Bangladesh has been performing remarkably well in various indicators of socio-economic development. Policing is one of the complementary activities vital for keeping that progress on track. We have no alternative to prioritising people-oriented policing approach.
In spite of the glorious contribution to our liberation war, it is undeniable that police couldn't attain maximum level of public confidence due to various socio-political factors.
In order to reach police services to the doorsteps of the people, Bangladesh Police has launched 'Beat Policing'. It is a new concept for common people, but an effective one to spread policing service to the root levels. Now the question is, how does it work? And why is it described as the most effective policing method.
The formation of a beat unit is not that complicated. In this policing system, jurisdiction of each police station is divided into several units, based on the union or ward area of the municipality/ metropolitan area.
Bangladesh Police has introduced an SOP for conducting beat policing service. A police station can easily provide beat policing service in its locality with its own manpower and resources. Usually, each union is considered as one beat, and in the case of a municipality, one beat consists of three wards; while metropolitan or city corporation areas will have a beat for each ward.
However, multiple beats can be formed considering the ward size, population, type and nature of crime. On the other hand, each beat will have a sub-inspector known as beat in-charge, one ASI, and two constables to assist him on the beat. The Officer-in-Charge of the Police Station will have the authority to deploy the Beat Officers/Assistant Beat Officers in the beats under his area of jurisdiction and distribute their responsibilities.
Every beat officer has a particular office in their respective beat area where they must sit at least two days a week and try to solve people's complaints. Every beat in-charge must use a government authorised mobile number, which is available to the general public. The beat officer would be the first responder to any crisis in his local area. Beat officers are assigned to investigate any complaint/FIR in his beat area lodged at the local police station.
Beat policing has ushered in a new era of modern policing. The overall activities of beat policing will be regularly monitored by higher police authority. Beat policing will also play an effective role in preventing crimes like drugs, smuggling, murder and rape.
Beat officers make an area map of his beat to determine crime prone places. They also make a list of offenders, categorising them under different criteria e.g. drug user/peddler, robber, dacoit, extortionist, thief etc. The officer also participates in different community policing activities as a part of social interaction.
He reports any untoward incident in his area, as well as description of his completed work every month to senior police officers of concerned stations. A mobile app for each beat will be launched soon. The best beat officer will be selected on the basis of their performance from each Thana every year, to motivate the officers.
Beat policing ensures the best use of the manpower deployed in the police station. It will make the process of prevention and remedial action of proposed or existing problems in the beat through public mobilisation at the marginal level. Beat officers are easily accessible to people, which will enhance their ability to collect advance intelligence about law and order and crime in the area. In other words, every area of the country will be under round-the-clock police security through beat policing.
Moreover, beat policing is for establishing a sense of security in the minds of the people by removing the fear of crime from the society. Considering the current socio-economic context of Bangladesh, beat policing would be the most useful and popular concept of policing for providing better service to people on the basis of their actual need.
That is why the Bangladesh Police has taken this initiative to speed up and intensify beat policing activities across the country.
Recently, Bangladesh Police held a nationwide rally to create public awareness against rape and repression on women through beat police units. We have tried to show how strongly we stand against such crimes. A cross-section of people, including women, public representatives, teachers and imams have, taken part in the gathering.
With such dynamism, Beat Policing is becoming more pro-active in serving the nation.
Md Ariful Islam Siddiquee is Assistant Superintendent of Police, Shibganj Circle, Bogura.