Plan fails to take off for lack of sufficient SIs
The plan to set up separate investigation wing at all the police stations remains far from being effective mainly due to lack of sufficient number of sub-inspectors (SIs).
Introduced in 2004, the initiative requires at least two sub-inspectors (SIs) in each unit tasked only with probe into criminal cases so that proper and prompt investigation and speedy submission of charge sheets are ensured.
However, the authorities cannot afford to implement the plan as they are already short of adequate workforce. It becomes difficult for them to maintain law and order if they count out two SIs of a police station only for investigation, police officers concerned said.
Out of a total 571 police stations countrywide, there are separate case investigation units at 300 police stations at present, sources at the Police Headquarters said.
However, these units exist on paper so far, as the officers for the units could not be assigned due to shortage of SIs, who generally investigate cases, they added.
"Almost all the police stations outside the metropolitan areas have three to five SIs. If we assign two of them for case investigation only, it will be nearly impossible for the remaining SIs to maintain the law and order," said the superintendent of police of a district in Barisal division.
Admitting the problem, a top official at the Police Headquarters observed that at least 10 SIs are required at any given district sadar police station to make the separate case investigation unit successful.
Talking to The Daily Star on February 7, Inspector General of Police Nur Mohammad also acknowledge the problem, saying that many police stations have four SIs at the most and so it was not completely possible to run a separate case investigation unit.
The officer in the police headquarters observed that once some 30,500 police officers, who are supposed to be recruited in five years since 2006, are employed, the situation of acute shortage of investigation officers (IOs) will improve.
To make the initiative successful, police high-ups arranged an evaluation test for all 6,850 SIs across the country in November, 2007, the results of which are yet to be published.
A merit list will be prepared basing on the results and according to it, selected SIs will be tasked with case investigation, the officer told The Daily Star.
As part of the initiative, Dhaka Metropolitan Police authorities have asked officers-in-charge (OCs) of different police stations in DMP area not to assign any SI to more than 10 cases at a time.
Sources said, only Mirpur division could manage to achieve the target, but other divisions could not, due to lack of workforce.
The OC of a busy police station in the capital said they have 14 SIs and none has less than 12 cases to probe at a time.
In the past, probes into various sensational cases had run into snags, as the IOs at different police stations, particularly in DMP area, were assigned cases seven times the number of their officially recommended quota.
The Police Regulation of Bengal, a British-era law-enforcement guideline, recommends a maximum of eight cases for a sub-inspector (SI) at a time.
However, it was found that the SIs at large police stations and in the crime-prone areas in the capital faced the workload of as many as 50 cases, officials concerned said.
To top it all, the IOs, who are burdened with more cases than they can properly handle, also required to take part in crime control activities and other additional duties.
Due to this, even in murder cases, the time-strapped IOs need as much as three years of time to complete investigations and submit charge sheets.
This situation ultimately denies the victims' right to speedy justice and helps the criminals evade punishment.