1808, the officers of the rank of the Superintendent of Police was given the responsibility of Dhaka and other cities. This post was abolished in 1829 and the responsibilities of the Superintendent of Police were handed over to the Commissioner of Revenue and Circuit. In 1837 the former post was re-introduced and later in 1854 the same post was again abolished by Dalhoushi. However, in 1861 the post of the Superintendent of Police was re-established through The Police Act, 1861 and it was given enhanced status and authority.

Acts and regulations regarding police administration were brought under single umbrella by implementing Regulation XX of 1817 and The Police Manual in Bengal was introduced for the first time. The duties of all officials from the rank of Sub- Inspector to above were stated in 34 sections. In 1838 a committee headed by Mr. Bard was formed. The Bard Committee recommended strengthening chaukidari system and to enhance the pay of Sub-Inspectors and also to provide the latter enough job security. One of the members of the Committee named Mr. Haliday recommended an overall reform of the police appointing a Superintendent General in the province, 23 Superintendents in the districts, 32 Assistant Superintendents, 888 Sub-Inspectors, 8880 Jamadars and 66600 Barkondazs. This reform, however, could not bring the desired result.

The effort of finding a solution based on the colonial concepts, to enhance law and order situation finds headway all on a sudden. Sir Charles Napier occupied Sindh for East India Company. There was neither any village police nor revenue management system in Sindh. As a result there was a scope of introducing a new administrative system in Sindh. He wanted to establish a police system like the Irish Constabulary and to man it by his own officers. However, it could be mentioned that the philosophy of the Irish Constabulary introduced by Sir Robert Peel, was of different nature. All functions of the Irish Constabulary used to be run as per the directives of the Inspector General. However, unlike the British Chief Constable he did n’t have the authority over his own force. The former had different relationships with the appointing authority and with other components of the government. The British Chief Constable was not accountable to any elected person or authority or to the state secretary or to bar council or to any watch committee.Only the judicial department had limited control over him. This is why it is said "....... that in operational matters a Chief Constable is answerable to God, his Queen, his conscience, and to no one else." (E. St. Johonston, One Policeman's Story,

Page-153). While differentiating between the two police forces of two countries, John Tobais remarked- "English policemen were, from the earliest days of the Metropolitan Police, thought of their force as separate from the rest of the apparatus of the state, and would have hotly denied any responsibility to the government; an English policeman today will still distinguish between the government and the law, and will declare that he obeys the latter and not the former. To an Irish policeman these distinctions did not exit. His force was part of the apparatus of the state, and he was not really in any different position from any other public servant."

Royal Irish Constabulary used to work as a weapon of the directives of the politicians though it was a part of the administration. With the patronization of the Under Secretary Tomas Durumond, this force became the most powerful police in entire Europe. It is said- "It became under his hands an almost perfect machine, which, like a delicate musical instrument, responded at once from the remotest part of Ireland, to his touch in Dublin Castle." Historian Charlok Zefris truly stated that a government was required to have an organized force to impose its own law and regulations in a different country. It would not have been possible to establish its rule and maintain law and order without having such a force.

It was inevitable to reform the police after the great revolution of 1857. In August 1860 a police commission was formed after the great revolution with a view to tackling temporary armed units, addressing ever increasing financial liabilities, improving the image of police to the public, curbing and preventing crime and enhancing the quality of investigation. Lord Canning appointed H M Court as the Chairman of this Commission directing the latter to submit recommendations to form a complete and financially viable police force. The report of the Commission had been approved with few changes and was passed as The Police Act 1861 (Act no. V of 1861).

This Act was immediately implemented in Bengal, Bihar and Urrisshah. This Act was implemented phase by phase in other parts of the country except Kolkata, Mumbai, Madras and Sindh. The Police Act, 1861 enabled to form a well-organized and well-structured police force. This Act passed the challenges of time and provided a strong foundation to the policing activities in this country. The Police Act, 1861 is considered a milestone in the history of police in the subcontinent. Some of the main features of this Act are as follows-

