*** President Wickremesinghe is yet to recommend a suitable name to the Constitutional Council to appoint the 36th IGP
*** The post of IGP remains vacant since June 26, 2023
When the country is battling a rising crime rate including shootings and killings in broad daylight, the Sri Lanka Police which is in charge of maintaining public law and order, and preventing crime and terrorism, is functioning without an Inspector General of Police (IGP) for more than a week.
In the wake of IGP C.D. Wickramaratne retiring from service on June 26, 2023, the post of IGP remains vacant with a candidate for the post yet to be finalized.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe is yet to recommend a suitable name to the Constitutional Council to appoint the 36th IGP of Sri Lanka Police as few names of Senior DIGs already in line for the IGP post are allegedly facing certain accusations.
With a dramatic surge in shooting and criminal incidents in recent months, Police have increased secret operations to thwart criminal activities triggered by rivalry among underworld gangs.
Since January, 2023, there have been more than 40 shooting incidents and more than 25 individuals who have been killed.
The police are continuing search operations to minimize crimes, but there is now a question mark whether these operations can function smoothly without the direct guidance and direction from the IGP.
It was reported that a week-long delay in naming the new IGP has already caused administrative issues including issuing directives related to crime and narcotic operations.
IGP C.D. Wickramaratne who held the office as the 35th IGP ended his term after getting two extensions.
Sources said that IGP Wickramaratne has not reported to office since June 26 and the administrative activities of the Police Department have been hampered due to the absence of an IGP to approve any documents and assign duties and responsibilities.
Sources said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe is due to submit three names to the Constitutional Council to select the next IGP amidst a growing tussle.
According to the current seniority list, Senior DIG (Administration) Nilantha Jayawardena, Senior DIG (North Western Province) L.S. Pathinayake, Senior DIG (Western Province) Deshabandu Tennakoon, Senior DIG (Crime) Priyantha Weerasuriya and Senior DIG (Sabaragamuwa) P.P.S.M. Dharmaratne are among the names that are contesting for the topmost position.
Sources said the name of Senior DIG Ajith Rohana is also among the next in line for the IGP post.
Before President Wickremesinghe had extended the term of C.D. Wickramearatne in March this year, Senior DIG Tennakoon’s name had surfaced to the post of the next IGP.
However, amidst strong concerns raised from both the Catholic Church and Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), it is reported that the President had allegedly kept on hold the nomination of controversial Senior DIG Tennakoon and extended the tenure of Wickramaratne till June 26.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the end of Wickramaratne’s term coming to an end, the Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, in a letter addressed to President Ranil Wickremesinghe once again informed him not to consider appointing Senior DIGs Nilantha Jayawardene and Deshabandu Tennekoon as IGP over their alleged failure to prevent the Easter Sunday attack.
The BASL has already written to President Wickremesinghe stressing that the next Police Chief should be an officer “whose service is exemplary and free of blemish.” (Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya)