Police Training College, Kalutara : Springboard for sentinels of law and order | Sunday Observer

Police Training College, Kalutara : Springboard for sentinels of law and order

Handgun firing training

For a society to blossom and enjoy prosperity the enforcement of the law plays a vital role. Hence, the Police are the most visual manifestation of the law, a service that deals directly with the public, daily. Today, with much focus on human rights and community policing the role of the Police officer takes on a new dimension. The cop of today must be sensitive, intelligent, loyal and bold in carrying out the duties entrusted to him (some opine the word cop is actually the acronym for Constable on Patrol, from the era of the British Metropolitan Police) This is where the Police College shoulders an important duty in recruiting a civilian and transforming that individual into a police officer.

"All trainees must be competent and pass the Parade test (where voice modulation and command skills are evaluated), Physical training test, firing test (achieving proficiency in Pistol, Revolver and T-56) swimming and life saving. In addition, Sub Inspector recruits must also attend a 3 month English Diploma course. This is indeed a good example for many other government institutions where the Queen’s language is way below administrative requirements!"

Formation of College

The Ceylon Police dates back to 1866. It was in 1905 that a training school was envisaged and started at Prince Street, Pettah by IGP Longden. There were 436 recruits in the first intake. Thereafter, the school shifted to Bambalapitiya. In 1948 the training school relocated to its present location at Kalutara where it occupies almost 200 acres, with lush gardens enhanced by the presence of two massive ponds. The college is bestowed with many responsibilities, in training new recruits in the ranks of Police Constable, Police Driver, Sub Inspector and Assistant Superintendent of Police. In addition, refresher courses and advanced courses are conducted for officers in active service. The college also trains members of the Excise Department, Forest Department and Judicial Medical Officers in legal aspects, and campus students engaged in criminology. Today, the school functions under the purview of Senior DIG M.R.Latiff, who is in charge of Police International Relations, Recruitment/Training and also functions as Commandant of the Special Task Force. He is ably assisted by SSP Damyantha Wijeya Sri, the Director of the School.


Director Training - SSP
Damayantha Wijeya Sri.

There are many specialized graduate instructors who serve with sincere dedication. The college also operates seven other wings for training, in Elpitiya, Kundasale, Nikaweratiya, Pallagama, Mahiyanagana, Kalladi (Vavuniya) and Boralanda.

I am ushered into the office of the Director SSP Wijeya Sri who emphasizes that the recruits are empowered not only with an updated syllabus covering a wide spectrum of subjects, but also encouraged to participate in religious and cultural activity and sports, that prepares them mentally and socially to go out and deal with a demanding public. The syllabus has been updated with the guidance of experts from the Scotland Police and covers 7 modules for ASP, 6 modules for Sub Inspectors and 3 modules for Constables (men and women). The subjects include Police responsibility, General duties, Investigation, Leadership and Management, Incident management and Prosecution skills. During this time the recruits are also sent out for field training and sit a written exam at the end of each module.

All trainees must be competent and pass the Parade test (where voice modulation and command skills are evaluated), Physical training test, firing test (achieving proficiency in Pistol, Revolver and T-56) swimming and life saving. In addition, Sub Inspector recruits must also attend a 3 month English Diploma course. This is indeed a good example for many other government institutions where the Queen’s language is way below administrative requirements! It was refreshing to see that the present batch undergoing training has 206 Tamil recruits drawn from the North and East. I visited their lecture halls and observed their genuine delight in being part of the future Police force when they will graduate one day at the famous Aluvihare Parade Grounds.

Even after passing out and progressing in his career, a Police officer must constantly maintain a high input of knowledge. The college conducts courses for those who receive promotions in the ranks of Sergeant, SI, IP, CI and ASP.

Even before an officer assumes command of a police station as OIC he must complete a 3 month training course.

The college has so far trained 400 officers for deployment with UN Missions serving in Haiti, Liberia and Dafur. In 2006, with guidance and funding from Sweden the college has established its own Scene of Crime (SOCO) training unit.

A day in a recruit’s life

To the aspiring trainee it is a new experience and challenge. The primary of these, is living away from home, meeting new friends and sharing accommodation.


Jungle training                                      (Photo credits: Asanka Roshan, of the Police College)

The massive college complex can accommodate 1,000 recruits. The fresh youth are put into groups under the watchful eye of an Instructor. I witnessed their discipline in the immaculate neatness of their dormitories. Boys and girls live separately. Even their shoes are kept in a straight line under the beds as if on parade. Black peak caps are suspended on a wooden frame. The college has 17 model Police stations where recruits report for duty.

Their day begins at 5 a.m. By 6.15 they must be present at the parade grounds, where PT is drilled into them. Breakfast is served at 8a.m. Interactive student led classrooms have lively lectures until 1 p.m when they assemble for lunch. This is followed by sports, self defence training and swimming. Prior to dinner, recruits engage in self study. The siren sounds at 10p.m for lights out. During the weekend students have time for recreation at the famous “magulmaduwa” auditorium/ theatre where they enjoy selected movies. Some have composed songs and poems, displayed on the notice board. Family members can visit them on Sundays, which I am sure the recruits look forward to with delight. They also take a keen interest in gardening. I was proudly shown the Silver Award the college received for its Environment in addition to the National Productivity Award 2012/2013.

City within a city

As I walked around this amazing college accompanied by Instructor Inspectors Chamara and Sampath, it was inspiring to see recruits walking to class: the boys clad in khaki shorts and white shirts and the girls in white shirts and blue skirts. The complex is self sufficient with its own Post office, co-operative shop, bakery, hospital, laundry, tailor shop and salon which display antique mirrors.

A Buddhist temple and Hindu kovil stand side by side in unison, a glorious example of communal integration to the entire nation. Recruits are also able to visit a Church and Mosque nearby. The college has a model court where trainees present evidence. A novel concept of open classrooms is a new method to create a better atmosphere, as students sit under trees. I was surprised to meet an unexpected friend at the college - Abeetha, the elephant, who is the mascot of the Police service. The playful elephant stretched forth his trunk in a friendly gesture. I am told that many recruits have become very affectionate towards this gentle giant. Alas, he is not the only animal here. There were three magnificent horses in a stable. Proficiency in horse riding is a must for probationary ASP recruits.

The Kalutara Police College has done a splendid service to the nation for decades, and remains a bastion of knowledge. The Instructors continue to turn out the next generation of efficient and community oriented Police officers. I am sure the school holds great sentimental value to both serving and retired officers. The good training done at the Police College can be summed up in the words of Aristotle ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”

 

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