1. To organize the force into district, circle and police station levels. To appoint an officer of the rank of Superintendent to take responsibility of a district.
2. The practical activities of the police force lacked independence and originality though it had to accept all responsibilities regarding the criminal administration.
3. This force did not have any objective, mission or vision.
4. The force had been divided into armed and unarmed branches.
5. The force had actually been organized for rural areas.
6. This Act enabled the Inspector General to formulate regulations with the approval of the government.
7. Emphasis was given to maintain status-que but nothing was included to enhance professional efficiency.
8. A Special Armed Force was created to tackle emergency situation and to maintain law and order.
9. Provision was kept to appoint European citizens to higher ranks and to appoint local citizens to provincial cadres.
10. Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors were brought under higher sub-ordinate service while Head Constables and Constables were brought under lower sub-ordinate service. Although in each police station one Head Constable had been appointed to maintain files and records and another had been appointed to assist the Sub-Inspector in general administrative works. They were not given the authority to investigate cases by any means.
11. Constables were given the responsibilities of escort, patrol and guard duties.
12. Importance was given on training. According to the recommendation of the Commission, a Police Training College for officers was established. As per the recommendation of the Commission of 1902, a training college had been founded at Mount Abu, India. Provincial cadre DSPs and Indian Police Cadre officers used to be trained in this college. In 1903 two training schools were established in Rajshahi and at Mill Barrack in Dhaka. Bengali cadets and constables had been trained in these two colleges till 1912. Police Academy, Sardah, Rajshahi district was the only higher-level training institution in Bangladesh. The first principal of this institution was Major H. Chamney (1912-1919).

Fresher Commission (1902-1903) elaborately described police-magistracy relationship. The Commission remarked on the failure of The Police Act, 1861 and on the dual control over police, "It will be a sufficient safeguard of the interests which are committed to his (District Magistrate) charge if he is empowered to direct the superintendent to make an inquiry into the conduct of any subordinate police officer....... To go further than that will be to weaken the authority of the superintendent and to lessen his sense of responsibility. There is no necessity for the dual control and the undue interference of the District Magistrate. Besides being unsound in principle, this has led to practical elimination of the Deputy Inspector General and the reduction of his position to that of an inspecting and reporting office, which has greatly impaired his usefulness” (para 115-124).

In 1902 another committee was formed by Lord Carzon. According to the recommendations of this Committee, the colonial police was further organized. The main recommendations were as follows-

1. Appointing a Deputy Inspector General as the administrative head, a department of criminal investigation was formed in each Province. A special branch was also opened under his control in order to collect intelligence regarding crime and political matters.
2. Each Province was divided in to several ranges for administrative benefits and a Deputy Inspector General was given the charge of each range.
3. A position of Deputy Superintendent of Police to assist the Superintendent was created.
4. In some Provinces independent railway police forces were created and the charges of these ranges were given to officers of the rank of Deputy Inspector General.
5. Each district was divided into several circles. The area of each circle was 150 square miles and a Sub-Inspector was to be in charge of each circle. As a result, a cadre of Sub-Inspectors was created for the first time in the country and this brought the end of darogas, thanadars and kotwals.
6. Salaries and other benefits of all members of the police from the ranks of constables to IGP were enhanced. At the same time, recruitment rules were created and standards of rules were formulated.
7. Departmental and judicial punitive measures were introduced for police officers.
8. Police was organized as force rather than a service organization.

Arrangements were made to bring the police department under the control of Inspector General. He was the chief inspector and ultimate controlling authority of the police department. Thus the executive authorities of Divisional Commissioners were curtailed. To assist the Inspector General, the post of Deputy Inspector General had been created. At district level a Superintendent was responsible for the internal financial matters, proper management and efficiency matters of the police force. The Superintendent would work under the control of the IGP.

Sub-ordinate force was created comprising of Inspectors, Head Constables, Sergeants and Constables. Head Constables would command police stations and several police stations were under the control of an Inspector. Village chaukidars were designed to assist the police department at the grass root level. According to the recommendations of the Committee all officers would be Europeans. It was clearly stated that Divisional Commissioners would not have responsibilities regarding police matters. Any Magistrate below the designation of District Magistrate would not interfere into the affairs of police. However, District Magistrate had been given authority over the district police since he was responsible for the overall affairs of the district including law and order situation.

As a result of India Rule Act of 1919 and 1935, reforms in administrative management of the country became inevitable. In 1937 Blandy Gordon Committee submitted some recommendations and some reforms initiatives were taken though much could not be done due to the World War 11.

Pre-Liberation Period (1947 to 1971)

After the emergence of Pakistan in 1947, the Police force of this country was named, at first, as East Bengal Police and later as East Pakistan Police. In East Pakistan, this police force started working as provincial police force. In this period East Pakistan police force experienced various organizational, financial and other problems. Reforms in the organizational structure became essential. In 1953 Shahabuddin Report and in 1956 Hatch Burnwell report recommended enhancement of the organizational structures of Dhaka Police and Narayangonj Police. These reports also recommended increasing the number of police forces of Dhaka and Narayangonj districts. However, no constructive efforts were taken of the overall development of the police force. In 1960-1961 a Police Commission headed by Justice B.G. Constantine and in 1969 another Police Commission headed by Major General A.O. Mitha had been formed. However, no recommendations submitted by these two committees were implemented.

