“The murderers could have been arrested within an hour only if the police had tried!” “If the government stops controlling the police, the country could be free from criminal activities in no time!” — All these comments illuminate how much our people are ignorant about the complexity of criminal behaviour and about the capability of our police service.
However, this is not a unique phenomenon in Bangladesh. This is a universal misbelief and misconception which the citizens collectively bear in the society. The crime fighting image of the police contributes a lot to create this sort of beliefs in human mind.
These sorts of myths are common in the history of every nation’s police department. Mass media, films, fictions and detective stories keep alive all these myths. Sometimes, the police officers themselves contribute, intentionally or subconsciously, to form and spread these unrealistic beliefs in the community’s expectations.
Now here is an example of the so-called police ineffectiveness in the United States of America. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is considered to be the world’s best police force and investigation agency. They have shown insurmountable bravery, efficiency and scholarly in the field of arresting suspects and investigating criminal cases. They are thought to be a living legend around the world.
Then how much time, days, weeks, months or years does the FBI need to arrest an offender of a series of planned bomb attacks?
Yes, I am going to describe about the longest and the most expensive investigation of the FBI history. It is the case of the ‘Unabomber’.
One Theodore John Kaczynski had been engaged in sending bombs to university teachers and airlines offices for long 18 years. Kaczynski’s activities caught the eyes of the FBI in 1978 with the explosion of his first, primitive homemade bomb. Over the next 17 years, he mailed or hand-delivered a series of increasingly sophisticated explosive devices that killed three people and injured 23 more.
The Unabomber kept the FBI along with the whole gamut of US police agencies in a complete quagmire for ages. Finding no clues to reach the offender, the FBI declared a reward of one million US Dollars for anyone who could supply any information to them.
In 1996 with the help of one of his brothers, the FBI arrested the Unabomber. The FBI took more than 18 years to find out the real culprit who kept the whole nation in constant fear.
Now how will you evaluate the capability of the FBI? Are they inefficient? Was there any interference from the US government? Were they in need of necessary funding?
No, it was just the complexity of the criminal behavior of the Unabomber. He was not a criminal of gain. He was a criminal of ideal.
Did the USA people term the FBI an inefficient police agency? How much did they criticise the police? Well they did, but not mercilessly and not irresponsibly.
Now, what our government is doing to make the police capable, efficient and resourceful? Moreover, what are the people’s suggestions?
In 1986 and 1987 while the DNA technology had been at its forming stage the police of East Midland of England, went for a mass screening for the hunt of a rapist-cum-murderer. All male residents between the age of 17 and 34 were requested to voluntarily submit a blood sample. The police tested more than 4000 people and failed to identify the real culprit. They kept on investigating with vigour and succeeded after one year while they tested the 4,583rd person, a bakery manager.
In April 2000, an investigation was carried out following the rape of an elderly woman in the New South Wales town of Wee Waa in which most of the town’s 600 male residents volunteered mouth swabs for DNA test.
The crime clearance of the USA police agencies as a whole is lamentably low. Though, the violent crime clearance rate was 44.5% in 2010, the property crime clearance approximately 16.5%. That means that 83.5% of all burglaries, auto thefts, larceny-theft and arson go unaccounted.