Dictatorship In Sri Lanka Supported By Pathetic Police Department
A Bill to provide for the establishment of a National Police Academy was taken up for the second reading in Parliament recently.
Although this Bill was to identify the objectives and functions of a National Police Academy and to provide for the management and administration of the proposed establishment, some key issues were highlighted by the members of the opposition. Politicizing the law enforcement, accepting bribes, suspects meeting sudden death while in custody, becoming political stooges of the ruling party, low salaries and poor benefits, delayed promotions and lack of professional knowledge were among the key issues highlighted during the debate; and they claimed that the proposed National Police Academy will not make much of a difference to the sorry state of the Sri Lanka Police.
United National Party Member of Parliament John Amaratunga stated that the pathetic and sorry state of the Police Department will not change with a National Police Academy. “Either the police attack the public and commit murder or vice versa. At least the police officers shoot each other. There are seven Police Colleges and the entire service has a force of 88,000. They are not given promotions and transfers unless they are political stooges. Most Police duties are now assigned to the military. The starting salary of solder is over Rs.30,000/- while a constable receives Rs.13,000/-. The Police Department is not an independent institution any more. Police officers lack knowledge on the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, and Police Ordinance. We established a Police Commission to prevent these issues when I was the respective Minister. With the UPFA government coming into power in 2004 the Police Commission was dissolved. Although the Police Commission is not in operation the salaries are paid along with other expenses reaching Rs. 46 million allocated for vehicles, building rent, foreign trips. There is no democracy but a dictatorship in Sri Lanka. If it is democracy there should be an independent police service,” said Amaratunga.
A Police sergeant had stolen some hand grenades from the Dompe Police station, a prime suspect in a murder commits suicide while in custody, Chief Inspector shoots ASP, a bribe of Rs.150,000/- taken from a driver, Senior DIG uses filthy language at subordinates, Police kidnaps a couple for a ransom of Rs.10 million, kills an unarmed protestor in Katunayake, were some of the incidents concerning the Sri Lanka Police Department highlighted by Amaratunga.
Adding more to this UNP MP Karu Jayasiriya said despite several honest Police officers the majority is corrupted. “Although culprits are reported in this Parliament arrests were neglected on many occasions due to political pressure. The house of Dr. Johnpulle was set on fire right in front of Police top brass and action was not taken to apprehend the culprits. Until today 12 journalists were murdered and some were attacked. Sirasa, Siyatha, and The Sunday Leader were set on fire. Police failed to take any action on these issues,” added Jayasuriya. However, Minister of Water Supply and Drainage and Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena moving the Bill stated that Government has been committed to establish the country’s long-term security, conditions essential for achieving peace, socio economic development and prosperity. “The transition to post-conflict phase is a visible result of that commitment. Consequently government intends to strengthen the law enforcement agencies and processes in the interest of future peace and stability. A National Police Academy will help to enhance knowledge and dedication of the Police force to curb crime,” said Minister Gunawardena.