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Local Police in Bangladesh Capital Dhaka Sign Up for Facebook

[All links lead to Bengali-language webpages unless otherwise noted.]

A police department plagued by complaints in a suburb of Bangladesh's capital city Dhaka has joined Facebook for the first time in an effort to improve its relationship with the community.

A Facebook page titled Assistant Commissioner of Police Patrol Uttara has recently caught attention in Bangladesh. It provides information and guidance on many police services, especially for the Uttara suburb residents of the Bangladesh capital.

It may be mentioned that there are a lot of complaints against Bangladesh police. A recent report says that in last year alone complaints against 13,745 police officers across Bangladesh were lodged.

The office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police Patrol Uttara page is an experimental page. It invites around 350,000 Uttara residents to share police-related issues.

This is not the police's first foray into new technology. They had started e-general diary (webbased station diary for recording complaints) system and SMS-based complaint system which were not successful.

Bangladesh Police force. Image by A. M. Ahad. Copyright Demotix. (13/6/2011)

Bangladesh Police force. Image by A. M. Ahad. Copyright Demotix. (13/6/2011)

For example, the Police elaborated on the page what they are doing about the ongoing problem of traffic jams in the area:

উত্তরাবাসীদের যানজট থেকে কিছুটা হলেও মুক্তি দিতে আজ থেকে আমরা এয়ারপোর্ট গোল চত্বরের দুপাশে অতিরিক্ত পুলিশ ফোর্স মোতায়েন করেছি।যেসব পথচারীরা ফুটওভার ব্রিজ ব্যবহার না করে রাস্তা দিয়ে পার হোন তাঁদেরকে ফুটওভার ব্রিজ ব্যবহারে অভ্যস্ত করতে এ ব্যবস্থা।আমি নিজে আজ সকাল ১০ টা থেকে ১২ টা পর্যন্ত রাস্তায় দাঁড়িয়ে ডিউটি করেছি।পুরো সময়টুকু সম্ভব না হলেও অন্ততঃ “রাশ আওয়ার”(Rush Hour) সময়টুকুতে উত্তরার পুলিশ তাদের যথাসাধ্য চেষ্টা করবে পথচারীদের ফুটওভার ব্রিজ ব্যবহারে অনুপ্রাণিত করতে।দুঃখজনক হলেও সত্য, কাজটি খুব কঠিন এবং পথচারীরা প্রায় কেউই এটি মানতে চান না।তবে আমরা ঠিক করেছি আগামী বেশ কিছুদিন আমরা এই ডিউটি অব্যহত রাখব যাতে পথচারীরা এতে অভ্যস্ত হয়ে পড়েন।

We have deployed additional police force near Airport Square today to relieve Uttara residents from the traffic congestion. We were there to encourage pedestrians to use the footbridge instead of crossing the street. From 10am-12pm I personally was on duty there. If not the whole day, the police will remain there helping and encouraging pedestrians to use the footbridge during rush hours. Sorry to say the job is tedious as many pedestrians refuse to comply. We have decided to maintain this campaign for a few more days so that people are used to the rules.

Police cleared illegal parking in front of Scholastica School in Uttara

Police cleared illegal parking in front of Scholastica School in Uttara

In a recent post the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Uttara wrote how they cleared illegally parked car in front of Scholastica School and reduced traffic jam. The police has this advice for citizens:

জোরপূর্বক কাউকে আইন মানানো সম্ভব নয় এটা আমি আপনি সবাই জানি। আপনাদের প্রতি অনুরোধ, আপনারা মেইন রোডে কোনও অবস্থাতেই গাড়ি রেখে যানজট সৃষ্টি করবেন না।

We cannot make everybody abide rule by force, we all know that. I urge to you all, please do not park your cars in main road and contribute to traffic jam.

Blogger Onu Tareq called on Bangladeshis to take advantage of the page and highlight the local issues:

এই পেজে দলে দলে যোগ দিন। আপনার এলাকার সমস্যার কথা পুলিশকে জানান, পুলিশ জনগণের সেবক, রক্ষক। সঠিক জায়গায় অভিযোগ করুন- এই উদ্যোগের মাধ্যমে ধীরে ধীরে বাংলাদেশের সমস্ত পুলিশ থানা ফেসবুক ব্যবহারকারীদের আওতার মধ্যে আনার চেষ্টা করা হচ্ছে, আপনিও সাথে থাকুন…

Please join this page in numbers. Discuss the problems in your locality. Police are the saviour of the citizens, they serve them. Kindly complain to an effective outlet. I hope every other police station in Bangladesh will join Facebook soon. Please stay with them..

Blogger Asad Mohammad Asaduzzaman said he has travelled widely and never had seen such an effort from police anywhere. He wrote:

kindly accept my sincere appreciation. it's indeed an exceptional but very effective way to ensure civic security through social media. I've been to many countries across Asia, Europe and Africa but have never heard about such innovative idea. my personal feeling is that if the mass have accessibility to the law enforcing agencies by any means, it just boost up their level of courage. please keep your motivation up and I hope people will be beside in spirit. good luck!

Junaed Hossain praised the initiative:

‘পুলিশ ফোর্স’ নয় আমরা ‘পুলিশ সার্ভিস’ চাই। আমাদের নিরাপত্তা প্রদান করা সংস্থার সাথে আমরা বন্ধুত্ব মানের সম্পর্ক রাখতে চাই।

We don't only want a ‘police force’ but also ‘police service'. We want to keep friendly relations with our security force.

Faisal Ibne Jamal hoped that the page will augment the understanding of “community policing” and implementation of related theories:

এটি খুবই ভালো একটি উদ্যোগ। আশা করি শুধু মাত্র তথ্য আদান প্রদান কিংবা মতামত-ভিন্নমতেই এটি সীমাবদ্ধ থাকবে না। কমিউনিটি পুলিশিং এর ধারনা ও তার বাস্তবায়নে কীভাবে সবাইকে কাজ করতে হয় এ ব্যাপারগুলো ও উঠে আসবে এই পেজে। ঔপনিবেশিক আমলের পুলিশি বাস্তবতা এবং এ সময়ের পুলিশি বাস্তবতা যে ভিন্নতর তার ধারনা পুলিশ বিভাগেও যেমন গড়ে ওঠেনি তেমনিভাবে জনগণের ও কোন ধারনা নেই সে সম্বন্ধে। আমাদের সৎ পুলিশ কর্মকর্তা বা সদস্যের অভাব নেই মোটেই। কিন্তু আমাদের সমস্যাগুলি অন্য জায়গায়। ভালো সেবা পেতে গেলে যিনি দেবেন আর যিনি নেবেন তাদের সম্পর্কটা সহজ হতে হয়। বন্ধুত্বটা শুধু মুখে মুখে বললেই হবে না গভীরতম বিশ্বাসেও ধারন করতে হবে।

This is an exemplary effort. I hope it won't be confined to only the exchange of information or arguments and counterarguments. This page will highlight the concepts of “community policing” and how it is implemented with everyone's participation. The realities of the British era and the realities of today are completely different, this needs to be recognized by the police and people should realize it. We have also honest and willing police members. But our problems lie elsewhere. The relationship between service provider and receiver should be easy. The talk about friendship should also materialize with trust.

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