In quest of functional community policing
Community policing is an approach that permits the police and community to work closely together in order to solve the problems of crime, fear of crime, physical and social disorder and neighborhood falloff. Community policing, a relatively new concept in Bangladesh started as pilot initiative in the early 1990s. Police along with United Nations, NGOs and community based organisations are on frank attempt to bring the community and the police together in resolving problems prevailing at the community level aimed at ensuring social peace and stability. Although community policing does not get momentum across Bangladesh, however given the prevailing unrest and unsteady scenario in the community, community policing deserves utmost precedence across level.
In line with Bangladesh Community Policing Strategy, Bangladesh police have taken up the wards of urban and rural local government edifice as the basic units to implement community policing and as per the formulation guideline, Community Policing Forums (CPFs) at the ward level is supposed to perform the core functions of the community policing system in Bangladesh. There are two types of committees at the ward level - the Executive Committee and the other is the Advisory Committee. The Ward Committee and CPFs are overseen by a coordination committee at the Union Parishad level. At the police station, there is a Thana (Police Station) Coordination Convening Committee and in the district, there is a District Coordination Committee. The numbers of the members of the Committees formed in each level should not exceed 21. Community members from all walks of the society are to be included in the CPFs. At all levels of community engagement, 33% representation of the women are also ensured and CPF is expected to be run, managed, and funded by the community members. A Community Policing Officer (CPO) coordinates the activities of the CPF. Community policing works as a vehicle to build peace and ensure safety and stability in the society.
An effective institutional set up is necessary for an effective and expanded response of community policing. As part of effort to attain dynamic community policing, increasing strategic partnerships and engagement with local civil society organisations has the potential to strengthen the quality and increase the scope of community policing efforts at the grassroots level. Formation of community level committee attracting dedicated and honest members of the society and interaction between policy and community on regular interval is must. Equipment facility, regular training programme and engagement of non-political, qualified and honest person having good reputation across level are essential to the success of community policing. Civil society, therefore, should come forward to consider expanding, and better coordinating, concept of community policing as well as support for and monitoring of community policing functions.
The writer is an Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Politics, Jahangirnagar University.