Dignified enduring mission | Daily News

Dignified enduring mission

Sri Lanka Police celebrates 152 years

Part I

The universe has endowed the human beings with a higher cognitive capacity, which surpasses that of all other living beings, probably as a means of ensuring the existence of the world. Thus, we are born into this world and lead our lives as social beings. Concerning our lifespan from womb to tomb, and even further in case of illegitimate conceptions or illegal exhumations, Sri Lanka Police is entrusted with the bounden duty of shouldering the constitutional responsibility and ensuring the safety of the general public of our motherland. Adopting the Buddhist words of wisdom, “Dhammo hawe rakkhathi dhammachari” (One who lives with the Dhamma is protected by the Dhamma) as its motto while wearing the emblem bearing a dauntless tusker in the middle and the dharma chakra (Dharma Wheel) on the head, Sri Lanka Police is dedicated towards maintaining law and order while safeguarding lives and property of the Sri Lankan community. This is considered to be one of the major organisations among the three government institutions which were initially established in this country and its glorious history and the 152nd anniversary is thus celebrated with great vim and gusto.

Sri Lanka Police also marks the inception of the first security service in Sri Lanka. The history of the security service of this country goes back to the reign of King Pandukabhaya and this service owes its origin to the position named, ‘Nagara Guththika’. It has gradually evolved up to the Dutch and Portuguese eras. After occupying the maritime areas of the country in 1796, the British established a police service in this country. The Police Force was further streamlined under the regulations imposed by the Act bearing No. 14 passed under the British Crown in 1806 and at the time the Police Force consisted of 28 Police Force Constables. Payment of salaries to the Police Force was made with effect from July 9, 1833.

civil administration

Then, 47 police stations were established centred on commercial cities and 585 police officers were deployed for city protection duties. Maradana Police station was recorded in history as the first police station to be established in this manner. With the appointment of George William Robinson Campbell as the first Inspector General of Police on September 3, 1966, as per the provisions of the Police Ordinance No. 16 of 1865, the inauguration of the police service as an organisation in this country took place constitutionally. The said date has been declared as the Police Day. Since the appointment of Sir Richard Aluvihare on January 6, 1947 as the first Sri Lankan Inspector General of Police, the occidental aura emanated from the police service has begun to be overpowered by the Sri Lankan spirit.

At present, Sri Lanka Police functions under the Ministry of Public Administration and Law & Order and has become a solid government institution which consists of 64 Functional Divisions, 42 Territorial Divisions, 491 Police Stations and strength of more than 90,000 police officers.

The term ‘Polis’ has been derived from the French language and it means, ‘the guardian of the civil administration’. There is no other public institution than police organisation which faces greater challenges in a country where the civil administration is in effect due to the absence of internal disputes. Sri Lanka Police, which has encountered three internal civil disputes, has faced many daunting challenges subsequent to the war situation prevailed for three decades in North Eastern provinces.

The duties of a police organisation in other countries are crime investigation, crime prevention, maintenance of law and order and traffic management. However, the professional role of a Sri Lankan police officer is played in a more complex way. In addition to the basic police duties such as crime investigation, crime prevention, maintenance of law and order and traffic management, the citizens of the country currently expect the police to perform tasks such as implementing laws on liquor and narcotics, prevention of communicable diseases like dengue, protection of forests, coastal conservation, wildlife conservation, prevention of illegal sand mining and illegal excavation, even though there are separate government bodies which are functioning to implement such environmental laws. At present, even the safety of the railway crossings is ensured under police supervision. Thus, the duty of the police officer has become extremely complex.

On the other hand, it brings us great pleasure to think of the sense of confidence Sri Lanka Police has inspired in the Executive, Legislature and the general public for choosing us to assign a significant share of all these tasks. In other countries, usually, the police officers are not assigned to other duties. However, the Indian Police are deployed for the performance of other duties and a different structure has been designed for that purpose. The officers of Sri Lanka Police are discharging those duties on a daily basis and sometimes even the officers of the Special Task Force, which is the elite paramilitary forces unit of Sri Lanka Police, might assume the role of a valiant soldier while discharging ordinary police duties.

Sri Lanka Police that has inherited a proud history of 152 years is offering many services covering various fields to more than twenty million Sri Lankans. Protecting lives and property of Sri Lankan citizens, Sri Lanka Police has presently become a bosom friend of the general public and it stands upright like a giant tree above a thick canopy of praise, blame, commendation and criticism while confronting all the difficulties and challenges around the clock in both sun and rain.

The number of police stations that were 437 in 2015 have been increased up to 492 to date by the present Inspector General of Police, Pujith Jayasundara, who pays special attention towards improving the basic facilities and service facilities necessary to fulfil the public needs efficiently by bridging the gap between the public and police. This provided a great relief for the people who had to travel a long way with great difficulty to get services from police. New police stations have been established by further segmenting some of the larger police areas. This has further reduced the population density of the respective police stations and therefore those people have been able to get their services more efficiently.

challenges of preventing crimes

Furthermore, taking measures to develop human and physical resources in Sri Lanka Police with the intention of ensuring the security of the society in a peaceful country can be perceived as a huge achievement of the citizens of this country.

Numerous are the social, economic, political and cultural problems faced by the citizens of this country in which a population of more than twenty million comprises of a mosaic of cultures and races such as Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers who are following religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism and Islam in this country. Various measures are being taken by Sri Lanka Police for preventing crimes and minimizing crimes through the application of knowledge, technology and training to overcome those challenges paying attention to the crimes against the lives and property of those diverse communities. Although it is said that the crimes are on the increase at present when compared with the statistics on reported crimes it becomes clear that the number has only decreased.

This becomes evident when analyzing statistical data of 15 years in which the tendency to talk about criminal incidents have increased. Criminal incidents were also reported during the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 when compared to the present.

However, since news articles on war had occupied more space on newspapers, incidents of crimes did not attract much public attention. After the year 2009, headlines related to war had been replaced with headlines about criminal incidents, creating a basis for discussion. That is not a factor which should be construed as an increase in crimes.

For an example, reports on criminal incidents occurred during the year 2008 and 2017-2018 (up to July 31) are given in the table.

A growing trend in rape cases can be observed and it should be mentioned that this major social problem has been caused due to the parents’ inability to recognize their responsibilities towards children. The number of rape cases reported in 2017 is 1732. Out of those, 294 instances are related to rape cases in females over 16 years and the number of rape cases committed with the consent of females below 16 years is 1205. The number of rape cases in females below 16 years committed without consent is 142. Since the children under the age of 16 should be under the protection of their parents; these children must have become rape victims as a result of not getting proper attention and security of their parents. It becomes clear that the duty of police has been performed efficiently by bringing the percentage of solving rape cases up to 94.2% in 2018. Further, it becomes evident that citizens should also assume their share of social responsibilities in the process of crime prevention.

Through the application of modern technology for investigating crimes, Sri Lanka Police have been able to initiate a significant development in the field of investigation. A great assistance is being given by Scene of Crime Officers (SOCO) who has undergone a proper training, officers and hounds of Police Kennels Division, Fingerprint Officers and Photographers of Police Criminal Records Division to facilitate the investigations and to identify criminals. 


 

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