Special Branch (Bangladesh)
|Parent agency||Bangladesh Police|
The Special Branch or SB is the prime intelligence agency of Bangladesh, being an important agency in the Bangladeshi intelligence community. The chief of the SB has the rank of Additional Inspector General (Addl IGP) (Grade – 1) who comes from Bangladesh Police, and directly reports to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The agency has around 64 district based offices, called District Special Branch (DSB) and also has offices in many Upazila/Thana areas. All the members are recruited from the Bangladesh Police. The SB (Special Branch) has twelve different wings through which it carries out the directives of the Government. This is the only intelligence outfit of Bangladesh which works in all strategic, operational and tactical levels. The organisation also has the capability to work within and outside the country.
At the beginning of British rule in India, the Government generally was dependent on the village-watch system for the collection of information about crime and socio-religious developments from the remote areas. There was hardly any organised system of reporting of information of political nature. Another channel of information of the local administration was their personal contacts with the Zamindars and other influential persons of the society.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the appointment of a class of functionaries known as 'Goindahs' is noticed; but these Goindahs, meaning spies were generally appointed to the suspected Thanas with instructions to keep track and report the activities of the Darogas.
The need for collection of political intelligence arose with the growth of political consciousness and political institutions in India. In fact, the history of intelligence organisation is linked with the history of national awakening and the development of organised political activities in the country.
Formation of the intelligence wing during British rule
As the Congress movement was taking off, Dufferin became aware of the inadequacy of the system of collection of political intelligence and saw in the Indian National Congress, a threat to the stability of the empire, as there was no other political movement at that time raging in the country. In response of Dufferin's proposal the Secretary of State for India issued an order on 22 December 1887 for setting up a Central Special Branch and also Special Branches of the Police Department at the headquarters of each provincial Government.
In the beginning, the Central Special Branch did not have any unit solely under their control. They were merely collating and compiling their reports received from the provincial Special Branches. But in the far-flung areas of the Empire, there was need for collecting military intelligence.
In 1901 it was, therefore, decided that the Central Special Branch which was responsible only for the collection of political intelligence should be expanded to include a small staff of selective detective agents, to be employed to monitor political movements as also to deal with those forms of organised crimes which extended beyond the limits of a single province.
Formation of district Intelligence Branch office
It gradually came to light that the ramification of the underground conspiratorial organisation were not confined to Calcutta alone but had spread to the districts, then the idea of forming Intelligence Branches at district headquarters was seriously considered. As early as in 1908, the Special Branch had set up some centres in places where the existence of underground organisations had come to light. Such centres were at Midnapore, Barishal, Deoghar, Kustia, Khulna, Jessore. Each of the centres was in-charge of an Inspector who was detailed from Calcutta and remained stationed at the Centre till he was relieved by another. On the eve of the First World War, however, it was felt necessary that there should be a senior officer in-charge of the Intelligence Branch in the districts. In some of the affected districts, Additional Superintendents of Police were posted to head the district Intelligence Branches. Where there was no Additional Superintendent of Police, the Superintendent of Police was designated as Superintendent of Police in-charge of the District Intelligence Branch. The bigger districts like Midnapore, Dhaka, Chittagang etc. had one Additional Superintendent of Police in-charge of the District Intelligence Branch. The duty of the Intelligence Branch of the District Police was twofold:
- The collection of information regarding the ramification of the conspiracy organisation.
- Investigation of the specific offences committed in furtherance to the common object of the conspiracy.
The methodology of collection and dissemination of intelligence and the system of reporting from District Branch to higher-ups were gradually evolved and codified over the years. It, however, goes without saying that the Intelligence Branch in Bengal showed exceptional ability in dealing with the terrorist violence during the period before Independence. Its excellent source work and innumerable channels of information eventually resulted in unearthing of all the groups responsible for terrorist violence.
Organisation of Special Branch
The present Additional Inspector General of Police (Add IGP) is Mir Shahidul Islam. The headquarters is a 10-storied building located at Malibagh, Rajarbagh, Dhaka, is known as KPI (Key Point Installation). The most important wing of the force charged with security planning as well as functions of intelligence-gathering and counterintelligence. There is City Special Branch (City SB) for the city areas and District Special Branch (DSB) for the districts. Major responsibilities of this branch are to meet up any intelligence required from government, registration and control of foreigners, perform verification role, give protection to the VVIPs & VIPs, intelligence gathering, immigration control etc.
Officer training is the responsibility of the Special Branch Training School. It was established in September 1992 in Uttara, Dhaka. It relocated in June 2002 to Malibagh, and again in December 2008 to Rajarbagh Police Lines of Dhaka Metropolitan Police. The school trains officers in courses on intelligence-gathering, surveillance, immigration control, and VVIP protection.