Bangladesh: UNODC bolsters community and beat policing mechanisms to prevent and counter violent extremism

Dhaka, Bangladesh/15 February 2024:  Within the space of law enforcement, the delicate equilibrium of upholding social order while nurturing community trust is pivotal. Nations facing comparable hurdles acknowledge the potential harmony between community-oriented policing and robust measures to combat violent extremism. Over the last several years, Bangladesh Police has relied on community and beat policing to cultivate peace and stability. However, amidst the shifting threat dynamics, it is important to bolster such efforts.

In this context, UNODC has been spearheading initiatives to enhance community and beat policing to prevent and counter violent extremism. A crucial step in this direction involved a joint effort with the Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU), Bangladesh Police, as part of which a meticulous technical needs assessment (TNA) was carried out to understand the current landscape and identify gaps.

The TNA laid the foundation for a comprehensive capacity-building plan featuring a series of consultations to promote community-based policing strategies. This project, generously funded by the Government of Canada, takes a comprehensive approach to prevent radicalization and also provides support for the rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals entangled in violent activities.

Continuing these efforts, UNODC enhanced knowledge and applied skills of over 25 senior officers from Bangladesh Police including counter-terrorism officers from districts, ATU, range police and metropolitan police--with a three-day training on countering violent extremism and building trust and legitimacy.

The training covered two modules, focused on building police legitimacy and trust and providing a nuanced understanding of the evolving threats posed by terrorism and violent extremism.

Law enforcement practitioners were sensitised on the evolving threats of terrorism and violent extremism and the best possible means to deal with those threats. Experts shared international good practices to strengthen trust in all dimensions of policing through fostering an ethical climate, promoting procedurally just policing and optimising communication to promote transparency and trust.

The training also supported participants in the development of a tailored action plan to implement trust-building concepts and strategies in their daily work.

Mr. SM Ruhul Amin, Additional Inspector General and Chief, ATU and Mr. Marco Teixeira, Regional Representative, UNODC opened the training. Mr. Abdul Alim Mahmud BPM, DIG (Operations), ATU; Mr. Mofizuddin Ahmed PPM, DIG (Admin), ATU; Dr. Khondkar Mohiduddin, BPM (Bar), Additional Commissioner (Crime and Operations), Dhaka Metropolitan Police; Mr. Md Maruf Hossain Sardar, Additional DIG (Operations), Dhaka Range; Ms. Siobhan Kerr, Acting Political Counselor, High Commission of Canada in Bangladesh; and  Dr. Ali Ashraf, Consultant and Professor, International Relations, Dhaka University joined the discussions.

The activity contributed to SDG 5, SDG 16 and SDG 17: 

(Supported by Global Affairs Canada)