The Sri Lanka Police held its 150th anniversary celebrations on September 3, 2016. But this year it celebrates its 153rd anniversary.
Two years after the official launching of the police service as an organisation police constable Sahan heroically laid down his life during an operation launched to arrest well known bandit Saradiel and his robber gang at Uthuwankanda in Mawanella on March 21, 1864 to a gunshot fired by Saradiel's colleague Mammale Marikkar.
Based on this incident, Police Heroes Day is observed on March 21 every year.
This year's Police Heroes Day celebrations will be held at the main heroes memorial at the Bambalapitiya Police Field Force Headquarters under the patronage of IGP Pujith Senadhibandara Jayasundara.
Commemorative ceremonies will also be held at the Constable Sahan memorial at Mawanella and the police heroes memorial erected at Rupaskulam, Ampara where a batch of 400 policemen heroically laid down their lives on June 11, 1990.
Sacrificing life in defence of the freedom and safety of fellow men is the greatest deed an individual could perform in ones lifetime.
Today we are commemorating such a great deed performed by our heroes.
From the day Constable Sahan laid down his life a total of 3,111 police men and women have laid down their lives in defence of the motherland to date.
During the war against terrorism 2,594 police men and women laid down their lives in defence of the motherland and all Sri Lankans enjoying freedom today commemorate them with great honour today.
We should also remember that another 639 police men and women have become disabled by sacrificing their future in defence of the motherland.
IGP Pujith Jayasundara had paid special attention towards the welfare of police heroes. Accordingly, the following steps are to be taken to cater to their welfare.
All allowances paid to police officers disabled during the war have been equally extended to officers disabled during normal duties involved in maintaining law and order.
* Granting pension entitlements to officers sent on retirement due to disabilities caused during normal duties even if they had not completed 10 years service.
* Construction of houses for families of police heroes at the Meerigama Walbothale Police war heroes village.
* Granting priority for dependents of police heroes at the Police Hospital.
Meanwhile, welfare activities already in operation are as follows:
* Provision of housing assistance to police heroes and their families and dependents through the Police Seva Vanitha unit.
* Granting of scholarships to children of police heroes families for school and university education.
* Medical assistance in respect of acute illness.
* Delivery of parcel of dry food rations to the dependents of dead police heroes at their door steps annually for the Sinhala and Hindu New Year.
* Issuing 'Wirusara' cards to disabled officers and dependents of departed heroes to qualify them for special privileges from 43 designated institutions.
* Granting of interest free loans to police heroes and their dependents for house building and in respect of higher education by the Police Families Welfare Society.
Throughout its 150 year long journey, the Sri Lanka Police has performed the challenge of ensuring peace and security for the people of Sri Lanka in a fearless and unremitting manner.
A grateful nation thankfully remember police heroes with honour and pride for their selfless service.