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The Portuguese who controlled certain areas of the maritime provinces of

Sri Lanka did not affect any serious changes to the existing system of civil
administration of the Country. The Dutch, who arrived in Sri Lanka in 1602, were
able to bring the Maritime Provinces and the Jaffna Peninsula under their rule by

The concept of policing in Sri Lanka started with the Dutch who saddled
the Military with the responsibility of policing the City of Colombo. In the year
1659 the Colombo Municipal Council adopted a resolution to appoint paid guards
to protect the city by night. Accordingly, four fat and slow soldiers were
appointed to patrol the city by night. Hence they could be considered as the
fore-runners of the police in the country. It was the Dutch who established the
earliest police stations. Three Police Stations were initially opened: one at the
northern entrance to the Fort, second at the cause- way connecting Fort and
Pettah and a third at Kayman’s Gate in the Pettah. In addition to these the
“Maduwa” or the office of Disawa of Colombo, who was a Dutch official at
Hulftsdorp, also served as a Police Station for these suburbs.

The British Period:

The Dutch surrendered to the British on the 16th February 1796. After the
occupation of the City by the British, law and order were, for some time,
maintained by the Military. In 1797 the office of Fiscal, which had been abolished
was re-created. Governor Fredric North, having found that the Fiscal was over-
burdened with the additional duty of supervising the police, obtained the
concurrence of the Chief Justice and entrusted the Magistrates and Police Judges
with the task of supervising the Police.

1805 police functions came to be clearly defined. Apart from matters

connected with the safety, comfort and convenience of the people, police
functions also came to be connected with prevention and detection of crime and
maintenance of law and order. The rank of police constable was created and it
came to be associated with all types of police work.
Act No. 14 of 1806 the City of Colombo was divided into 15 divisions and
Police Constables were appointed to supervise the divisions.

The National Police

The Governor, who was looking for a dynamic person to reorganize the
police in the island, turned to India to obtain the services of a capable officer.
The Governor of Bombay recommended Mr. G. W. R. Campbell, who was in
charge of the “Rathnagheri rangers” of the Bombay Police, to shoulder this
onerous responsibility. Mr. Campbell was selected by the Governor and he
assumed duties as the Chief Superintendent of Police on the 3rd of September
1866. In 1867, by an amendment to the Police Ordinance No. 16 of 1865, the
designation of the Head of the Police Force was changed from Chief
Superintendent to Inspector-General of Police. Therefore, 3rd of September 1866
can be considered as the beginning of the country’s present Police Service. Mr.
Campbell is credited with shaping the Police Force into an efficient organization
and giving it a distinct identity. He brought the whole island under his purview
and the police became a national rather than a local Force.

First Superintendent of Police & his Staff

Mr. Thomas Oswin, Secretary to the Chief Justice, was appointed the first
Superintendent of Police of Colombo, C.M. Schubert was appointed as the Chief
Constable, 5 Dutch Constables, 10 Police Sergeants and 150 Peons were also
appointed. Mr. Lokubanda Dunuwila, who was the Disawa of Uva, was appointed
as the Superintendent of Police for Kandy. He goes into history as the very first
Sri Lankan to be a Superintendent of Police. Mr. Colepeper was entrusted with
the task of re-organizing the Colombo Police. He divided the Force into three
classes of officers – the Inspectors, the Sergeants and the Constables. The new
rank of Peon was abolished. In 1847 the ranks of Assistant Superintendent of
Police and Sub Inspector of Police were created. Inspector De La Harpe was
promoted as the first Assistant Superintendent of Police.

The Portuguese who controlled certain areas of the maritime provinces of

Sri Lanka did not effect any serious changes to the existing system of civil
administration of the Country. The Dutch, who arrived in Sri Lanka in 1602, were
able to bring the Maritime Provinces and the Jaffna Peninsula under their rule by

The concept of policing in Sri Lanka started with the Dutch who saddled
the Military with the responsibility of policing the City of Colombo. In the year
1659 the Colombo Municipal Council adopted a resolution to appoint paid guards
to protect the city by night. Accordingly, four fat and slow soldiers were
appointed to patrol the city by night. Hence they could be considered as the
fore-runners of the police in the country. It was the Dutch who established the
earliest police stations. Three Police Stations were initially opened: one at the
northern entrance to the Fort, second at the cause- way connecting Fort and
Pettah and a third at Kayman’s Gate in the Pettah. In addition to these the
“Maduwa” or the office of Disawa of Colombo, who was a Dutch official at
Hulftsdorp, also served as a Police Station for these suburbs.

