No room for interference in crime prevention measures – Minister Tiran Alles | Sunday Observer

No room for interference in crime prevention measures – Minister Tiran Alles

25 June, 2023

President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Public Security Minister Tiran Alles have assured there shall be no influence from any quarter in implementing the intensified crime prevention and control measures now being undertaken by the Police, Police Spokesman SSP Nihal Talduwa told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

SSP Talduwa said that the Police were ready to undertake any crime and violence-preventing security approaches as per the IGP’s instructions to reduce crime involving illegal firearms in the hands of narcotics and underworld gangs.

Thalduwa said these steps follow instructions issued by Public Security Minister Tiran Alles to the Inspector General of Police, C.D. Wickremeratne. The police top brass of the Western and Southern Provinces are intensifying efforts to bolster their departments to effectively deter and reduce the apparent rise in murders, thefts, interpersonal violence, and crimes linked to illegal firearms, the Police spokesman said.

The Minister has instructed the IGP to take decisive action against criminal offenders using illegal firearms. The instructions came during an emergency meeting held between Minister Tiran Alles and Public Security Ministry Secretary Viyani Gunathilaka with the IGP, Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon, Southern Province SDIG S.C. Madawatta, and Commander of the Special Task Force DIG Waruna Jayasundara.

The Police would soon announce a general weapon amnesty to collect illegal firearms as per instructions from Public Security Minister Alles as part of its measures to address the problem of crimes involving small arms, said SSP Thalduwa. Those who have illegal firearms can surrender them to the police until July 31 with no questions asked, once the amnesty is effective.

We asked SSP Thalduwa whether the homicides and crimes related to illegal guns have risen in Western and Southern Provinces due to police needing to adopt efficient crime prevention approaches or the widespread availability of weapons among the narcotic drug traffickers, or due to multi-faceted corruption.

SSP Thalduwa said, “Criminal offenders this year have used firearms more than they had used them last year. There have been 42 homicides reported so far this year using illegal firearms. Most of these murders were related to narcotics trafficking. There are two cases, among them reported from Monaragala and Hambanthota, in which the offenders have used locally made firearms for the murders. The killing had taken place over a land dispute. These are also illegal weapons.”

The IGP had said that the inefficiency of some senior police officers and OICs working in the Western and the Southern Provinces has also been a concern regarding the increase in murders and crimes in those provinces. Minister Alles has asked the IGP to remove such incompetent officers and appoint suitable officers.

The police high-ups overseeing crime prevention and control in the Southern and the Western provinces said they had launched several intelligence operations to gather information about the drug traffickers with weapons in their possession.

Senior DIGs and DIGs in the Southern Province will soon meet to discuss enhanced approaches for apprehending these criminal networks, as organized criminals primarily use illegal firearms.