The government is going to form a special police unit for the protection of VIPs, including ministers, state ministers, deputy ministers and judges.
The police headquarters in January submitted a proposal to the home ministry for this. The ministry is currently working on it.
The unit -- to be named “Guard and Protection Police” -- will have an administrative and operations wing and three battalions -- Protection Battalion, Guard Protection Battalion and KPI (key point installation) Battalion.
Four superintendents of police (SPs) will lead the wing and the three battalions. A deputy inspector general (DIG) will be the chief of the total unit, which will have 3,188 members, according to the proposal.
"I hope the unit will be formed within the next two months,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told The Daily Star last week.
"We are creating the new unit as we don't have enough police personnel to ensure foolproof security for the VIPs and at the key point installations.
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is aware of the matter,” he added.
Asked, officials at the police headquarters said the proposed unit would not be providing security to the president and the prime minister.
President Guard Regiment, Special Security Force and Special Security and Protection Battalion (SPBn) jointly ensure the security of the president and the PM.
A part of Bangladesh Police, the SPBn, which has some 1,100 members against 1,400 posts, also provides security to the Very Very Important Persons (VVIPs), including any head of state or government visiting Bangladesh.
Security personnel from the districts or the local police stations ensure the protection of the VIPs whenever they go out on a trip, the police headquarters said in their proposal.
They suffer badly as they also have to perform their regular duties simultaneously. So, the need for the formation of a new unit has been there for long, it said.
The proposal also said if the proposed unit was formed, the protection of the VIPs during their movement and security at their homes and key point installations would easily be coordinated and controlled from one centre.
So, the officials from the district police and the local police stations would be able to play a more effective role in maintaining law and order in their respective areas, it said.
For example, many VIPs travel to different districts using Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Sylhet highways in Narayanganj.
“On average, I had to assign 90 policemen and 15 vehicles every day for VIP movement [on the highways]. The law enforcers were divided into six teams,” said a former additional SP of Narayanganj.
The teams received the VIPs whenever they entered the district and left them to the other district under its police protection. Often, the law enforcers have to wait for a long time to receive the VIPs.
“In case of any sudden violence, we used to face a serious crisis of manpower,” the police official, wishing not to be named, told The Daily Star.
Another official at the police headquarters said currently, they need 2,000 members for ensuring the protection of the VIPs and guarding their homes and 22,000 others for ensuring security at the key installations across the country.
Asked how the “Guard and Protection Police” would ensure security at those installations, he said the proposed unit would only take the responsibility of the “sensitive” establishments.
On numerous previous occasions, different ministries and departments sought police security for the installations and the force met their demand accordingly.
ROLES OF THE WING AND BATTALIONS
The administration and operations wing will monitor and control the administrative and operational activities of the new unit. The Protection Battalion would ensure security of the VIPs, Guard Protection Battalion would be entitled to provide foolproof security at the homes of VIPs and KPI Battalion would ensure security at the key point installations.
Asked, a top official of the police headquarters said they need not change any law or formulate one for the formation of the unit.
The police headquarters also requested the Public Administration Ministry to create a total of 3,188 new posts for the proposed unit. The posts would include a DIG, four SPs, six additional SPs, 38 assistant SPs and 1,871 constables.
The official said the members would either be recruited or posted to the unit from their existing units.
Around Tk 160 crore would be required annually for the new battalions. The police headquarters also demanded 260 vehicles for the unit, he added.
Recently, police have decided to create commando teams in all metropolitan areas and range police units to deal with any crisis situation like a militant attack or hostage situation.
Now, only Dhaka Metropolitan Police has a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team under the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit to deal with such situations.