First Sri Lankan Inspector General

On the 1st of June 1947 Sir Richard Aluvihare, was the first Sri Lankan to
hold the office of Inspector General, assumed duties. The Police Department,
which was under the Home Ministry, was brought under the purview of the
Defense Ministry Sir Richard was faced with the unenviable responsibility of
transforming the Police Force from its colonial outlook to a National Police with
the gaining of independence 1948. To this end he introduced a large number of
innovative measures, which embraced the welfare of the men, investigation,
prevention and detection of crime, the women police, crime prevention societies,
rural volunteers, police kennels, public relations, new methods of training and
improvement of conditions of service. He transformed the Police Force into a
Police Service. Its role was narrowly defined and restricted to the maintenance
of law and order and prevention and detection of crime.

The Traffic Administration and Road Safety Range has been formed under
the supervision of a DIG at the Police Headquarters for the purpose of bringing
under its control the growing number of motor vehicles that converge on to the
main thoroughfares everyday. This Range is also responsible for the prevention
of motor accidents from occurring, together with protecting property from such
motor accidents, and also issuing circular instructions to all the Territorial Police
in order to implement a better traffic management in the county. In order to
carry out these tasks in an organized manner throughout the country, Traffic
Branches have been formed in each of the Police Stations in the County. Range
Traffic Divisions also have been set-up to supervise and guide these traffic
branches who should liaise with the respective Range DIG's and the Police
Headquarters Traffic Range.

In addition, there are awareness-building programmed, which are being

carried out which various segment of society as target groups in order to give
them an orientation on the correct usage of roads.

With a view to curb the high incidence of crime in the country, which is
assuming alarming proportions, Range Crime Detection Branches have been
established in all the Police Stations. These Range Branches are headed by
Senior Gazetted Officers.

There is also a Division in the Police titled as Bureau for the Prevention of
Abuse of Children & Women that is assigned with the task of taking different
action against all crime perpetrated on women and children, which ranges from
physical violence to sexual abuse.

There also facilities available to them for their complaints to be recorded

by female Police Officers and that too in a place away from public gaze so as to
insulate them from any derisive comment by uncouth elements that would affect
their self-respect. Specially selected Officers attached to all the Police Stations in
the country have been trained by this Bureau to carry out these services island-

The growing menace of drug addiction that is assuming alarming

proportions particularly among the youth segment of our society is in constant
check with the establishment of the Police Narcotic Bureau, based in the Police
Headquarters. Also, every Police Officer is being given the necessary training on
how they should deal with such instances of drug addiction. These steps have
been taken because the Police is conscious of the need to wipe out this scourge
from our society as soon as possible.

Also, in order to provide protection to Police informants, strict measures

are being taken not to expose them by revealing their identity to general public.
Provision is also available for any member of the general public to convey to the
Police any information relating to crime committed or about to be committed,
even though anonymous telephone messages or letters, all which will be
entertained and looked into. This would provide a fool-proof method for such
Police informants to perform their tasks unhindered and without any danger of
their identity being revealed, which would otherwise have serious consequences
to them for being duty-conscious in their obligations to society. This information
can be furnished either to the respective Police station or to 1-1-9 Emergency
Service. As an encouragement to such civic-conscious citizens to bring to the
notice of the Police vital information that will lead to the detection and
apprehension of offenders, there is provision for informants to be rewarded
handsomely as an incentive for their public-spirited initiatives.

