Police rely heavily on sponsorships

Bangladesh on 12 August 2013
Location : Bangladesh | Source : Dhaka Tribune. Image Source: Dhaka Tribune

Law enforcement agencies are increasingly becoming dependent on donations from scores of organisa-tions almost for everything—from a road sign or umbrella to a pick-up van—to deliver their services.

While such wholesale sponsorships raise the question of ethics for an agency like police, retired and in-service top officials tend to defend the practice citing lack of facilities provided by the government.

Of all the agencies, Dhaka Metropolitan Police have received the most donations, sponsorship or other benefits which include vehicles, motorcycles, computers, signboards, umbrellas, police boxes, traffic police booths, traffic equipment, road barricades, road dividers, etc.

The police turn to the wealthy people and their commercial organisations for such aid.

The significant contributions being received by the lawmen raise questions about their ethics and neutrali-ty.

The law enforcement agencies carry logos, monograms, names or signs of those companies, firms, organi-sations and other donor agencies facilitating their publicity.

In the name of better policing and public welfare, they welcome donations which violate government ser-vice rules.

Real estate companies, garments companies, beverage companies, steel mills, chemical factories, NGOs, and various other unknown companies or firms and nameplate-based social organisations are among the donors.

Of the donors, many are accused of land-grabbing, oppressing employees and causing environmental haz-ards whilst some are allegedly engaged in antisocial activities using their muscle power.

Sources said, under the guise of supporting the police department for the public’s welfare, donor compa-nies capitalise on the situation while a section of police officials also enjoy some benefits.

Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Sultana Kamal, chairperson of the Board of Trustees at Transparency Inter-national Bangladesh, expressed her frustration.

She said: “Police are not expected to be seen in such a state.”

The lawmen must not get involved in any commercial activities or receive any donations or other benefits from individuals and private or commercial organisations, said Sultana Kamal, who is also the executive director of Ain o Salish Kendra.

She said: “Whenever any benefit is received from any individual or organisation, the question of indebted-ness to them comes up.”

“It also gives scope for losing neutrality on the part of law enforcers, as well as intensifying the difference between the poor and the rich to them (police),” she added.

Nurul Huda, a former inspector general of police, however, partially supported the police receiving some sort of aid from donors on the grounds of a lack of government facilities.

He also drew attention to examples of police abroad.

Admitting irregularities and breaches of trust by the law enforcers, the former IGP said: “A regulation is a must in this regard. There must be proper monitoring as to whether the lawmen cross their limitations.”

The advertisements of donor companies are visible everywhere on the roads, with various advertisements on police boxes, traffic cones, etc.

Sometimes, it is even difficult to identify whether or not it is a police box due to the numerous advertise-ments of different companies covering the boxes.

Road barricades near Mohammadpur police station were financed by “Visa Worldwide” and Ramna po-lice’s barricades by beverage brand “Mojo”.

Vehicles for police in Adabar were donated by “Adabar Elakar Sudhijon” whilst “Tropical Homes Ltd” fi-nanced the vehicles for Dhanmondi police station and “BSRM Steels” sponsored their signboard.

Gulshan police station’s signboard was sponsored by “Gulshan Youth Club”, Shahbagh police station’s was paid for by beverage brand “Speed Energy Drinks”, and Ramna police station’s by “Walton Group”.

BRAC Bank donated road dividers, traffic cones, police vests and umbrellas; Dhaka Stock Exchange- two pick-up trucks and five motorcycles; Dutch Bangla Bank- a pick up van; Samsung- 2 LED monitors; Bangla-desh Corrugated Accessories Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association- a microbus and 12 televisions; Amin Mohammad Group- motorcycles; and Prime Bank- three microbuses.

IGP Hassan Mahmood Khandker however claimed that the lack of government support sometimes prompted them to accept the gracious contributions from different organisations.

Asked about the ethical grounds and scope for irregularities, the IGP said: “There is no question of irregu-larities.”

In a response to another query, he added that a regulation to this end was underway.

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