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Saturday, 15 October 2011

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Towards an efficient Police

The Police Department must be re-structured to accommodate the best and provide quick promotions to the lowest rank depending on their performance and reputation and loyalty. I remember a saying at the Police Training School “A Pound of Loyalty is worth an ounce of efficiency.” This is very true as I found the most efficient Policemen or Sergeant who worked with me in most instances was corrupt and not loyal to me or to the Department.

Training systems, management systems must fall in line with the most modern systems with the latest technology and we have many retired Senior Policemen, former IGPs and former senior DIGs who can contribute in no small measure towards its development along with some Marketing and Human Resource personnel in the private sector who are conversant with the latest communication systems etc. An Advisory Committee comprising such persons therefore, is inevitable for restructuring the Police and to advise the IGP, on important issues.

Investigation procedures

Complaints against the Police for use of force are mainly due to the lack of staff at police stations who are faced with fatal accidents, providing security to VVIPs, public related court work - crime. I, as a police officer too encountered these problems due to lack of staff unlike the CID which has one or two cases to be handled by a team. I recall my period at Kosgoda Police when almost everyday there were fatal accidents, gang warfare, burglaries, murders with court cases to attend.


A disciplined Police force

My staff consisting of nine had to solve cases will naturally forget about investigation procedures taught at the Training School which consume time and in haste apprehend a suspect or suspects and use force on them to extract information.

The Police Department must increase the number of police stations, staff and vehicles and provide them with more modern and recommended systems to solve crime. Today like in the past, a police officer is exhausted working sometimes 24 hours with the same salary, no overtime and rest. Don’t they also have families? The Department must be strengthened with proper trained staff properly equipped and motivated to solve crime, not use them to work long and strenuous hours and naturally they are harassed by the superiors, politicians and are exhausted then they take it on the poor public.

Staff quarters

In the past the Police, ie from colonial times, had certain checks and balances in that all married staff were accommodated at Head Quarters Police Station within the premises for their safety and the safety of the state in case of an emergency. Even the bachelors were given singleman’s barracks - some outstation police stations too had this facility. This was done away by an Inspector General of Police in the 1960s who had no experience in the field and took office from the position of DIG, CID.

He in fact did away with the systems which were in place to instill discipline in the service by for eg. doing away with regular parades, with kit inspections, physical training etc, which was the next stage of deterioration of discipline in the Police Department.

It is in the parade ground that discipline was instilled into the men to ensure punctuality, respecting superiors and even handling riots etc. Transport system provided to the Police is most inadequate as the public requesting for transport and fuel for Police vehicles they leave room for corruption.

Time is ripe to re-structure the Police Department and it may be necessary that the colonial look of the uniform should be changed.

But there are some good systems we should still retain like the maintenance of Messes in every province and sport meets which will improve public relations.

Police Cadet Corp

In fact Stanley Senanayake commenced a Police Cadet Corp to recruit school boys and it is sad that it has been lost with time.

The scrapping of a Reserve Police which recruited members of the public interested in assisting the Police on special occasions building Police public relations is also lost due to some foolish decision by a past IGP. Such decisions and the absorption of the Reserve Police into the permanent cadre brought in much resentment and unfair appointments over the permanent cadre. Another instance is the abandonment of the Police Academy and its premises to the Army. The Academy should be given priority in professionalising the police officers in law and order and technical training.

Some officers of the Police Department in the recent past played ‘Ball’ with politicians sacrificing the integrity and dignity of the Police Department. It is indeed sad. I sincerely hope the Department will make a ‘turn around’ by ensuring that graduates will be recruited as Inspectors and not as Probationary Assistant Superintendents of Police, as done in Malaysia, and uplift the image of the Department and win back the confidence of the public, the judiciary and law abiding citizens of this country - The ‘Backbone’ of the Police is the Inspectorate and in the recruitment as Probationary Sub Inspectors who should possess a minimum of GCE ‘A’ Level.

There should be better avenues of promotion to the lower ranks as in the past even to rise to the rank of a Senior Superintendent of Police with the Police Academy playing an important role giving commitment and dedication and honesty its due place. The present Inspector-General of Police appears to be having a vision and from what one could see should be motivated by the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to enhance the image of the Police.

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