A police force for tourists' security | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, August 18, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, August 18, 2009


A police force for tourists' security

It must be purposeful, effective and responsive

THE concept of a police force in relation to tourist spots in the country should have originated earlier. However, now that a tourist police force has been introduced in such areas as Cox's Bazar as a step toward providing security to tourists, we cannot but welcome it. And that is because of all the hurdles we have observed over the years where popularizing tourism and broadening its base are concerned. Despite the ubiquitous assertions about developing the tourism sector, there has hardly been any change that one can notice. As a matter of fact, when compared with other countries in the region, the number of tourists Bangladesh receives annually is pitifully low and for various reasons.
One of those reasons is of course the matter of security. In recent months, there have been incidents where tourists, both local and foreign, have fallen prey to such crimes as theft and mugging, with the ultimate result that the visitors have made a swift way out of the tourist spots. Worse has been the overall effect of such incidents on those intending to visit Bangladesh or our own citizens who have had plans to travel to the beaches and other areas with their families. And then there is the inescapable reality of the harassment tourists, especially foreigners, are subjected to by curious locals who make it a point to follow them at every stage of their sojourn, thus making things difficult for them. Indeed, there have been times when harassed foreigners have simply abandoned the spot and flown back home. All these factors obviously give people outside Bangladesh a bad impression about the country. Which is why an organized body such as the tourist police has been a long-felt need.
An additional and rather commendable aspect of the move is the broad range of duties the tourist police will carry out. Besides handling crime and protecting tourists from other problems, they will also stand guard in the matter of ensuring that no one tampers with nature. In other words, they will ensure that trees are not cut down, hills are not destroyed and sand and stones are not subjected to robbery. But let there be a note of caution here: all these good intentions must be backed by efficiency and firmness on the part of those who constitute the tourist police force. But such firmness must not ignore the fact that the police will need to be well behaved, courteous and ready to respond to any emergency.

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