A positive move | Daily News

A positive move

Public Security Minister Tiran Alles has vowed to intensify crime-busting operations and the fight against the drug mafia. Addressing the media, the Minister said he had received intelligence reports about a threat to his life due to the intensified measures being taken to eradicate the drug menace and the underworld.

He said those with influence who are close to the drug mafia may attempt to thwart his efforts. But he will continue his mission with extra effort.

Minister Alles deserves credit for taking the fight to the underworld and he should be supported by all, irrespective of political differences in his endeavours. Crime today has taken monstrous proportions and murders are committed for the flimsiest of reasons, so much so that people are killed even over disputes centred on the price of a jackfruit.

Unlike in the past where a killing was a rarity that evoked much discussion and breast-beating, people now take murder in their stride. It is reported that on average, five killings take place on a daily basis in this country, a majority of which are linked to the drug business, particularly turf wars.

Hence, eradicating the drug menace, like Minister Alles is planning, is half the battle won. Not just the small fry, if the drug menace is to be effectively tackled, the sources should be traced and destroyed, meaning the drug kingpins. The nexus between drug lords and politicians too should be probed and decisive action taken. It is also increasingly apparent that there is a close link between some men in Khaki and drug czars. Minister Alles made a reference to this, promising to expose those in the Service who were hand in glove with the drug mafia.

Tit-for-tat killings too are on the rise. Most of the victims are those with past criminal records who are out on bail in murder cases who in turn are invariably targeted by the aggrieved party, as revenge. In this context, our justice system too should undergo reform to ensure speedy justice where criminals and those arraigned for murder are concerned. It is reported that the success rate of Police prosecutions for murder is a mere four percent. No wonder revenge killings are on the rise as those who commit murder go scot-free prompting relatives or close associates of the victims to mete out their own brand of justice.

The poor prosecution rate would also embolden murderers to carry on with their criminal activities without let or hindrance as the odds are against them having to spend time behind bars. In this context, Police should be trained in certain aspects of the law too, so that they can prosecute their cases with success, with a rise in the conviction rate.

A majority of the killings are committed by motorcycle riders wearing full-face helmets so as to avoid identification. During the 88/89 JVP insurrection too, most of the killings were committed by helmeted motorcyclists including that of actor/politician Vijaya Kumaratunga, prompting the Government to ban helmet riders.

A similar measure should be thought of at present as well since motorcycle killings are taking place with impunity with hardly any suspect arrested so far. The aspect of contract killings too should engage the mind of the Minister who is out to deal effectively with all types of crime.

Drug busting operations and dealing with the underworld should go hand in hand since both are interwoven with each other. For this, Police should be given special training and provided with incentives if they are to go that extra mile in pro-actively fighting big-time crime.

Unlike in the past, crime has taken on an extremely dangerous face with those committing murder mostly drug-induced zombies to whom the khaki uniform means nothing. The free circulation of sophisticated firearms too is another point to ponder. Hence the men in khaki will be forced to think twice before plunging themselves head-on into danger. The Police will be facing severe odds in their battle to fight dangerous crime and the drug menace given the changed dimensions of crime.

The Police should be modernized and upgraded if the challenge is to be met with success. Minister Alles should lose no time in ringing the necessary changes. Handpicked men should be trained and deployed for special operations to fight organised crime and the underworld.

The Police Service is certainly not short of dedicated, brave cops as was proved recently where an unarmed Police Sergeant single-handedly thwarted two armed robbers from making off with a money bag of a businessman in Thambuttegama. Such men and women should be singled out for due reward and elevated in rank. Any bad eggs should be identified and shown the door. These are mostly those who owe their appointments to politicians. Their presence will only be a hindrance to dedicated personnel keen to get on with their job.

Minister Alles has already demonstrated that he means business by removing all Police OICs who got their appointments through political influence. He should continue in the same vein in his fight against the drug mafia and the underworld.


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