Police confined to their duties – Chamal Rajapaksa

Chamal Rajapaksa

Minister of Irrigation and State Minister of Internal Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management Chamal Rajapaksa said that of the 84,000 policemen, almost 38,000 have been deployed for work which is outside their legitimate duties such as providing security for parliamentarians, judges and other VIPs. We wish to deploy these policemen only for police duties such as apprehending those involved in criminal activities and other vices.

At present there is a shortage of policemen to perform police duties. The police stations are understaffed. In such circumstances, it is difficult to fully combat illegal drug trafficking and check the increasing wave of crime and corruption. Unless those 38,000 trained police personnel revert to their legitimate police duties, it would be a grave situation we face in preventing crime, the Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

He said if the full force of the police is deployed for police duties, the increasing crime rate can be contained. It is also of serious concern that it is the taxpayers’ money that has to bear the brunt of it. Minister Rajapaksa said after a police officer is trained for several years for police investigations and other relevant duties in the police service, it is a great loss to deploy four police officers to provide security to every parliamentarian. Therefore, a decision has been taken to deploy only two police officers for every parliamentarian.

The Minister said, “Today, crime is on the increase and there is a belief that the wave of increasing drug menace, illicit liquor and cannabis had posed a serious threat to the peace in the country due to criminal elements not being apprehended. The question is do we have enough police officers to track them?”

Minister Rajapaksa said some police officers prefer to work under parliamentarians as they are more comfortable. We should seriously consider as to why we should permit this ill-conceived practice? Policemen should be in the police force to maintain law and order and protect people. It is improper for police officers to be assigned duties such as carrying files and bags of parliamentarians. When citizens are protected it applies to parliamentarians as well. Peace will thrive if wrongdoings are nipped in the bud. Therefore, police officers should be present in every nook and corner.

Of the 38,000 policemen engaged in non-police duties, a large number is deployed to provide security to parliamentarians. If a parliamentarian visits a particular area, it is the principal duty of the local police to ensure his security. Failure to do so will result in the local police being held responsible. There is no point of policemen going behind politicians as it would amount to politicians’ losing their credibility and reputation in the eyes of the public, he said.

Minister Rajapaksa said when the security in the country is consolidated, we should convey it to the people. Else, people would think that there is still a war against terrorism, when policemen are seen escorting politicians armed with weapons. The result is that the people get distanced from politicians and it is not desirable. However, if any particular parliamentarian faces any security threat, we will detail special security for him.

(Source: Sunday Observer)