Commissioner of Police (CP) Hussain Waheed has dismissed as “absolutely baseless” allegations made by parliamentarians that the police had connections with criminals and the drug trade.
“The police force is not one that will encourage criminals or have ties with criminals who commit serious offences,” Waheed said at a new year celebration titled ‘SO Night’, held in Iskandhar Koshi on December 31 specifically for officers of the police’s Special Operations unit force.
He stated that, while the services of the police are widely accepted and appreciated by citizens, there have been recent instances where “some individuals have spread baseless rumours with the intention of damaging public trust in the forces”.
The event was held in order to celebrate the achievements of the force over the previous 12 months.
Waheed stated that he will not allow any persons to attempt to create rifts in the “strong and united force nor to damage the public trust in the tough work police conduct to maintain peace and stability in the community”.
Waheed stated that no one better knows the feelings of the public than the police, and that what the public most desire is a calm and peaceful community.
He called on the police to continue serving the people by working with a resolve to maintain a peaceful environment in the country.
Waheed promised the police forces that the leadership will develop infrastructure and human resource support within the year 2014.
Illicit drug trade and abuse
Assuring the public that police will continue to bring those involved in illicit drug trade and abuse to justice through courts of law, Waheed responded to allegations by some parliamentarians that the police were complicit in the drugs trade.
“The illicit drugs that we discover are safely under our care. Relevant authorities will know very well that such contraband are kept safely by us until the time comes to dispose of them as per the legal structure. There is also a mechanism through which one can inquire about the status of such contraband,” Waheed said.
“I am deeply saddened that even with such strong regulations around the matter, some people irresponsibly spread falsified rumours about the police force in a manner that will undermine the trust the public holds in us. There are also independent institutions that can conduct investigations should there be any police officer who is suspected of being involved in anything of the sort,” he expressed.
Allegations from parliamentarians
On December 29, 2013 Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ibrahim Rasheed submitted an emergency motion to the parliament in regard to a stabbing incident which had occurred in the previous week.
Speaking in the parliamentary debate on the motion, members from the MDP and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) accused the police of having ties with criminals, gangs, and drug dealers.
Among them, MDP MP Nazim described the police force as a “gang instead of an institution these days”, alleging that the force had dismissed sincere officers and replaced them with people who are accused of having committed serious offences.
CP Waheed, however, last night emphasized that the Special Operations Unit is the “most respected force within the police which all departments look up to”, speaking at last night’s event.
Special Operations Unit
“SO Night” is an annual event held to celebrate various achievements of the Special Operations Unit.
The event concluded with a presentation by the SO department of their achievements in the previous year.
This includes having provided technical support 219 times to various other police departments, controlling 57 public protests, and conducting 55 special operations and 23 trips to manage situations in the atolls.
The presentation also noted that in all their annual work, the SO had only made use of pepper-spray as a weapon, noting that it had been used a total of 55 times.
Among other statistics shared at the event, the SO unit stated that “in all of the year, 40 SO officers were summoned to the Police Integrity Commission and 2 SO officers were summoned to the Human Rights Commission. In handling the various situations, 50 SO officers suffered injuries of different levels”.
SO Department Head Chief Inspector Ahmed Shameem stated that the unit had not resorted to the use of rubber bullets or tear gas in controlling any of the situations that arose in 2013.
He stated that the unit had refrained from using these weapons, not because they did not have them, but because of their professionalism and their capability to deal with the situations in other ways.
Celebrating the work of SO officers who had contributed notably to the department’s work, certificates of appreciation were given to officers who were a part of a number of operations, among which a key activity is Operation Blue Wave – the security operation conducted during the 2013 presidential election.