Gone are the days when Police used to lug around obsolete Lee-Enfield .303 rifles from the Colonial period. Nowadays Police in Bangladesh not only sport modern firearms but also armoured vehicles, digital communications equipment, robots, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
In the past decade the Police service in Bangladesh has undergone revolutionary changes in its arsenal.
Police patrol units are being equipped with Kriss Super V .45 submachine guns, a powerful weapon with a rate of fire of 1,200 rounds per minute with capability of penetrating standard. The new SMG joins Singapore-made CPW SMG, which is already in service with Dhaka Metropolitan Police. DMP SWAT is also equipped with US-made SR-25 semi-automatic special application sniper rifles, which are manufactured by the Knight’s Armament Company. Milkor multi-shot grenade launcher and vehicle mounted tear gas launcher have also been issued to the Police.
Issuing tickets is now done through electronic ticketing machines, which instantly send case information to Police servers, whilst the offender is issued a print out.
Less tech savvy but nevertheless very useful has been the recent induction of spike strips this month to prevent vehicles travelling on the wrong side of the road as such issues often cause traffic jams.
Police in Dhaka have also been provided with Segway PT, which are two-wheeled, self-balancing, battery powered electric vehicles.
Police and Rapid Action Battalion also operate various armoured personnel carriers such as Alpine Armoring Pitbull VX, Otokar Cobra, ZFB-05, Streit Typhoon (MRAP) and BTR-80 amongst some other Chinese armoured personnel carriers.
The Rapid Action Battalion is also using two newly purchased Bell 407 helicopters valued at $7.37 million.
In January, 2014 Dhaka Metropolitan Police revealed that it also plans to procure at least four unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance of Dhaka.
In this regard different local and international firms have given proposals, one of whom demonstrated two models of quadcopters including Bangladrone and Ghuri 1 which cost Tk 1 million each for the basic options. Aero Research Centre Bangladesh stated that its UAV can be used for surveillance, emergency medical supply, thermal imaging and guiding rescue operations. It can also perform tasks such as detection using FLIR, dropping tear gas shells and bombs according to the company’s representative.
The Ghuri 1 weighing 7.6 kg can fly up to 500 feet in altitude for 25 minutes at 40 km/h and can carry a payload of up to 10 kg. Its companion Bangladrone, is a light weight unit, which can carry only 1 kg.
Bangladesh Police is also introducing Long Range Acoustic Device’s (LRAD), which can send messages, warnings, pain inducing tones over longer ranges than regular speakers. Its manufacturer (LRAD Corporation, USA) states that it has application as a non-lethal crowd control weapon.
This device could ensure large crowds can be easily dispersed without use of conventional firearms, tear gas or water cannons, as is the case in Bangladesh.
Police departments in Bangladesh are now also equipped with forensic labs, monitoring centres for strategically located CCTV, explosive detectors, bomb disposal robots and suits.
With all these new technologies the Bangladesh Police service looks to be ahead of their counterparts in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. However, inadequacies still remain as shortage of patrol vehicles hinder Police response and patrolling efforts however the Home Ministry has recently started providing Canadian built Ford Ranger utility pickups to Police units across the country improving the situation to a greater extent.