The main sources of the Bangladesh Police force's history come from Manushanghita, which are the hieroglyphics of Emperor Asoka and the stories of renowned travelers. In Orthoshastra by Koutilla, nine types of spies are mentioned. During that period, policing was confined in the efforts of collecting intelligence in order to curb anti-governmental activities, and to maintain law and order in the society. The duties of spies were varied, such as conducting surveillance over the activities of ministers, civil, and military officials, for which, different means of temptations and instigation's were used
Details of policing activities during the middle age are also challenging to find. However, during the periods of the great sultans, an official holding the position of Muhtasib used to perform the duties of policing. This person was the chief of police, in charge of public works, and the inspector of public ethics simultaneously. In urban areas, Kotwalswere responsible for performing police duties. The policing system introduced by Sher Shah Suri was further organized during the period of Emperor Akbar: the Emperor organized his administrative structure introducing Fouzdari (the principal representative of the Emperor), Mir Adal and Kazi (the head of judicial department), and Kotwal (the chief police official of larger cities). This system was effective in maintaining the law and order in cities, and was implemented in Dhaka. Many district sadar police stations are still called Kotwali police stations. In the Mughal period, Kotwal emerged as an institution.
A Fouzdar was appointed to every administrative unit of the government (district), under whom there were some artillery and cavalry forces. There was a disciplined police system during the Mughal period, though there was no professional police force like that in the British period. It has been opined that there was a remarkable development in the maintenance of law and order and criminal administration during the reign of the Muslim rulers
In the early stage of the Industrial Revolution, when England was facing grave crisis due to socioeconomic transformation, the necessity of an effective organized police service was keenly felt. Sir Robert Peel, then the Prime Minister, introduced a bill in the British Parliament in 1829 which created an organized civil police in London. The success of the London police in controlling social disorder and crime was admired by not only the people of England but also of European and American countries: New York City copied the London model with some modifications when it organized the first Municipal Police Force, in 1833.
In 1858, full control of the Indian Territory was taken over from the East India Company by the British government. The success of the London police organized under Peel's Act of 1829 prompted the British government to reform the police system in the sub-continent in a similar way to British constabularies. With this end in view, a Police Commisioner was set up 1840, and on the recommendation of the commission of the Police Act (Act V of 1861), was passed by the British Parliament. Under this Act a police force was created in each province of British India, and placed under the control of the provincial government. The administration of the police force of a province was vested upon an officer styled as the Inspector General of Police. The administration of the police in a district was placed under the Superintendent of Police. The Act is still in force throughout the sub-continent, and regulates the function of police in Bangladesh, as well as the other countries of the sub-continent.
After partition of the sub-continent in 1947, the police force in Bangladesh was first named as the East Bengal Police, and then as the East Pakistan Police; however, it continued to function on the same lines as during the British rule
Role in Liberation War
In the Bangladesh Liberation War, Bengali-speaking police officers participated with the citizens, leading to deaths from most ranks, fighting with rifles against the Pakistani. The resistance by the Bengali members of police at Rajarbagh is considered the first chapter of armed struggles during the War of Independence.
Mahbubuddin Ahmed, Bir Bikram, the Sub-Divisional Police Officer of Jhenidah at that time, led the guard of honour given to the members of the Mujibnagar Cabinet when the provisional Government of Bangladesh took oath on 17 April 1971, during the liberation war
After the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country on 16 December 1971, the police force was recognized and assumed the role of a national police force. At present, Bangladesh Police is primarily responsible for the preservation of peace and order, protection of life and property of the people and prevention and detection of crime. The traditional role of police in Bangladesh has undergone change after the liberation: the role of police is no longer confined to maintenance of law and order and prevention and detection of crime, and to meet the need of an independent and developing country, the police are now required to assist in developing the state and such kinds of activities by providing the basic security required for sustained economic growth of the country. It is further playing a vital role in dealing with insurgency in some areas of the country which impedes development activities and threatens the security of the state.