There is no task that police cannot do, but it all depends on how they are instructed, State Minister for Home Affairs Shamsul Huq Tuku said yesterday.
"The August 21 grenade attack happened in presence of police. Ten truckloads of firearms and ammunition were also smuggled into the country in their presence. But it was the police that put up the first resistance at Rajarbagh Police Lines against the Pakistani occupation forces in 1971," said Tuku in response to the IGP's remark that police have succeeded in combating militancy in the country.
He was speaking as special guest at the annual general meeting of Bangladesh Police Service Association (BPSA) at Rajarbagh Police Lines.
"People are very unhappy with the police department that could not work freely in the past."
The state minister said it is understandable that police have to act on instructions of the people in power.
He, however, acknowledged police's role in combating militancy in the last three years.
Prime Minister's adviser on public administration HT Imam in his address said, "I see ominous signs in the information I sometime receive but we will move forward and build a better Bangladesh."
He said it seems the prime minister's promises become less and less important as orders are passed downwards through the chain of command.
Earlier, IGP Hassan Mahmood Khandker said police have done well in curbing crimes and militancy, and peaceful holding of the cricket World Cup and several elections.
Police high-ups at the meeting expressed frustration at lengthy bureaucratic procedures for getting things done.
Additional IGP AKM Shahidul Hoque, also BPSA president, and Deputy Commissioner of Detective Branch Monirul Islam, also BPSA general secretary, urged Home Minister Shahara Khatun and PM's adviser HT Imam to take steps to end bureaucratic manoeuvring and red tape.
Referring to the Warrants of Precedence, IGP Khandker said despite having same ranks and salaries as government administrators, police officials are not given their due status and honour. It often creates scopes for misunderstanding between them and government officials.
The BPSA leaders also demanded a special salary structure for police.