The Police of today in principle is committed to serve the needs of the

people in particular. In order to do so, its personnel are expected to treat them
with fraternal care which attitude should be well understood by both the Police
and the general public. For, it should be borne in mind that when there is a need
to make a complaint or seek redress the public almost invariably have to go to
the Police Station close to them. If under such an atmosphere of cordiality,
investigations into such complaints are conducted with mutual goodwill and
understanding, then, it will be possible to develop a healthy relationship between
the Police and the neighboring community that comes within their area. It is
therefore from such Police officers who have the qualities of leadership, honesty
and efficiency that civil society would be benefited in no measure.

It is duty cast on us, this occasion when we are commemorating the 147
Anniversary of the establishment of the Police service in our country, to recall
with gratitude the great sacrifices of all those officers who have preceded the
present generation of such officers, even at the cost of their own precious lives.
They had done so in that manner in the course of carrying out their duties
conscientiously not only to maintain law and order in the country but also to
preserve its territorial integrity in the midst of so many odds. In this regard, the
risk taken by the Special Task Force which was set up in 1983, cannot be
allowed to pass unnoticed which, to say the least, is an example to the rest of
their brethren in the Police Service today. They also play a key role in providing
security to VIPs.
Presently there are 43 Territorial Divisions 67 Functional Divisions 432
Police Stations with strength of more than 84,000. We also consider this occasion
to be opportune to extend a hearty handshake to all those who continue to serve
the Police Service today with dedication and devotion in order or uphold the
hoary traditions their predecessors have left behind for them to emulate and to
solicit the public cooperation as stake holders of policing.

To fulfill the expectations of the General Public, future policing activities

have been planned out, where the society should be made free of fear of crime
mainly. Few activities, which are to be completed and implemented during the
year 2007, are Closed Circuit Television Surveillance System to strengthen the
security in Colombo City, Automated Finger Print Identification System to track
criminals efficiently, establishment of Scene of Crime Labs in all 43 Police
Territorial Divisions well equipped and manned with specially trained Scene of
Crime Officers for enhancing capacity of crime investigations and establishment
of Central Criminal Intelligence Electronic Database for intelligence led policing.

1796.: - The Dutch Surrendered to the British on the 16th Feb 1796.

1797: - The office of Fiscal was created and Fredric Barron Mylius was appointed
as Fiscal of Colombo and entrusted with responsibility of policing the City of

1806: - The Regulation No. 6 of 1806, appointed a Police Vidane to each village,
for prevention and detection of crime in rural area.

1832: - A committee appointed by the governor was instructed to form a police

force. It was decided by this committee that this new police force was to be
funded by a tax to be paid by the public. It consisted of One Superintendent,
One Chief Constable, Five Constables, Ten Sergeants and 150 Peons. They were
responsible for maintaining law and order in the capital city of Colombo.

1844: - As the police force was restricted to coastal areas only, a second police
force was created to cater to the hill country.
1858: - The police force in the coastal area and the Police force in the hill
country were unified to make one Police force.

1864: - The first death of a police officer whilst on duty occurred when he
attempted to apprehend a brigand by the name of "Saradiel" who was
subsequently compared to "Robin Hood" of “Sherwood forest”.

1865: - The Police Ordinance was enacted to stipulate powers and

responsibilities of policemen.

1866: - Mr. "William Robert Campbell" then the chief of police in the Indian
province of Rathnageri, was appointed as Chief Superintendent of Police in Sri
Lanka to be in charge of the Police Force on 03.09.1866. Therefore, the 3rd of
September 1866 is considered as the beginning of Sri Lanka Police Service.

1867: - The Chief of Police was designated as the Inspector General of Police
Accordingly Mr. "William Robert Campbell" became the first Inspector General of
Police . The Police Headquarters was found at Maradana, in the City of Colombo.

1870: - Muslim rioters attacked The Police Headquarters. The Police were
successful in repulsing the attack, but the building of the Police Headquarters
was damaged. In this year the Criminal Investigations Department (C.I.D.) was

1879: - The strength of the Police force had tripled from 585 when IGP Campbell
was appointed, to a force of 1528. The first police firing range, training college
and the publishing of the annual administration report emerged during this year.

1882: - Two three-wheel bicycles were obtained for transportation. These were
the first vehicles obtained by the Police force.

