Senior officials of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) have been instructed to visit police stations under their jurisdiction and do the work of officers-in-charge at least two or three hours a week.
DMP Commissioner Mohammad Shafiqul Islam issued an office order to this effect recently.
All zonal assistant commissioners (AC) and additional deputy commissioners (ADC) of several crime zones will have to play the role as per the directive.
The decision was made in the light of various allegations brought against the police.
A letter from the DMP Headquarters mentions that even though the police are bound to serve the people, a large number of innocent and helpless people do not get proper service at police stations.
Reluctance in filing complaints over criminal offences, unwanted delay in filing cases, harassing and taking bribes from victims and their families are among the major allegations that have been made against the police, according to the letter.
Police officials have already welcomed this move by the DMP commissioner.
Talking to this correspondent, several DMP ACs and ADCs said that some of them have already started visiting police stations.
Abdullahil Kafi, ADC of Dhanmondi Zone, said he recently visited the Hazaribagh police station and heard from service seekers.
"Common people told me they are happy with this decision," he added.
"We are very inspired with the decision as it will help us give better service. I have visited two of my police stations and listened to different problems of people," he added.
Earlier, on September 15, DMP Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam said he is ready to do the job of an OC to ensure hassle-free service at police stations.
If people do not get expected services at any police station in the metropolitan area, senior officers will be sent there once a week.
Visiting police stations once a week won't be enough: Experts
Experts and former senior police officials think that the decision will not bring any notable change in station-based policing.
They say that high officials should take stern action against corruption and irregularities if they want to create a people-friendly environment at police stations.
AKM Shahidul Haque, a former inspector general of police, told The Business Standard that this is a timely decision.
"I think the decision can bring a change in grassroots level policing, but it needs to be monitored every week," he added.
The former IGP reminisced about his tenure as the DMP commissioner and told this correspondent that the visit of an assistant commissioner or additional deputy commissioner must be unannounced.
"During my tenure I used to visit police stations all of a sudden at night. No one, not even my driver knew where I was going," Shahidul Haque further said.
He also suggested making the Intelligence and Analysis Division of the DMP more effective.
The division is dedicated to monitoring police officials' activities in the metropolitan area.
The DMP commissioner has to monitor the division directly, and he himself has to collect intelligence data to curb irregularities at police stations.
Seeking anonymity, an official of the intelligence division said that in most cases they collect data on corruption and irregularities by officials at police stations.
"If the authorities take the intelligence report seriously, corruption and irregularities will be curbed gradually," the officer added.
Visiting one police station a week will not bring a massive change in services, said Md Towhidul Haque, a sociologist and an assistant professor at Dhaka University.
He also said that he has been observing police activities for a decade, and he thinks the police have good reason to be concerned about their corrupt officials.
"We have seen that a large number of police officials hold OC posts in the metropolitan area for a long time. The intelligence wing is aware of their activities. If the DMP commissioner wants to bring change, the officials should be transferred and punished," he further said.