The Bangladesh Police placed six major demands to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday, and she agreed to five of them.
The PM only dismissed the demand for recruitment of more police personnel. Instead, she emphasised the need to enhance service quality and improve professionalism.
At a meeting at the Rajarbagh Police Lines on Sunday, the first day of Police Week-2020, the PM also expressed appreciation of senior police officials for organising raids against drugs and militancy.
Sheikh Hasina advised the police to become a pro-people force, and praised them for holding a corruption-free recruitment effort last year. The prime minister appreciated the last recruitment of 10,000 constables saying, "It was a free and fair recruitment. Even the media could not raise any questions about it."
A number of officials who attended the meeting quoted the prime minister as saying, "The police should become more efficient and professional rather than recruit more members."
'Yes' for pay equals one-month holiday, 'no' for recovery percentage
Apart from their regular pay, the PM agreed to give the police one-month extra pay per year in lieu of a 30-day holiday. They had demanded pay equal to two months (60 days) holidays because government employees get 120 days holidays in a year.
After agreeing to the demands, the prime minister said it will cost the government around Tk1,500 crore more.
In the meantime, the prime minister turned down the force's plea for a 2.5 percent commission on recovery of goods. Sheikh Hasina said that such a recovery commission would be controversial for the force's image.
"It is not necessary to get extra on recovering stolen or smuggled products," she added.
Other government organisations get a percentage of the value of salvaged goods on recovery cases. However, the police do not get such a benefit.
Enhance professionalism, retrieve image
The prime minister used the old proverb "Baghe chule 18 gha, police chule 36", which roughly means that police can inflict more woes than a tiger.
She urged police to shake off their negative colonial image and strive for a pro-people image.
"You may gain a lot of power and wealth, but those are meaningless if the people leave you," she told senior police officials.
"Please discard the negative image of the force. Serve the people, and go to them," the prime minister added.
Almost no new demand this time
A number of police officials told The Business Standard that they had placed a compilation of previous demands that had not been implemented before.
The prime minister expressed annoyance over the issue and ordered the immediate implementation of the logical demands.
Other demands the PM agreed to
The PM agreed to raise the 'Police Trade Allowance' (telephone, bugle, nursing, driving and cleaning bills) from Tk15-30 to Tk150-300 as per the government salary structure of 2015.
However, police had demanded increasing the allowances as per the current 2018 salary structure.
On top of that, police of all ranks will get 30 percent against their basic pay structure for serving at training institutes.
"Often the training facilities are treated as a dumping ground. If police of all ranks do not get any facility, why would they be there?" the PM said.
Apart from this, the PM permitted rations for two members of retired police families. At present, retired police families get a ration for one member only.
She agreed to raise the compensation from Tk5 lakh to Tk8 lakh in case of death during duty. Like other government employees, police will also get Tk1 lakh in case of injury from an accident while on-duty.
Furthermore, the prime minister called for necessary measures to address the police-housing problem. She said that flats at a building that is under-construction by the Public Works Department adjacent to Rajarbagh police headquarters would be given to police officials.