1892: - The Depot Police presently known as the Field Force Headquarters was
formed. Uniforms and housing were made free for Police officers as well as the
payment of Good Conduct Allowance was initiated.

1908: - Finger printing and photographing of criminals were initiated along with
the direct recruitment to the rank of Assistant Superintendents of Police during
this year.
1913: - Mr. "Herbert Layard Dowbiggin" was appointed as the 8th inspector
General of Police. 119 Police stations were in operation with a total strength of

1915: - For the first time two officers were appointed as Deputy Inspectors
General of Police.

1916: - 0.22 Caliber rifles were issued in place of shotguns.

1920: - For the first time police officers were deployed for the purpose of
controlling traffic

1923: - A book containing comprehensive details regarding all aspects of the

Police called the “Departmental Order Book” was formulated.

1926: - The Sport Division was established.

1930: - A handbook of traffic rules and regulations was issued for traffic duties.

1932: - The Police Headquarters was shifted from Maradana to its present
location in Colombo Fort.

1938: - Police telephone boxes were deployed throughout the city of Colombo.

1942: - Temporary forces were employed, known as Temporary Police


1945: - Police units were deployed at all hospitals. In addition Police units were
also deployed for Railway security. However the following year, the Railway
Police force was discontinued as a necessity did not arise.

1950: - The Police Uniform was changed. The five bronze buttons in the uniform
tunic were changed to silver buttons. Furthermore, the four point, army type star
worn by Sub Inspectors and above was changed to a six-point star.

1952: - Women were enrolled to the Police force for the first time. VHF Radios
were introduced for communication. It was decided that in honor of police
officers killed in the line of duty state funerals with full police honors would be
held. In addition, the Police flag would be flown at half-mast throughout the

1954: - Police stations were graded into five classifications viz. Grade “E” to
Grade “A”. The grading of Police stations was considered depending on the work
load, population, locality, crimes, important Institutions etc., in the area.

1955: - Policemen were afforded the following: benefits-

* Free medical service

* Free railway transport

* House rent allowance for officers below the rank of Chief Inspector

* Transport allowance

* Pension on retirement.

1963: - Divisions in the Police were made as North, Central, South,

Administration & Criminal Investigation Department. Mr. D. B. I. P. S.
Siriwardane, a Civil servant was the first civilian to be appointed as the Deputy
Inspector of Police in charge of Administration.

1966: - The Police Public Relations Division was established on 1'st October
1966, at Police Headquarters, Colombo.

1969: - The establishment of the Tourist Police and the Illicit Immigration sector,
in March 1969.

1972: - The Crime Detective Bureau was started on 1'st August 1972.

1973: -On the 01st of April 1973 the Police Narcotics Bureau was started and
The Colombo Fraud Investigation Bureau too was established.

1974: - The Police uniforms for Constables and Sergeants was changed.

1976: - The rank of Woman Police Sub Inspector was introduced. 2 Women
police officers were promoted to the rank of Sub Inspector.
1978: - Establishment of The Police Higher Training Institute.

1979: - The Children & Women Bureau was established.

1983: -Establishment of The Police Special Task Force.

1985: - A new promotion scheme was introduced from the rank of Police
Constable up to the rank of Inspector of Police.

1988: - A Woman Police Inspector was promoted to the rank of Assistant

Superintendent of Police

1988: - The Western Province Intelligence Division was established.

1989: - Women were recruited and enlisted as Sub Inspectors.

1990: - Police Public Relations were enhanced by the three triangle system of
involving the Police, Schools, and places of worship.

1990: - Police Sport Division was established.

1991 : - The IG's Command Room was established.

1991: - The Sri Lanka Police celebrated 125 years of Policing in Sri Lanka.

1993: - The Police Information Technology Division was established.

1998: - Launching of the Police Website.

1998: - The Marine Division was established.

1999: - The Ombudsman Division was established.

2000 - The Police Examination Division was established.

2002: - The Police HumanRight Division was established.

2002: - The Disappearances Investigation Unit was established.

2004: - The Judicial Security Division was established.

2005: - The Colombo Crime Division was established.

