Words & Messages

Re-emerging need of community policing

Mahmudur Rahman | Update:

The Kurmitola rape case has brought forward the need for community policing to prevent rampant crimeFrom the time of the British Raj there were never enough police to cover the growing population. This holds true today in the land of the Raj where austerity drives resulted in numbers of street patrols diminishing and an increase in crime rates. The earlier forms of policing depended significantly on informers that guided the law to the perpetrators. But as identities of informers surfaced, the numbers dwindled for fear of reprisals. This added to the inevitable corruption that crept into the system.

There was little focus on embellishing numbers of police in tangent with burgeoning populations and even lesser effort for cohesion between the agencies and the community as a whole. The one- time effective method of involving the sardars of old Dhaka with the police and the community has been relegated to the role of support in traffic management. As crime rates increase, especially violent and immoral ones the role of community support has gained in significance. Donor agencies and non-government agencies have been undertaking projects to bolster community policing to ensure safety and security in rural areas. There as well as in cities there just aren’t enough law enforcers to properly enforce the law.

Patrolling has increased with the government’s drive to recruit more police but as was evident by the recent rape case in Kurmitola, the dark spots still remain. With women empowerment on the increase as should be, it brings with it the inherent danger to their safety. And the answer has to be both in terms of more empowered community policing and support forces.

The think tanks and specialists point towards a decline in moral values that have slowly been outdated as well as the negative impact of the net and social media. The west where all these technological innovations emerged has prevailed on the technology giants to block posts related to bigotry, fascism, extremism and violence. We are told the elements are in place. China has come up with its own local form of censorship that has been criticised and praised. But if results are obtained, perhaps censorship does have a place in preventing the spread of hatred.

Drilling in the virtues of morals has to begin with schools and in a way the government decision, spearheaded by the prime minister to reduce the pressure of examinations at the early stages where education should be fun and attractive, is a welcome step. The more sensitive issue of sex education must be inculcated among children in educational institutions and religious schools. The scriptures are not enough for the young children, education has to focus on the, at times ugly, realities of the world.

The one incident of the university student has raised a storm in educational institutions but the ones happening in rural areas never get the attention that is so required. From cities to the villages community policing has to change form and structure to prevent such dastardly events. Rape has to be a subject for the rapid tribunal and not allowed to gather dust in the unfortunately prolonged version of justice. And it is high time for think tanks, police and community to combine forces in combatting crime.

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