Bangladesh Policewomen take the wheel
[English Text only]
Shahnaz Parveen: Women behind steering wheels of police cars will soon be a familiar sight in the country as the Bangladesh Police Department is grooming a fleet of policewomen for the job.
The primary target, however, is to train up female squads that would perform efficiently in the United Nations peacekeeping missions.
In addition, it will help remove the barrier to women joining the police department as drivers in future.
The target for now is to train a total of 200 female drivers. The first batch of 10 female personnel yesterday successfully completed an eight-week training course on driving heavy vehicles at Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation training centre in Narayanganj. The rest of the 200 will be trained gradually.
Earlier, they finished the first phase of basic training in the safety of a driving simulator at the Rajarbagh Police Lines.
Habibur Rahman, deputy commissioner (Headquarters) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) who took the initiative, said, “UN peacekeeping missions have shown interest to take more police personnel from Bangladesh, especially female police. Driving efficiency is preferred for the job,” he added.
The learner drivers will be given sufficient knowledge about the traffic rules at home and abroad, the official said.
At present 19 policewomen are deployed at different peacekeeping missions. One hundred forty more are being trained to join them.
Bangladesh has the highest number of police personnel serving in the peacekeeping missions. Total number of police deployed in peacekeeping missions is 1,500, working in seven trouble-torn countries across the world, DMP officials said.
Rahman also said, “Right now females are not being recruited as drivers in the police department. Bangladesh police is soon to change the recruitment policies that now allow only men to apply for the posts of drivers.”
The Victim Support Centre will also employ female drivers in the future, he said.
Sub-Inspector Nazma Hossain, who attended the driving lessons with the help of simulators said, “It was very interesting to learn driving with a simulator. Afterwards when I drove a real vehicle, I felt really safe as I had already learned about the traffic rules and how to handle it.”
Constable Mosammat Laboni Sabrin, former staff of Victim Support Centre who is currently receiving training in Narayanganj, said, “In Bangladesh driving has never been a profession for women with general perception prevailing among people that it is not a suitable job for them. Now this perception will change.”
“I used to be an ordinary constable. Now I have more expertise, which will certainly up my status professionally,” she added.
Currently there are about 2267 policewomen serving across the country. Out of this 600 are posted in the capital.
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