Forms of Government

Government Name:
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Adopted: 1978; Provided for a unicameral parliament and
executive President. Term limits for both parliament and the
president are set as well and a new form of multi-member
proportional representation was introduced for elections to
parliament. In addition, the judiciary is established as independent
and the basic fundamental rights of the Sri Lankan people are
Government Type:
Types of Law Enforcement in Sri Lanka

Law enforcement in Sri Lanka falls under the jurisdiction of the Sri Lanka
Police, the national law enforcement agency. Moreover, the Sri Lanka Police
includes several specialized agencies. The Criminal Investigation Department
(CID) is a national unit tasked with investigations of serious crimes. The Special
Task Force is reproducible for Counter-Terrorist and Counter-Insurgency
operations. Other include the Traffic Police, Police Narcotic Bureau and the
Children & Women Bureau.

Limited law enforcement authority is also given to other departments of

the government for specific reasons. The Sri Lanka Customs and Department of
Excise have certain police powers within ports, airports and other customs and
excise related matters. The Commission to Investigate Allegation of Bribery or
Corruption (CIABOC), commonly referred to as the Bribery Commission has
powers to arrest persons suspected of bribery or corruption. The Department of
Coast Guard has law enforcement powers in the territorial waters of Sri Lanka.
The military has police powers limited to military personnel, mainly for internal
investigation and guarding military facilities.

Police Hierarchy in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Police Service is normally referred as Sri Lanka Police, an
exquisite national police force of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lanka police force has total of manpower of more than about 85,000, all
working for maintaining and enforcing law & order in the town, enhancing public
safety and maintaining peace throughout the Sri Lanka. The highest rank of Sri
Lanka police is IGP, Inspector General of Police that reports directly to minister
of defense.

In this article, the police ranks are categorized in an ardent hierarchy so

as to make it easy to understand and to memorize covetously. The hierarchy is
from top to bottom means the rank hierarchy starts from the highest rank and
ends with the lowest rank available in the Sri Lanka Police hierarchy.

The hierarchy is broadly divided into two categories via Gazetted officers,
high level officers and Non – Gazetted officers, lower level officers. Further these
categories consist of many ranks which are also arranged in a proper top to
bottom sequence. The rank names are provided in a proper ladder with a brief
description the rank.

Rank And Insignias

Inspector General of Police Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police

Deputy Inspector General of Police Senior Superintendent of Police

Superintendent of Police Assistant of Superintendent of Police

Chief Inspector of Police Inspector of Police

Sub Inspector of Police Sergeant Major

Police Sergeant Class 1 Police Sergeant Class 2

Police Constable Class 1 Police Constable Class 2

Police Constable Class 3 Police Constable Class 4

Qualifications of Sri Lanka Police

Requirement to the police service is carried out at four stages. These stages are
based upon the entry ranks and educational qualifications of the recruits.

 Probationary Assistant Superintendent of Police -

Male/female graduates (aged 22–26 years) may apply and must face
an entrance exam.
 Sub Inspector of Police - Males/females who have passed GCE Advanced
Levels (aged 18–25 years) may apply and must face an endurance test and a
written exam.
 Police Constable - Males who have passed GCE Ordinary Levels (aged 18–25
years) may apply and must face an endurance test and a written exam.
 Women Police Constable - Females who have passed GCE Ordinary
Levels (aged 18–25 years) may apply and must face an endurance test and a
written exam.
 Police Constable Drivers - Those who complete up to grade 7 at school or
higher with valid driving license (aged 19–35 years) may apply and must face
an endurance test and a written exam.

Basic activities of the procedure of Recruitment

 Firstly the approval for allocation of funds for the posts vacant is sought
from the Ministry of Defence through the Management Service
Department and Secretary of the Treasury
 The Management Service Department approved the necessary funds on
receipt of the reply from the Ministry of Defence. If the approval is not
subject to an additional fund, the allocation for the vacant posts could be
obtained from the Accountant, Police Headquarters

 After obtaining the approval and funds to fill the existing vacancies , the
scheme of Recruitment is prepared and if there any amendment to be
done, the same is sent to Ministry of Defence, Public security ,Law and
Order along with the earlier scheme of Recruitment.

