Nine months after the inauguration of Dhaka's metro rail services, the MRT Police, a dedicated police unit responsible for the security of the urban train network, has finally started its operations.
However, the unit faces significant challenges due to insufficient personnel and procedural formalities.
Currently, the MRT Police's primary focus is to ensure the security of both passengers and metro stations, according to its Superintendent Shafiqul Islam.
The unit began assuming security responsibilities for select stations on Oct 9, with officers wearing the standard blue uniform of Dhaka's police force but bearing the MRT logo on their left sleeves.
"Presently, our main role is to safeguard passengers and metro stations, but we lack the authority to file cases or conduct investigations. Although we do not have a dedicated flag or emblem for our unit at this time, the authorities are actively working on it."
Bangladesh partially launched its first metro rail network on Dec 29 last year, with trains operating from Uttara to Agargaon.
The government approved the creation of a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Police unit on May 24 of the same year. The unit operates under the leadership of a deputy inspector general, with its work overseen by the Police Headquarters.
The unit initially received approval for 238 personnel out of the proposed 537-strong workforce. Recognising the impracticality of operating with such a limited team, the Police Headquarters subsequently delegated 299 personnel to supplement the unit's manpower, according to Islam.