Police to revamp under top British expert | Sunday Observer

Police to revamp under top British expert

The Sri Lanka Police is to undergo extensive reforms next year under the guidance of top international Police consultant Sir Hugh Orde.

The Sri Lankan Government has now sought the assistance of the British expert to introduce reforms on a wide range of areas, including intelligence, training, best practices, equipment, hardware and software.

The former President of the Association of Chief Police Officers in the United Kingdom, Sir Orde on a five-day official visit to Sri Lanka last week, met with Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, Minister of Law and Order, Sagala Ratnayake and a number of the parties committed to the reforms process.

He also met with high ranking officials of the Sri Lanka Police, while conducting a number of observation visits to various police divisions.

Sir Orde is expected to submit a report on his initial observations to Minister Ratnayake on his return to the United Kingdom.

“The first report will be concise,” he said in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer, adding that it can be expected in a matter of days.

Sir Orde is due to visit Sri Lanka three times next year.

“I am interested in meeting with civil society groups and observing the police in the rural areas,” Sir Orde said.

According to him, a real action plan can only be expected following the third visit after a thorough study of the Police force is conducted.

“My role will be to share my experiences with the Minister and the Police Department, while also understanding local law enforcement in an effort to help or advise on various recommendations being made as the Sri Lanka Police drives its own reform program forward,” he said.

According to Sir Orde, while the current force serves the purpose, it can be improved through the suggested reforms.

“I have noticed some gaps that need to be looked at, in particular around Police intelligence,” he pointed out, adding that the hierarchical structure should also be done away with.

Sir Orde, however, also commended the training given to Police officers, adding that it is evident that the Inspector General of Police is interested in developing his staff.

He also spoke positively about the steps taken by the Minister of Law and Order to improve the police service in recent times. Sir Orde is also expected to address issues such as gender discrimination, Police torture, eliminating corruption and depoliticizing the Force during the process, while presenting proposals to modernize it. “It is not a process that can be done overnight and time is needed,” he said, pointing out that in Northern Ireland it took the force seven years to implement the proposals for police reform made by Lord Patten.

While saying he is confident that reform is possible, he emphasized the need for the public to give the Force a chance to prove it means to transform itself, while the Police also will need to communicate to its staff and public about the reform process.

A highly experienced police officer and an expert in Police reforms, especially during the Northern Ireland troubles, Sir Hugh Orde began his career with the Metropolitan Police in 1977.

Holding several high ranking positions during his distinguished career, Sir Orde popularly known as a Policeman’s Policeman has also been a staunch critic of cuts to Police funding while consistently emphasising the need to keep politics out of policing.