Daily News Online

Wednesday, 18 January 2012






Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Welcome independence for Police

The public is certain to warmly welcome Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa's pronouncement to the effect that the Police Force is being provided the independence to enforce the law equitably and with a firm hand. It would be superfluous to emphasize that the Police performs a most invaluable service, particularly from the viewpoint of the general public. The Police and the judiciary are two state institutions that the public invariably turns to in its hour of need and it is crucial that these agencies of the state enjoy supreme empowerment.

It is gratifying to find, therefore, as important a state functionary as the Defence Secretary underscoring the importance of the independence and professional integrity of the Police. These are indeed important requirements if law and order is to prevail and there is no denying that internal order and calm are prerequisites for sustained development. Besides, of course, the Police could be the last veritable refuge for the 'small man', from the power drunk politicians, hoodlums and other parasitic social dregs who ride rough shod over our citizenry and bring blight into their lives. If the Police Department does not face up to these dregs very squarely and courageously, the lives of the ordinary people would be gravely imperiled.

It is important that sentiments endorsing the independence of state agencies, such as, the Police, are coming from sections of the executive arm of government. On paper, the Police and other important agencies and institutions of the state are independent and free to execute their mandates or duties and responsibilities expected of them. Over the years, however, this has hardly been the case. Nothing new would be said by stating that most often than not, elements among the influential and the mighty of this country, including some blustering and bullying politicians, have got in the way of the Police carrying out its duties. During the conflict years, it was almost habitual for fuming and frothing politicians to attempt to 'soften' honest police officers with 'a transfer to Jaffna' threat, if their demands were not met. So influential were some of these puffed-up and paranoid politicians with the administrations of the times.

Consequently, the Police and other vital state institutions suffered debilitation and humiliation. They were demoralized to the point where they could not carry out their responsibilities with the required vigour and zeal. Besides, interference by some politicians in the affairs of the Police Department resulted in it being mal-administered and politicized to a considerable degree. Hopefully, all this would end henceforth and the Police Department allowed the independence which is due to it to carry out its functions effectively and conscientiously.

'Independent Police Commissions' and like bodies would be absolutely inessential if the Police Force is not tampered with by interfering politicians and decision-makers and allowed to perform its duties undisturbed and without let or hindrance. With the assurances of the Defence Secretary on this score, it is hoped that the Police would see better times in the days ahead.

However, it is vital that the Police Force has an eye to quality rather than mere quantity, now that law and order duties would not prove to be as demanding as they used to in the conflict years. Put more simply, the Police must ensure that its staff, at all levels, while increasing to the required proportions, acquires the necessary skills and capabilities which are relevant to their duties. That is, quality personnel must be brought out in increasing numbers. It is not the case that this is not happening, but it should not be forgotten that the ideal before the Police is to be constantly people-friendly and very accessible to the public.

This is particularly important in these post-conflict times. We need a bilingual Police in the North-East and it is to the degree to which this is achieved that the people of those regions would be ably served. Needless to say, the people of the North-East and elsewhere must be served empathetically if they are to lead contented lives and feel at home in this country.

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