Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed has stated that the police are facing difficulties in providing services due to the lack of sufficient resources.
Speaking at the 81st police anniversary celebrations held on Sunday night, Waheed opined that there is a need to revise the services of the police as the criminal environment has changed and is now inclusive of crimes involving increasingly dangerous weapons.
“We are seeing the use of swords, knives, and machetes in the crime scenes and this is something we must keep in our highest consideration when we are bringing changes to the police services,” he said.
He noted that in addition to not having suitable weapons and equipment to use for defence, the force also did not have vehicles or basic equipment like computers in some islands.
“It is proof of the high regard police officers give to national service when it is on their own private motorcycles that they go to major crime scenes, and do patrolling,” he said.
He said that the damage caused by “a group of citizens who destroyed and damaged police property during the events of February 8, 2012” have still not been overcome.
Home minister welcomes constructive criticism
Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer responded to Waheed’s claims during the same event, stating that the incumbent government will ensure that the damage caused during the events of February 2012 is repaired.
The minister further stated that the work of the police is a matter that is often criticised by the public, alleging that every such criticism results in being taken as encouragement by criminals. He stated that the current government will not allow any persons to incite hatred and mistrust against the police force.
“Due to the free and open media of today, it is possible to closely observe the work of the police and criticise it. The police will always welcome constructive criticism, and bring changes in their light. The police are not a force that will resist positive change,” the minister stated.
“However, there are some instances where in the guise of such criticism, hatred is incited against the police force. My wish is that no persons take things to this level. This is because every news or every comment presented in a manner that creates hatred against the police proves to be encouragement for criminals to commit further crimes,” he continued.
Minister Naseer revealed that in 2011, 60 police vehicles were damaged, while in 2012, 166 vehicles were damaged. In the last year, another 49 vehicles were damaged by members of the public.
“The question is, whose property is being damaged here? It is in fact property brought from the money of Maldivian citizens to provide a service to the same Maldivian citizens. People need to realise this,” he said.
Commissioner Waheed further said that the lack of a suitable training institution for police officers also presented additional challenges.
The commissioner also called on the newly elected 18th parliament to expedite the pending bills concerning the police, noting that the lack of required legislation proves to be another obstacle in reaching their goals.
Despite revealing the challenges faced by the police force, the commissioner asserted that the force will be working tirelessly to fight crime, and will be willing to make whatever sacrifice is required of them in the fight against the drug trade.
He stated that those involved in the trade will be brought to justice adding that, if need be, officers will be deployed abroad for this purpose. He noted that the discovery in early March of the 24 kilos of narcotics that were being smuggled into the country was an exemplary operation.
The commissioner assured that police will not hesitate to bring to justice any persons who break the law, regardless of their status -whether they are powerful politicians, wealthy individuals, or otherwise powerful persons.
Nevertheless, the commissioner said that in order to become free from the problem of drugs, all citizens need to cooperate sincerely with reintroducing addicts into society.
He further referred to the recently unearthed cases of possession of illegal and dangerous animals, stating that the police will, in the near future, uncover the tactics used by smugglers of such animals and bring it to an end.
He then stated that it is crucial to bring an end to serious and organized crimes, saying that doing so is necessary to strengthen the country’s economy.
Home Minister Umar Naseer also added that the current government intends to introduce police services to every single inhabited island in the Maldives.
Both Naseer and Waheed noted the economic benefits that would accompany a reduction in organised crime.
“Although sometimes, it gives rise to international criticism when a country is seen as a place where laws are implemented, implementation of laws is necessary to increase investor confidence,” said Naseer.