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Advance rewards to police



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Rewards to police in monetary terms are in recent times, following a history of diversion, is a path of its own, since first instituted. Only recently is monetary rewards offered as an incentive to good police work to be done, well before the work has been done!


This offer is done openly, with much publicity, with hardly a thought that this is against the rules and much more. The most recent is the offer so held out to the Police to give huge sums of money for detections of drunken driving. Monies so held out as an offer, at the outset, to police to induce good work is a recent phenomenon. The attraction of a good return for good work done is none other than proper police action compromised for a financial return. Apparently, this practice has today even official sanction to offer monetary rewards before the good work is done. Such practice is uninhibitedly and unabashedly held out even by the police media spokesman, speaking no doubt for the Department. It is necessary to go back to history.


From the inception, rewards to police are given AFTER good work, never BEFORE. The rationale is clear. It is only after the work is done and assessed for its performance that the action can merit a reward. Rewards offered beforehand, therefore, can amount even to a bribe or corrupt practice that the law does not envisage. Or even as enticement to police action, the insinuation of which, is often resorted to by defence counsel at cross-examination to impeach credibility of evidence of police. By rules, tradition and convention these confidentialities in reward payments long prevailed. But now by general acceptance of the public too, this practice prevails today without any question or second thought.


A second thought is expressed only exceptionally. That too reads as of a dissentient voice of Tassie Seneviratne (TS) in the Sunday Island of 14th July 2019 p 12. His is a voice of an earlier vintage, when processing of police rewards was then (in his time) of a different order. TS is even compelled to recite chapter and verse which prohibited such display as we see now. No police spokesman would have offered rewards before the action. The headlines scream ‘show Biz’.


Yes there has been a dance and show recently of monetary rewards given to police, when for a hundred years or more rewards were given only confidentially, restricted to departmental purposes. For over a hundred years or more action such dubious practice of publicity for rewards was unheard of. Today it is common place and uninhibited. The difference, then and now, is striking. It is outrageous.


If correction is then the need, it is not clear that this need does not engage the attention of Secretary Defence as the Chief Accounting Officer, the National Police Commission tasked with enhancing efficiency and performance, and the Retired Police Officers’ Associations, as interested persons. Failing all these it is inevitable that a retired Police Officer in TS had to point these out. It is not clear that these higher authorities will respond to these representations made.


Rewards to Police are for good work done; not for work to be done. Police evidence is today fraught when suspicion of enticement looms over the police case through such questionable practice.


Trust this will engage the attention of the media and the organizations concerned.


FRANK DE SILVA


Narahenpita


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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