The government is to vest Police powers with the security forces in view of what it sees as a growing terrorist threat, a top government official said yesterday.
`The decision has been taken as it is difficult to collaborate with the police at all times,` he said.
Though emergency regulations are in force, the security forces usually seek Police assistance, to enforce the law when dealing with civilians. If the new regulations are implemented security forces will not require police assistance when carrying out search operations.
`The new move requires the military to follow legal proceedings, which will not harm the public security,` he explained.
The official said the initiative was taken to streamline public security in the face of terrorism. `The police alone cannot protect peace and security, as such the government decided to vest police powers in the security forces,` he said.
`It was a revival of the process prevailing under the emergency,` he added. Since November 2003, emergency regulations were introduced by then President Chandrika Kumaratunga soon after the assassination of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, leading the military, assisted by the police to launch search and clear operation in anywhere in the country. Since then, the Parliament extended the regulations by holding a vote every month until now.
However, the UNP, has accused the government of using emergency regulations to suppress its political opponents and the media.