Transfer of police officers: NPC refutes allegations | Sunday Observer

Transfer of police officers: NPC refutes allegations

The National Police Commission (NPC) yesterday refuted allegations that it had or plans to transfer gazetted officers within the Police in contravention to Election laws. Secretary of the NPC, Nishantha Weerasinghe told the Sunday Observer that the commission would as stipulated seek approval from the Election Commission prior to transferring any officer during the pre-election period.

“If there is a service need, permission will be sought from the Election Commission before making any transfers,” he said. Weerasinghe also assured that the duties of the Police officers will not be disrupted by any non-urgent transfers during this period.

He was responding to a letter sent by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) on Friday raising concerns about NPC’s preparation to transfer several gazetted officers during the pre-election period.

According to the CMEV, some observation reports have noted that plans are afoot to transfer SSP Uchith Liyanage from the Sithawaka Division and to appoint him as the Deputy Director of the Women and Children’s Bureau. “It has also been reported that SSP Sujith Wedamulla who was transferred and appointed as the Personal Assistant of a DIG recently, is to take Liyanage’s place,” the letter added. “If so, it must be said the whole process is highly controversial,” it further said.

According to the CMEV, attempting to effect such a transfer during a national level election is in violation of the guidelines laid down by the Election Commission.

The CMEV noted that it is important to create an environment where Police officers are able to carry out their duties without interference from external parties.

The organisation also pointed out that consulting the Election Commission whenever there is a need to make any such transfers during the election period is one of the best practices that has long been established in the country’s electoral process.

“If such a need arises the accepted procedure is to coordinate with the Election Commission which is the expectation of any citizen hoping for a free and fair election,” the letter noted.

In its letter, the CMEV urged the NPC to rectify the abrupt transfers and to safeguard the inherent dignity of the Police in this election, in spite of political or other pressure it may face.