For a more assertive Police | Daily News

For a more assertive Police

A disturbing trend seems to be emerging which if not dealt with promptly and decisively could well plunge this country into anarchy and lawlessness adding to the woes brought about by the economic crisis. We are pointing out to the increasing incidents of attacks carried out on the country’s law enforcement officers who are providing protection to filling stations that are daily overrun by angry mobs and to restore order in the now all- too familiar fuel queues.

In Athurugiriya, on Saturday, six Police officers were injured when a clash broke out between two factions at a filling station. It was not clear if the policemen were deliberately targeted by the mob. But the fact that the Police officers sustained injuries means that there is no longer regard or respect shown to the khaki uniform, which indeed is a dangerous trend which could result in dire consequences from a law and order perspective.

Three Army officers too sustained injuries and were hospitalized during a similar clash at a filling station in Vishwamadu over the weekend which should be fully probed lest old wounds get reopened again 13 years after an end to the conflict. The new Minister of Law and Order Tiran Alles who is showing signs of redeeming the Police Service from the grip of politics it is hoped would put things right on this front as well. The Police should assert itself at all times and in no way be intimidated. Police officers should show the public who the boss is instead of surrendering to threats and intimidation. To see fingers pointed in face of Police officers and even on occasions being roughed up certainly does not speak much for a once proud Police Force.

True, the public is highly tensed up and had reached the end of their tether due to hardships brought about by the economic crisis. Having to stay in long queues for days to obtain the bare essentials certainly has put the public in no mood to regard such niceties as disciplined conduct and the rule of law. They are now primed to hit back at anything to vent their anger against a Government which is responsible for their collective misery and they do not care who their target is- politicians, Police officers or Army personnel. However the Police are duty bound, for the sake of law abiding citizens not to cave in to intimidatory tactics of any person or a group. They will be doing so only at the cost of law and order. Once the personnel of the country’s chief law enforcement agency are seen surrendering their authority before intimidation and thuggery in whatever form, it will spell the death knell to the rule of law, leading to a state of lawlessness and anarchy. It will embolden thugs, criminals and the criminally inclined to take the law into their hands, making it dangerous and unsafe for the ordinary peace loving public.

Law and order should at no time be compromised for whatever reasons and however compelling the circumstances may be. Already, the main Police work and policing have suffered immensely as a result of the focus being directed on guarding fuel queues and LP Gas queues by law enforcement officers.

There had been a spate of killings recently by motorcycle assassins. There were six such killings during the past two weeks with no suspect arrested so far nor have the perpetrators been identified. Instead, what we see is an increase in the number of Police officers shooting themselves with their service weapons which also is a telling indictment against the Police whose men one would like to think are the epitomes of discipline.

All this goes to show how badly our Police Service needs reform and a complete overhaul. From all evidence, the men and women in khaki at present are not up to the task of tackling crime in its new dimensions where the narcotics trade plays an integral part. Needless to say, the recent spate of slayings are all linked to drugs. However, other than apprehend the small fry the Police have so far failed to get at the king pins. Apprehending the drug lords is half the battle won in solving the present killing sprees. Big time crime busting is a specialized job for which it is doubtful if our men and women in khaki possess the necessary training. This should receive uppermost priority in any reform and upgrading planned for the Police Service. The public image of the Police too has taken a several battering in recent times not least due to the acts of certain senior officers. All the bad eggs should be got rid of- especially those doing the bidding of politicians - if the damage is to be repaired. Above all, the men and women in the Police Service should be made a contended lot if they are to risk their necks and fight crime. The deserving officers should be given promotions and encouraged in all other ways. All steps should be taken to bring back the Police to the glory days it once enjoyed. 


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