Police will not hesitate to take action whenever political parties hold outdoor programmes without prior permission, warned the newly appointed commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) on Monday.
"We will not allow anything that could harm public security and safety centring the upcoming national elections," Habibur Rahman said after journalists asked him about the BNP's declaration to hold rallies without permission.
"We will take legal action under the DMP Ordinance without any hesitation. Law and order is our main concern," he said during his maiden media briefing as DMP chief at the DMP media centre in the capital.
The commissioner's comments come at a time when the BNP, the major opposition party, is set to announce a slew of fresh programmes.
According to different media reports, the BNP's plans include a grand rally and siege events to oust the Awami League government ahead of the January national elections.
The programme schedule is expected to be announced at the party's Chattogram rally on 5 October.
Earlier in August, the DMP denied the Jamaat-e-Islami permission to hold a rally in the capital's Suhrawardy Udyan.
This came soon after the DMP, in the same month, denied rally permission to the party at another venue.
Asked about US visa restrictions ahead of the national polls and their impact on the force, Habibur Rahman said it is an individual-level system, not an institutional one.
He said the visa restrictions would not have any effect on the police force.
"I do not think the police have anything to worry about. I have not seen any concern in the police force regarding visa policy. It would not have any effect within the DMP as the visa policy is the US' internal matter," he said.
"Elections are forthcoming, and we have seen an earlier abundance of illegal firearms during national polls. So, controlling this situation is our pivotal challenge, centred on elections."
Habibur Rahman said, "The efficient way Dhaka Metropolitan Police is tackling crime—in my opinion, my DMP is very efficient and skilled, and the unit is far better than the other metropolitan police units."
"I do believe that, in comparison with foreign countries, DMP's proficiency and efficiency are higher than theirs," the commissioner added.
He also announced his plan to introduce a new hotline service 'called' message to commissioner' for people if they face any issues in complaining to police stations in the capital.
Journalists asked the DMP commissioner about people's dissatisfaction and harassment they face while seeking help from police stations.
Habibur replied that he will soon introduce a hotline service where people can directly complain to the DMP chief if they face harassment or don't get help from police stations or the Detective Branch of police.
He also stressed beefing up vigilance to prevent criminals from carrying illegal weapons into the capital ahead of the upcoming elections.
The commissioner also said traffic congestion is not the problem of only the traffic police; other agencies are also involved here.
There have been mega infrastructure projects like metro rail and elevated expressway, but the roads have not increased; it's still only 78 square kilometres, he added.
He acknowledged the unique challenges of policing a megacity like Dhaka, where the population density exceeds 73,000 people per square kilometre. Despite these challenges, DMP remains dedicated to providing essential civic services to the city's residents.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police serves security for 2.24 crore people and 306 square kilometres.
"We now have metro rail, elevated expressway and hundreds of gigantic infrastructures in the city. On the contrary, we don't have enough roads to commute. We need around 75 square kilometres of roads; against it, we have only 28 square kilometres," he said.
He said pedestrians and bus owners are mainly to blame for the unbearable traffic congestion in the city.