End these slayings | Daily News

End these slayings

According to media reports there had been 12 street killings during the past three weeks - a common feature being that all these killings were carried out by motorcycle riders. Two weeks ago, the pillion rider on a motorcycle casually got down and mowed down a 23-year-old youth with what appeared to be a T 56 gun and thereafter nonchalantly rode away watched by hundreds of helpless bystanders, in Elakanda, Hendala. On Wednesday, two persons were gunned down in Moratuwa, the entire episode clearly captured on CCTV. In between these two incidents, many other lives were snuffed out in this manner.

The Police have so far failed to solve any of these crimes, let alone apprehend the killers. There is no knowing when the next killing would take place. It appears that the economic crisis and chaos in the fuel and LP Gas queues have provided the ideal diversion for criminal elements to have a field day.

This situation is taking a dangerous turn and there is the real possibility of innocent bystanders getting in the way of the marauding killers and falling victim, if the law enforcement does not act fast. Law and Order Minister Tiran Alles should take up this matter with the seriousness it deserves and get the Police to hunt down the assassins, lest impunity set in and the killings continue.

All such slayings point to revenge killings and/or drug rivalry and the Police should begin their investigations from this standpoint. Alas, the Police are being deployed more on maintaining order in fuel and LP Gas queues at the expense of investigating murders and serious crimes.

The IGP should take immediate steps to halt these killings which have now become a daily routine on our streets. Sadly, the Police today are conditioned to react to situations rather than going to the root of crime and seeking out criminals. The Police should be ordered to hunt down would-be assassins rather than wait for the killings to take place to act. We see on TV Police spokesmen liberally revealing the names and aliases of well known killers and criminals. Then why not apprehend such characters if they are known to the Police and are roaming freely in public? At least a close watch should be kept on such notorious characters.

The Police should take pre-emptive measures to combat crime rather than wait till incidents occur. From all available evidence, the Police are not equipped or trained to handle the challenges posed by modern day crime. Crime has assumed new dimensions with the narcotics element and the free availability of firearms, which has given the upper hand to the underworld. Unlike in the past, the Police today are not dealing with IRCs or village thugs but a highly dangerous monster in the form of gangs involved in the narcotics business armed with sophisticated weapons. It is highly doubtful whether our law enforcement personnel can meet this challenge head on.

The politicization of the Police Service too is partly responsible for the deterioration in standards. The IGP is on record stating that over 90 per cent of OIC appointments were done at the behest of ruling party politicians and this was partly responsible for the inaction in the face of attacks on the homes and properties of politicians on May 9.

Minister Alles, as a priority measure, should take steps to upgrade and modernize the Police Service so that it could measure up to the required standards it was in the old days when the Police was free of political interference and functioned independently. There were Police Officers at the time who are still spoken of with respect. They told interfering politicians where to get off. They lived in the lion’s den but survived to tell the tale.

It is such officers that we require today and not stooges of the kind we witnessed at Galle Face on that day of infamy. The war years saw all recruitment standards being done away with due to lack of manpower in the Police, invariably paving the way for the entry of bad eggs. The Police have their share of these bad eggs and the present deterioration in standards could be the result.

Hence, a major shake-up of the Police Service is called for and dedicated officers devoid of political affiliations should be given pride of place. All such handpicked officers should be duly rewarded in terms of promotions and emoluments so that we would have a Police Service and a set of officers dedicated to their assigned duties and tasks.

No Police officer will stick his or her neck out to prevent or fight crime if such officers are disgruntled due to discrimination, and denied opportunities. All corrupt elements in the various branches of the Police should be identified and got rid of if the Police Service is to be cleansed and its reputation preserved. Above all, the Police should be deployed mainly to fight the rising wave of crime with a view to ending the current killing spree and making our streets safe for the ordinary peace loving public.

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