Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa demands urgent remedial action to restore public confidence in the police. `Now that the war against the LTTE is over, their priorities should change without further delay to meet people s aspirations,` he said.
Addressing a gathering at the Katana Police Academy yesterday, the war veteran emphasised that it was the duty of the IGP and the police top brass to revitalise the department.
In his first public criticism of the police department, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that the police had been accused of failing to investigate complaints or delaying inquiries. He referred to weakness on the part of the police in prosecuting cases, while calling for corrective measures.
IGP Mahinda Balasuriya, too, acknowledged severe shortcomings in prosecution process and the
need to strengthen the department s capacity to investigate.
Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that over the past 30 years the police had been primarily engaged in battling terrorism in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and areas outside the war zone as well. At that time the national requirement had been to meet the terrorist challenge, but the police could now open a new chapter. At the end of the war, the police should be responsible for maintaining law and order.
The Defence Secretary said that the Police Academy would help produce efficient officers to meet new challenges in the post-war period.
The IGP recently ordered the relocation of the Police Academy from Attidiya to Katana pending major repairs to the facility. The Defence Secretary said that there was a suitable environment at Katana.
Defence Secretary Rajapaksa underscored the pivotal importance of sustaining the Police Academy. He said that there was no purpose in launching projects, which they could not sustain. He expected the police to maintain high standards.
The war had caused an expansion of criminal networks, he said. Referring to the illicit transfer of arms, the underworld and the lucrative heroin trade, he urged the police to eradicate them.
Rajapaksa said that junior officers and men could not meet given tasks unless they had the required training, expertise and confidence. He said that it would not be right to expect them to impress without providing them training. `High level discussions and directives are useless unless they receive training required to meet challenges,` he said.
A smiling Defence Secretary urged the police to win the hearts and minds of the people. Referring to the media, he said that the press was full of stories critical of the police. He called upon the police to do their utmost to transform themselves into an efficient outfit.