Women-only police intelligence unit raised in Bangladesh

August 30th, 2008 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Aug 30 (IANS) In a first, the police in Bangladesh have introduced a women-only special intelligence branch to fight the sex trade, drug peddling and trafficking in women and children.The Special Women Police Contingent (SWPC) would gain access to “the world of women criminals” which is not easy for men to do, said Naim Ahmed, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nur Mohammad told The Daily Star newspaper that the present number of women in the police department is around 2,000, which is less than two percent of the total force. One third of those women are under DMP and that is not enough to fight the rising crime among women.

Mohammad said: “We will hire 3,000 more policewomen soon and then we will consider setting up SWPC branches across the country.”

According to police sources, women are being used for trafficking other women and children, drug peddling, smuggling, and for swindling people, as crime lords feel safer to employ women for those jobs as traditionally they raise less suspicion.

To deal with women criminals, DMP has initially set up an office for SWPC at the office of detective branch (DB) with 24 policewomen led by an assistant commissioner (AC).

This is a first by the police in Bangladesh.

“Introduction of SWPC will also help bring gender balance to the department and will make policing conform to international standards,” Ahmed said.

Humayun Kabir, director general of the Directorate of Narcotics Control (DNC), had said earlier that over 100,000 people - 40 percent of them women - are engaged in the illegal drug trade.

According to intelligence sources, women criminals are also engaged in swindling people, and are forcing under-aged girls into prostitution.

Talking to The Daily Star, AC Sadira Khatun, chief of SWPC, said: “Women are getting involved in various criminal activities like sex trade, women and child trafficking, drug peddling, swindling, and even killing in increasing numbers.”

SWPC has been applying various intelligence tactics to infiltrate the world of women criminals, Sadira said, adding that the newly set up branch of female sleuths was already successful in unearthing evidence in several cases and in arresting a number of criminals.

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