The then DIG of Dhaka Range became the IGP of British India. The first Bengali IGP was Mr. Zakir Hossain. However, the police force of Pakistan continued the system of British period. Police were compelled to carry out unpopular orders. The act of shooting on the participants of language movement demonstration in 1952 was a perfect example of colonial rule and suppression. The philosophy of police of the British regime had never been complementary to democratic values and political development - "The philosophy which we have inherited from the British rule is a peculiar blend of colonial practices and magnanimous heritage of the British regime. It involves subordination to the rule of law and popular accountability, on the one hand, and passive relations between police and public except in times of emergency, both personal and public, on the other hand." (Police and Political Development in India, D.H. Bailey). Although Police is considered the main driving force of law, it is never allowed to play the central role of traditional criminal justice procedure.

The basic truth is that police is made to revolve around the principles of imperial power in the sub-continent. There were a lot of changes in police structure but no qualitative changes in the function of police - "Indian police history can be seen as the expansion and contraction of an imperial power-always set upon an impermeable stratum of village institutions. Structure came and went, but there was no qualitative evolution from one imperial high-point to another. In terms of ensuring the security of life and property, the imperial agents of law and order played the more important role. Village policing was essentially a self-regulatory mechanism closely tied to the internal power structure of village society." (Police and Political Development in India, D.H. Bailey). Therefore, this fact has to be considered while explaining the relationship between police and public in Bangladesh. There had not been any changes of this philosophy during the Pakistan Period.

Post Independence Period (1971 to the date)

The most glorious chapter of the history of Bangladesh Police is that Bangla speaking members of our police participated along with the citizens in our Independence War. Many of the members of our police became martyrs during this War of Liberation. Many police personnel embraced martyrdom on 25 March 1971 fighting bravely with mere .303 rifles against the Pakistani invaders. The resistance by the Bengali members of police at Rajarbag is basically the first chapter of armed struggles during our War of Independence. This armed resistance was a clear indication to all that they had no other alternative but to go for an armed struggle to achieve independence. Few of the police personnel were assigned to maintain law and order right after achieving the Independence. In 1972 the number of police was increased by recruiting officers and staff of different ranks. Dhaka Metropolitan Police and Armed Police Battalion were raised in 1976. In 1977 a Committee was formed on 'police training' headed by Retired IGP M.A. Kabir. However, the recommendations of the Committee were not implemented. Twelve women police were recruited in the Special Branch for the first time in 1974. Women police were recruited for Dhaka Metropolitan Police in 1978. Police had extensively been reformed in the early 1980s according to the recommendations of Enam Committee and by the Administrative Reforms of 1984. Bangladesh was divided into 64 districts. The positions of the Circle Inspector and the Officer-in-Charge were enhanced to ASP and Inspector respectively. The number of police was also increased. In 1986 a Committee was formed headed by Additional IGP Toieb Uddin Ahmed. The number of police force was increased and the logistic supports for police were enhanced as per the recommendations of this Committee. In 1988 another committee was formed headed by Justice Aminul Islam. According to the recommendations of this Committee the post of Additional IGP was created and the number of different police units like police stations, investigation centers and the number of police force were increased. Recently (in 2004) Rapid Action Battalions have been raised comprising the members of Armed Forces, Police, BDR and Ansars. The dresses of police have been changed according to The Dress Rules, 2004. With this the century-old emblem of police came to an end. At present the number of police force in Bangladesh is around 1,17,000 (June 2006).

The British colonial heritage is still very often reflected in the administrative structures, behaviours, laws and regulations of the police forces of Bangladesh. Trace of this inherited colonial heritage is also to be found in the criminal justice systems of our country. The Police Act,1861 and the revised The Police Act , 1902-1903 are effective till the date. The non-military nature of this Act and the accountability of police to civil administration have not been changed. The history and heritage of Bangladesh Police is marked by the blend of the traits of colonial- imperial rule and the system of internal security of a feudal society. A policeman of an independent country should be a craftsman in uniform who will be a social regulator directed by the laws of the country and a custodian of social discipline. It is the expectations of all that the hopes and inspirations of the population should be reflected in the activities of police.

Latest page update: made by BANGLADESH , Nov 19 2008, 8:10 PM EST (about this update About This Update BANGLADESH Edited by BANGLADESH

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Anonymous POOR IMAGE EVERYWEHER 0 Mar 4 2011, 5:39 PM EST by Anonymous
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police everywhere have same or even worse reputation.
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Anonymous Garo police officer 0 Mar 4 2011, 5:36 PM EST by Anonymous
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Any garo police officer in the northern territory of Bangladesh.
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Anonymous Bangladesh Police Is Not Good. 0 Nov 19 2008, 8:17 PM EST by Anonymous
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Bangladesh Police Is Big CRIMINAL In Bangladesh.
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