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BASL urges President to name a person capable of restoring public confidence in Police Department

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) says the next IGP should be a person who can restore public confidence in the Police Department.

In a letter dated 27 June, addressed to President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the BASL has stressed the need to restore public confidence in the police. The letter reminds the President that the post of IGP has fallen vacant on 26 June.

the letter:

“We are now aware that the office of the Inspector General of Police has fallen vacant on 26th of June 2023. The IGP is the Head of the Police Department and has security of tenure in terms of the Removal of Officers Act No. 5 of 2002. The BASL is of the view that public confidence in the Police is vital for the administration of justice and the rule of law. Hence, it is of utmost importance that the best possible appointment be made to that office.

In recent times we have witnessed serious erosion of public confidence in the Police. The BASL has previously highlighted the lack of independence, politicisation, police brutality, custodial deaths, and lack of professionalism, have all contributed to the erosion of public confidence in the Police. Further, we are of the view that the Easter Sunday attacks are a clear example of the grave ramifications of incompetent individuals holding such high office.

In the case of Mohammed Rashid Fathima Sharmila v K.W.G. Nishantha and others SCFR 398/2008- S.C.M. 03.02.2023 the Supreme Court observed that the police have lost the credibility it ought to have, in the following manner: “It only highlights the utterly unprofessional approach to duty by the personnel who man it and as a consequence, people are increasingly losing trust in the Police. It had lost the credibility it ought to enjoy as a law enforcement agency. The incident relevant to this application had taken place in 2008, however, this court observes that instances of death of suspects in police custody are continuing to happen, even today.” (Aluwihare J)

Further, the BASL is also of the view that prior to the approval of the appointment of the Inspector General of Police that the procedures to be followed in regard to recommendations or approvals for appointments under Article 41B or 41C should be determined by the Constitutional Council as provided for in Article 41E(6) of the Constitution.

In the aforesaid the BASL urges that it is of utmost importance that the next Inspector General of Police should be an officer whose service in the police force is exemplary and unblemished and able to restore public confidence in the Sri Lanka Police.”

With the inputs from The Island.

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