Dhaka, June 21, 2011 — The Asia Foundation hosted U.S. State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Dr. Alyssa Ayres in a May 22 and 23 visit to its Community-Based Policing (CBP) program in Dhaka. Accompanied by a delegation from the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, Dr. Ayres met with leaders from the Bangladesh police, government, and civil society.
During the visit, The Asia Foundation and implementing partner, Association for Community Development (ACD), briefed Dr. Ayres on community policing program successes, and the challenges that police and Bangladeshi citizens continue to face. Dr. Ayers also attended a monthly Community Policing Forum (CPF) in the village of Tatihati, within the Tanore Sub-district of the Rajshahi Division.
At the forum, 47 participants discussed major challenges they faced, such as an increase in robberies around the village market and the growing prevalence of eve-teasing (a term used to reference sexual harassment in Bangladesh). Citizens freely voiced their concerns to the police and engaged them on different strategies for addressing these problems.
Emphasizing collaborative relationships between citizens and police, the Community Policing Forum (CPF) is an example of one of the thousands that were created by the Bangladesh police throughout the country. These forums encourage police-citizen cooperation through information sharing and strategic planning. The goal is to help preempt and solve crimes using local resources in a way that attacks the root causes of the problems.
Since 2004, The Asia Foundation has been collaborating with police and civil society to develop and pilot a unique approach to community policing. Building on this experience, in December 2010, The Asia Foundation launched a three-year Community-Based Policing Program with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve public security through increased citizen-police cooperation. The program is being implemented in 518 villages and municipalities evenly distributed across the crime and violence-prone northwestern part of the country (Rajshahi and Rangpur Divisions).