President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday called upon senior Police officers to get involved in combating crime and warned them not to pass on that responsibility to junior officers including constables.
He declared that 3,258 cases had piled up at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and they included high profile investigations like the assassination of one-time Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, attempts on the lives of Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
`Don`t pass on your responsibilities to the police constables, the Officer-in-charge (OIC) or the OIC Crimes and wash your hands off. You have to intervene and get better results,` he told Deputy Inspectors General and Senior Superintendents of Police at a meeting at Temple Trees yesterday.
President Rajapaksa noted that cases which had been put aside with the remarks `accused unknown` were numerous.
`It is no doubt a difficult task to catch criminals. But it is also not an impossible task if proper efforts are made,` he told them.
An Inspector, according to a recent media report, had remarked that senior police officers were shielding drug barons. Such remarks emanating from a junior officer, President Rajapaksa said, were a scathing indictment on the top order of the Police service. It also reflected the views held by officers in junior ranks. `You cannot solve this problem by interdicting the man who said it.
`You can only do so by taking the responsibility for the law and order situation in areas under their control,` he said.
He also asked senior police officers to ensure human rights were not violated when they were performing their duties. He said this was a high priority for his Government.
Later, the president held a closed door meeting with the Police Chief Victor Perera, senior DIGs and SSPs of the Western Province.
He told them that the police should carry out their duties within the premise that all suspects were innocent until proven guilty and the onus was on the Police to prove the cases against the suspects.
`All suspects taken into custody must be treated as human beings and their human rights must not be violated,` the President told the top brass.
The President also directed the senior officers to bring those responsible for the recent spate of killings and abductions to justice.
He mentioned in particular the discovery of bodies in Kandana and Anuradhapura and urged the senior officers to expedite the investigations and track down the culprits. He called for a report on these incidents by March 15th.
The President also said he wanted the police to take stern action taken against drug trafficking. Among those who attended the meeting were DIGs D. W. Pratapasinghe, Sirisena Herath, Sarath Jayasundera, K.P.P. Pathirana, H.N.B. Amanwela, Jayantha Wickremaratna, Senior Superintendent Sarath Lugoda and Superintendent K. Arasaratnam.