The allegations are that the police are not doing enough to prevent gun violence and that they are in cahoots with drug warlords.
The minister’s response is that the police are working on a non-political agenda and that there is no room for underworld activities in the country.
The retired senior police officer alleges that territorial policing has come to a virtual standstill and that crime prevention activity is much less or literally non-existent.
He also says that matters took a turn for the worse after last year’s protests where the vast volume of police personnel was deployed for static duty guarding fuel stations and other establishments.
Addressing a media briefing at the Presidential Media Centre on Monday, Public Security Minister Tiran Alles admitted that incidents related to underworld crime had increased.
The minister’s remarks raise more questions than answers. If, as he claims, underworld gangs are shooting each other, how did they obtain their weapons? Just a few years ago, there were fewer than the present, over 600 police stations.
They maintained law and order without the help of the security forces. Despite a so-called special programme to curb drug abuse, there has been a marked proliferation.
The minister’s response does not address the allegations of police involvement in drug trafficking or the increasing use of political influence and financial inducements on the police. It also does not address the concerns about the lack of territorial policing and the decline in crime prevention activity.
The allegations and the minister’s response highlight the serious problems facing the Sri Lankan police force. The public is losing confidence in the police and the government needs to take urgent steps to address these problems.