Police awaits decision on PNB chief transfer

Wednesday, 1 July 2020 00:15 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Police Commission to decide on PNB transfers 
  • Defence Secy warns senior Police

By Asiri Fernando

The Police Department yesterday requested the Police Commission to authorise the transfer of DIG Sanjeewa Medawatta, who is in-charge of the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB), possibly to the Police Welfare division. 

The move came after four PNB personnel, including a Sub-Inspector were interdicted on Monday for alleged links to narcotic traffickers. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested the four PNB personnel last week and began an investigation into the allegations, which were made by a narcotics trafficker who had been arrested in Minuwangoda last week. The four, held on detention orders by the CID, include a Police SI, two Sergeants and a Constable.  The transfer is seen as a warning to other senior Police officers that they will be held responsible for what happens in their respective divisions. Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne (Rtd.) warned senior Police officers yesterday that they will be held responsible for effective crime control in their respective areas of responsibility (AORs). Daily FT learned that DIG G.K.J. Aponsu may be appointed as acting director to head the troubled PNB. “You need to curb illegal activities that are increasing at an alarming rate without heeding to forces that might influence you against it. And you should also protect the dignity of the uniform that you wear. No Police officer, from senior DIGs, DIGs to OICs in their respective areas of responsibility, can wash off their hands as they all are responsible for the increase in crimes rates in their areas,” Gunaratne said, addressing senior Police officers representing all provinces at a special meeting held at the MOD yesterday.  Addressing the gathering, Gunaratne quoted from letters that he received from citizens complaining about Police action and inaction. He questioned the Senior DIGs and DIGs on how the Police could retain the respect of the public if such incidents happen in their areas of responsibility. 

According to the MOD, a directive issued by the Ministry on 5 April, instructing Superintendents of Police (SP) to submit reports on the organised criminals and drug traffickers in their respective Police divisions, has not been filed by the relevant officers as of yesterday. This prompted the Secretary of the Ministry of Defence to direct the Acting IGP Chandana Wickremaratne to look into the failure. 

“If it took two-and-a-half months to implement, how can we take the perpetrators to the book?” the Defence Secretary had queried from the Police officers, pointing out that a directive from the Ministry or the IGP must be carried out promptly. 

“I want to tell you the same thing that I told the prison officials. From today onwards, you have to perform your duties properly in a responsible manner. Let me know if any of you were not allowed to perform your duties. I have arranged this meeting today to request you to perform your duties to gain respect for the uniform that you wear and it is your responsibility not to leave room for any political force to harass people in your respective areas,” Gunaratne stressed. 

It is expected that the Police Commission will inform its decision regarding the transfer to the Elections Commission, seeking its concurrence, prior to authorising the transfer. According to the Police Media Unit, no official notification by the Police Commission had been received by the time this paper went in to print.