DHAKA: Female police officers in Bangladesh are donning school uniforms and going undercover in playgrounds in the country’s northeast, police said on Thursday, as part of a nationwide crackdown on bullying.
The move follows reports that at least 14 teenage girls, most of them students, have committed suicide this year as a result of bullying. “We have assigned eight freshly recruited female officers to pretend they are real students – wearing school uniform and carrying school bags,” the local police chief in northeastern Kishorganj district, Mir Mosharraf Hossain, told AFP. “The female officers have back-up from other plainclothed officers so that if any boys harass them, they can easily arrest the young men in question,” Hossain said.
The authorities have decided to employ the novel tactic after a drive to convince young female students to report bullies foundered as many victims were too scared to lodge formal complaints, he added. “This new method works well – we’ve arrested seven male teenagers in two days alone,” Hossain said.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 21st, 2010.