The optical absorptions are calculated in an InAs/GaSb-based type II and broken-gap quantum well under applied electric field. Two absorption peaks were observed through intraband transitions within the same material layer. The absorption induced by the interlayer transition is rather weak due to the small overlap of electron and hole wavefunctions. The optical absorption can be significantly affected by the applied electric field. Our results suggest that InAs/GaSb-based type II and broken-gap QWs can be employed as two-colour photodetectors, which can be controlled by the applied electric field.