 The approved Gazette Notification is translated to English and Tamil and

sent to Government Language Department to rectify the errors and to
obtain a certificate.

 After preparing the Gazette Notification in Sinhala, Tamil and English

obtained the signature of I.G.Police and sent to the Government Press.
This Gazette Notification will be published within 3 weeks after handing
over to the Government Press.

 Paper Advertisements to be prepared based on the Gazette Notification

and an estimate should be obtained from Lake House. Thereafter
allocation of funds should be obtained for the Advertisements from
S/D.I.G. Admin and the advertisements should be published in 3 National
News papers publish in Sunday.

 Preparing Scheme of Recruitment: Instructions for the preparation of the

Scheme of Promotion should be taken from the Chapter 11 , Volume I of
the Establishment Code. The following items should be included specially

1. Post
2. Salary Scale
3. Basic Qualifications
4. Educational Qualifications
5. Trade qualification
6. Physical fitness
7. Scheme of Recruitment
8. Back Ground inquiries
9. Medical Test
10. Conditions of appointment
11. Conditions of service
12. The method of giving marks at the Final Interview
Method of Recruitment

 Calling Applications for the vacancies are closed 30 days after publishing
the Gazette Notification The applications received will be checked and
scheduled. Thereafter the suitable applicants are called for the first

 The first Interview will be held by the officers attached to the Recruitment
Office Under the supervision of Director /Recruitment Division

 Only the applicants who are qualified at the first interview will be tested at
the endurance test This endurance Test is conducted by the Competent
Board of Instructors from the Ministry of Sports under the supervision of
Director/Recruitment Division

 The applicants who are qualified in the Endurance Test have to face a
written or Trade Examination which will be conducted by Director/Exam
Division, Police Headquarters under the supervision of Director Exam

 The applicants who passed the written or Trade Examination will be called
for the final Interview. This Interview Board consisting of 5 Gazette
officers including the Chairman. This Final Interview Board is appointed by
the Ministry of Defence, Public security ,Law and Order. A lady Officer
must be appointed as a member of this Board in every occasions as much
as possible as per the PA Circular No 18/99

 After the Final Interview Board and the written or Trade Examination ,all
marks obtained by each candidate are counted and prepared a merit list.
This will be done by the Director Recruitment Division. Enlistment of these
applicants will be done after the Back Ground Inquiries on them.

The following clearance should be obtained in respect of the applicants

who are qualified in the list based on priority and merit

1. The report of Officer-in-charge of the Police area where the

applicant resides
2. The confidential clearance issued by State Intelligence Service
3. Finger prints report issued by the Registrar of Finger Prints
4. The report of Divisional Secretary whose under preview of the
Grama Seva Division where the applicant resides.
5. Verification of Educational Certificate from the Department of
6. Accuracy of Birth Certificate of the applicants obtained from the
Registrar of Marriages, Births & Deaths.
7. Medical report obtained from the Police Surgeon

 In the back ground report , if there is any adverse report against the
applicant or one of his relatives who was involved in any criminal charge
and punished by the court, the appointment of the applicant will be null &
void. Also this will be based if the applicant had not stated the above facts
in his declaration form in dishonestly. This back ground report includes
the character of the applicant and his close associates.

 If the Documents and reports produced by the applicant are found forged
his enlistment will be null & void and action will be taken to take legal
action through Colombo Fraud Bureau

 The applicants who failed in the Medical Test their enlistments are

 After the enlistment of the applicant he will be issued a Regimental

Number and a Service Register. The terms of the issue of regimental
number are laid down in the fallowing Police Gazettes part II.

1. Police Gazette No 5969 dated o5th August 1968

2. Police Gazette No 6022 dated 26th August 1969
3. Police Gazette No 328 dated 30th August 1968

 The terms of the issue of Service Register are laid down in the Circular No
1403/98 issued by Police Headquarters.

 Before the confirmation of Probationary Police Officers, they must

obtained a report from Director Recruitment Division whether their
inquiries are completed and the terms of conformation is laid down in the
Circular No ER 2/92 dated 27.02.1992 issued by Police Headquarters.
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