Offices, barracks and other logistic support for the special anti-crime police force have already been provided, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Mohammad Abdul Qayyum told The Daily Star yesterday.
Selected from a pool of competent police personnel, members of the RAT were imparted an extensive and rigorous 10-week training at the Gazipur para-commando battalion practice centre. There will be uni formed as well as plainclothes policemen in the team, the DMP commissioner pointed out.
Asked if the public could directly approach the RAT for help, he said people would, as usual, need to lodge complaints with the police who will then decide whether the situation demands intervention by the RAT.
Without specifying the extent of jurisdiction of the special police force, the commissioner said the RAT could respond to any contingencies within the entire DMP area.
The 133-member RAT includes a deputy commissioner, an additional deputy commissioner, 11 assistant commissioners, eight inspectors, eight sub-inspectors, 12 sergeants, two head constables, 22 naiks and 68 constables. The members of the team were sent on a weeklong vacation after completing the special training course on January 16.
Members of the special security outfit will carry an automatic gun and have been provided with high-speed police vehicles.
Asked whether the RAT will be covered by any ordinance, the commissioner said he is yet to be informed about anything to that effect.
Another source said the RAT will basically carry out operations like arresting criminals and then hand them over to police stations where further investigation will take place. The RAT will be divided into smaller teams and each will cover areas under the jurisdiction of two or three police stations.
The RAT head office and barracks have been set up in the city's Mohammadpur area.
Police sources said depending on the RAT's performance, another such team might be formed soon to assist the first team.
The Rapid Action Team has been formed to continue the anti-crime Operation Clean Heart after the recent withdrawal of the army, which was called out last October to tackle the growing incidences of crime across the country.