Crime solving rate up 59% - IGP Illangakone
IGP, N.K. Illangakone
Inspector General of Police N.K. Illangakone who joined the Sri Lanka
Police in 1980 and promoted to its highest rank as the 33rd Inspector
General of Police in June 2011 will retire on April 11. Having served
the Department under the Special Police Task Force for over 11 years and
facing the battle with the LTTE, he is the only IGP in the recent past
who received the Police Bravery award, Deshaputra Sammanaya.
As a DIG he served in key positions across the country during crucial
times and was appointed IGP in 2011 when the country was undergoing
changes in the post conflict scenario. He said he had done his duty by
the country to the best of his ability and says that it should be judged
by the people of the country. During his tenure he raised the crime
solving rate from 34 percent to 59 percent and had addressed the long
felt grievances of the Police officer.
Excerpts of the interview.
Q: At the time you were appointed IGP it was a post meant to
serve the ruling government and the politicians. Do you think that you
could change that scenario and do justice to the post of IGP?
A: Yes, I am happy that I played a vital role during my
tenure. My objective was to serve the public and I did not have any
other agenda. What I was aiming at was to do the maximum for the people.
Whatever I did was for the people. I worked towards that objective.
Success and failure were part of it. On the whole I was able to do
something to the country which has to be judged by the people
Q: As IGP you have to work under political pressures from the
government and from politicians. How did you manage the political
pressure and influences?
A: Political interference can be interpreted in different
ways. Some people say there is political interference and some say there
is no political interference. My opinion is that if we do our job
properly and if we donít leave room for others to criticize and if we do
not leave room to interfere in our work these problems will not obstruct
That is how I look at this problem. When I was serving as Gampaha SSP
a politician thanked me for reducing the number of people who came to
seek favours. We must maintain our status and build our image by not
violating rules and regulations and accommodating requests of
politicians which is not just. If not people seek political backing to
get things done.
Q: That means as the IGP and as a Police officer you acted in
an unbiased and impartial manner?
A: I always try to make just and fair decisions and I feel
that I did my best. That has to be decided by the people themselves.
Q: What major changes were you able to effect during your
tenure to improve the police service?
A: During the three-decade war the police service was badly
affected. After the end of the war the expectations of the people were
high. They wanted freedom in a crime free society. That was the
responsibility of the Police. To change the war mentality of the Police
officers we had to conduct several training programs. Over 30,000 police
officers were given special training with the support of universities in
the country.That was a challenge I had to face when I became the IGP.
When I took over as the IGP the crime solving rate was 34 percent in
2010.We increased it to 59 percent by 2014. All that was possible
because of the training and new methods we adopted to solve crimes.
There were about 60,000 warrants accumulated during the time of the
war. I am not blaming anybody because during the 30- year war we could
not do our duties properly. So we cleared all of them and most of the
culprits were taken to task. By doing all that the criminal activities
were controlled and crime solving rate increased to 59 percent.
Q: What steps did you take for the betterment of the Police
officers and improve their standards?
A: There were lots of problems regarding the salaries of the
Police officers and their welfare. In 2013 we increased the allowance of
the Police officers which was done for decades. We also streamlined the
process of providing uniform materials in time.
The major problem among Police officers was the absence of a
permanent transfer and promotion policy. During my career I appointed a
team of senior Police officers to prepare a permanent transfer and
promotion policy and they prepared it. Now it is with the Police
Commission and once its is approved it will fulfill a long felt need of
We need to increase the salaries of the Police officers. The
government agreed to increase by Rs.3000 in the budget. The criteria for
salary increases have to be worked out and its upto the next IGP to take
Another issue that has to be resolved is increasing the cost of
living allowance of the Police officers. We need to do it to improve the
living standards of the Police officers to maintain professionalism.
Apart from that we also need to introduce an insurance scheme for the
Police officers to pay compensation for accidents while on duty.
Q: Police officers were criticised for using torture and
illegal methods in crime solving. What are the new mechanisms you
introduced to the crime solving process?
A: There were complaints against the Police over torture. But
the number of torture cases has dropped drastically.There is a reason
for that. We are introducing technology in crime solving. Last week we
introduced a crime data anlysing software. Now we have access to a data
base of all criminals. So many crime records are now available. That is
important for investigators. When the Police arrests a suspect in a
couple of minutes they can know whether that person is in the wanted
list or whether he or she has any criminal records. With the
introduction of the automation finger print analysis system we can
identify the finger prints from the 600,000 finger print data bases in a
minutes time. Earlier it took months to do the analysis.
Q: There were some incidents which brought bad reputation to
the Police. The Seya Sadewmi case, the attack on HNDE students by the
Police and the Embilitpitiya case are some of them. Donít you think that
those incidents could have been avoided if the Police acted
A: The police took over the investigations on the Embilipitiya
incident. Then due to criticism investigations were handed over to the
CID. Now the ASP has been arrested and he is in remand. They are doing
their job properly. Other than the ASP they have not arrested anybody
yet. There has to be evidence. CID is a professional investigating body
and they will do it professionally. The Attorney General is also
following the case and we are waiting for the final decision.
There were allegations that a particular Police officer was my
personal security officer. Until I became the IGP I never had personal
security officers. I categorically deny the allegation. Now the CID is
conducting investigations and people will be able to see the outcome.
Q: There were allegations that the FCID which was formed by
the present government was used as a political tool to harass political
opponents of the government. Do you agree with these allegations?
A: If we are have caused injustice to anyone he could go
before courts and seek justice. Some have already gone to court. There
are two cases pending in the FCID. Therefore I don not want to comment
on the FCID .
Q: In the past we saw some investigations were held back or
suspended due to various reasons. But those cases are now being
investigated under different officers. For instance Vassim Thajudeenís
case is now being investigated. What was the reason to hold back
investigations and who should be blamed for it?
A: When a crime is committed investigations are carried out
initially by the area Police. Sometimes the case will be handed over to
the CID, Colombo Crime Division or FCID. Some of these cases were
investigated by the area Police. Since they have not been solved a few
of them were handed over to the CID. They will do their best to solve