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Editorial - People losing confidence in the police

28 August 2012 08:30 pm - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera, the leader of the Jathika Hela Urumaya a close ally of the government, has raised some bombshell questions on the widely-publicised robbery of priceless artefacts from the Colombo Museum and the recent arrest of some suspects.

Addressing a news conference, he asked why the police took six months to trace the suspects some of whom were drug addicts. The monk pointed out that when foreign currency and a gem-studded wrist watch were stolen from the residence of a VVIP’s brother, the police had arrested the suspect within two days.

He said he believed the unprecedented Colombo Museum robbery had some high-level political connections because the museum’s closed-circuit TV cameras had broken down or were dismantled the previous night. The monk charged that high-level politics was involved in this scandalous robbery and he believed police were trying to divert attention or cover it up by producing some suspects.
Amid allegations that some of the artefacts recovered may be fakes, major questions have arisen over what the police are doing or not doing and who is directing them.

During the past few years there has been a gradual loss of public confidence in the police, largely because of the politicisation of crime and the criminalisation of politics. This is a tragic situation because it is necessary to have a people-friendly police service to maintain a just and fair society. The impartiality and independence of the police in maintaining law and order have also been seriously eroded in recent years. Most people are cynical when the police say special teams have been appointed to probe a crime because they know it will often end up at a dead-end with little or nothing being done. Most independent observers believe that a vital first step in restoring public faith and confidence in the police must be the setting up of an independent Police Commission. This cannot be done because the 18th Amendment gives the President absolute power to set up a police commission. The one that exists today can only look into complaints, and has no power to ensure the independence and impartiality of the police. In such a crisis situation, most independent analysts believe the President needs to rise to the level of statesmanship and reactivate the 17th Amendment, which was one of the most enlightened pieces of legislation introduced after the 1978 constitution. If and when the 17th Amendment is reactivated, an all-party constitutional council will nominate members to an independent Police Commission, an independent Elections Commission an independent Public Services Commission and an independent Judicial Services Commission.

This is the only way to restore the rule of law, good governance and transparency and to curb the plunder of public resources through rampant corruption and bribery. This will pave the way for a just and fair society, sustainable development and a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources. 
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  Comments - 3

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  • Crazy Horse Wednesday, 29 August 2012 02:46 AM

    Losing? People have already lost their confidence in the police. The only ones that have confidence in them are the politicos!!!

    sunila mendis Wednesday, 29 August 2012 04:22 AM

    Editorial after editorial news papers and right thinking people have been agitating for a corruption free orderly society. But the government remains deaf and blind to public opinion..

    Manik Tuesday, 28 August 2012 11:52 PM

    " Politicisation of crime and the criminalisation of politics" started under this Govt. and people who voted this Govt to power should take serious note of this.


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