was only a human error says NPC Chief
Following are excerpts from the interview held with the Police Commission
Chairman Ranjith Abeysuriya:
Do you admit that there was a lapse on the part of the Commission?
Could you state why these lapse arose ?
A. Due to human error. I am honest enough to admit it.
This was only where a few cases were concerned.
Could you specify ?
A. There were seven cases where top rank promotions were
involved. This is a lapse on our part. But no one who had serious
blemishes were promoted, including Ajith Devapriya Samarakoon.
You stated that Ajith Devapriya Samarakoon was put in the reserve
list to be promoted from IP to CI. How is it that a criminal serving
a death sentence could be on the reserve list ?
A. This is a lapse owing to incorrect information by the
police who were asked to send the latest records.
There are allegations by the police that you had rushed through
the confirmation of names within two days. Do you have any comments?
A. There was no question of rushing through. The names
of these officers with their seniority and track record were sent
to the police commission twice. First in the month of April and
then May. Finally when we insisted that the details be authenticated
we got the lists from the police headquarters on the 26th. By the
29th we had finalised the list because we were already familiar
with the names.
Were you also familiar with the blemishes of the officers ?
Did the first two lists have the same blemishes against the officers
as in the final draft ?
A: Yes. Most of the cases against them were human rights
Were there any discussions with the IGP with regard to the promotion
issue before the names were confirmed ?
Yes. There were three rounds of discussions where the IGP informed
me that he was not satisfied with the one off promotion scheme the
commission had formulated (which gives equal prominence to merit
as well as seniority) as he felt the police force had to have a
stable background. He felt that owing to the war, the history of
insurgencies and the unrest in the country had put the police force
on a paramilitary footing and as such did not give the police an
opportunity to display much merit. I respected and agreed with his
viewpoint but did not venture to rectify the stand that the police
commission had taken.
Could you explain how the Police Commission planned to effect the
A. The Police Commission was entrusted with the task of
filling some 4,000 vacancies in the police force. The vacancies
had remained unfilled for more than ten years.
Police Commission had drafted a set of recommendations for a 'one
off provisional promotion scheme' which was approved by the Supreme
The scheme was especially formulated as a temporary scheme to deal
with the backlog of promotions into which was included the provision
of 450 promotions according to a court order.
Was the IGP made fully aware by the Commission about the promotions
and the details required to effect it?
A. Yes, the IGP was made fully aware.
You state that you were under pressure to fill the vacancies. Was
there any kind of time frame that you had to adhere to or any political
pressure that you had to face ?
A. No. But we have been trying to finalise the promotions
since last year since we were aware that there was a lot of frustration
owing to stagnated promotions.
Was there any specific reason you needed to compromise on the final
quality of the selections made for promotion ?
A. No. There was no specific reason but the fact that we
were keen to grant the promotions as quickly as possible.