Police Commissioner accuses politicians of involvement in gang activity

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz has alleged politicians are often responsible for encouraging gang-related activities in the capital island Male’.

Riyaz is quoted in local media as saying that in order to achieve political gains, politicians frequently provide financial incentives to gangs to carry out activities.

“When police attempt to counter gang activity on the island, politicians stand up in defence of these gang members. This is a problem. If politicians, too, wish to develop this country, they too will need to think of the institution. If an individual in the institution does wrong, then action must be taken against that individual. But the institution, as a whole, should remain in place. Politicians need to understand this,” Riyaz said.

Zero-tolerance against gangs: CP Riyaz

Riyaz said Deputy Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed had been placed in charge of the Gang Task Force, created after five stabbings in three days earlier this week.

Riyaz said patrols on the streets of Male’ would be increased, and that should any gang members “gather together even the least”, they will subjected to police searches and immediately placed under detention if “any illegal objects” are found in their possession.

“These instructions have already been issued to police. We will completely enforce upon them the powers granted to us by law. Police have been advised to act under a ‘zero tolerance’ policy and not allow them any leeway,” Riyaz said.

“They have now been mandated with a specific task on official Maldives Police Service paperwork. Intelligence will look into how much detail we have about gangs; who and who belong to specific gangs, who are the leading figures in each of these gangs, and their criminal records. They will also look into those who belong to gangs at different levels of hierarchy in it, what has happened to the cases against them, and at what point the cases against them have been stalled. To overcome this stalling of cases is one of the task force objective,” Riyaz explained.

“We will exert pressure even if the cases are being delayed at the Prosecutor General’s Office (PG). We will call upon them to expedite those cases. Police will also speed things up. We will also call upon the courts to expedite them. Intelligence and investigation [teams] will focus on these things,” he continued.

Riyaz said leading figures of gangs will no longer be given privacy related to ongoing investigations, saying that in future all details concerning them will be revealed to the public.

He further said that should such a case remain pending in court, police will hereafter reveal such information to the public too.

Increased surveillance

Commissioner Riyaz said the intelligence department would try to find evidence strong enough to legally detain gang members, adding that police will act immediately once such information is uncovered.

Riyaz revealed police are running an operation whereby surveillance cameras will be installed in locations with risk of high criminal activity. According to Riyaz, nine such cameras have now been installed and are currently used for monitoring, out of a total target of 50.

Riyaz said existing surveillance cameras were generally installed in areas judged relevant with the intention of monitoring protests and demonstrations.

Gang Task Force

Commissioner Riyaz briefed the Gang Task Force on Wednesday, following his comments to local media the previous day.

Riyaz instructed the task force to re-evaluate the cases against gang members, solve the cases at an elevated speed and complete all necessary work to deliver due penalties to them.

“The Gang Task Force will be overseen by a seven member executive committee, with DCP Waheed heading it. The operation has now been commenced,” a police media official confirmed.

Anxiety over rising gang violence: Asia Foundation

“As in most fledgling democracies, political uncertainty can breed violent acts in an effort to achieve narrow political gains,” stated the Asia Foundation in an article published on its website about gang activities in Male’, a follow up to its 2012 report on the issue.

Asia Foundation stated that “due to high levels of domestic violence, divorce, and broken homes, joining gangs has become a popular choice for Maldivian youth looking outside of traditional family structures for support and protection.”

The foundation, together with local NGO Maldives Institute for Psychological Services, Training And Research (MIPSTAR), is currently conducting a workshop for 34 voluntary participants, including gang leaders and members, aiming to offer counselling, vocational training and to build a relationship between them and security forces to better address the issue.

“Monthly meetings with the police to discuss grievances and strategies to address potential violence serves as a fulcrum to bring all gang members together,” the article stated.

“[One gang member], who has been involved in gangs since he was 16 and is now a senior member, pointed out frustrations over police harassment on the streets and arrests without evidence. He also said that being labeled a gang member results in closer scrutiny by the police officers, which he said was acceptable as long as they are not wrongfully arrested for crimes not committed by them,” it read.

“The discussions reveal that one of the root causes for harassment and wrongful arrests were the beat police officers (police constables and sergeants who are permanently assigned to a neighbourhood) who tend to view all gang members with suspicion and hostility,” the article continued, adding that efforts were now being made to address this “trust deficit, which currently runs high”.

Speaking of the foundation’s program, the article says “The three most dangerous gang members as identified by the police are enrolled in O’ Level (high school diploma) programs and regularly seek individual counselling also offered in the program. They expressed that the present context is challenging. On the one hand, they want to engage actively in the program and reform themselves; but on the other hand, there is also a pressure to engage in illegal activities including contract violence.”


10 thoughts on “Police Commissioner accuses politicians of involvement in gang activity”

  1. Riyaz, that is a fact that everybody knows.

    Why don't you do something about that?

    1: Educate people. Not the pakis or the Saudi dimwits type. But lawyers, engineers, etc.
    2: cripple anyone who wants to use religion as a tooll

  2. If a party has any link with a gang, inform it to international community and disband the party.

    Among those Party leaders (Nasheed, Yameen, Waheed, Qasim, Thasmeen, Imran, Shiyam) who involved with gangs should be named.

    Thank you Riaz. Its too late but better late than never

  3. The commissioner doesn’t know that his whole institution is politicized; the police has helped and sided with demonstrators on the road to bring down a democratically elected government. Since the coup the police is acting if they are against those who support the fallen government. His police force has created an image that clearly shows they have biased version of mentality. Inside his police you have different gangs working for different agendas, some are Islamic extremists, and some drug lords and some twisted personalities. Commissioner himself is holding the position through a controversial route and he himself is trying to frame Anni. Most anonymous comments on social media are from police personals who comment on every political issue depending which side they are on. The whole system to keep the law and order is corrupted, how can he expect from politicians to help his institution. On the first place he should not comment on politician, when he himself is having political agenda, he himself has to protect his interest, can he be a fair person, If the political landscape changes against his wish, he faces threat and this will definitely not make him a clean chap.

  4. @Thanksyou: "...better late than never."

    LATE allright...

    I'm not even a Maldivian and even I have been overwhelmed by this problem of political control of gangs, through reports, fears, countless articles - for over 12 years. So it surely can't be that the MALDIVIAN police only JUST heard about it...

    Why this long to tackle it?

  5. What about the gangsters who helped Riyaz's police cronies ransack MDP haruge and storm MNBC that we have on video? Classic Maldivian hypocrisy...

  6. @ Mariyam on Thu, 23rd May 2013 10:19 PM has got it just right.

    There is no possibility for anything to change unless the force is purged from top to bottom and politicians are exposed from A to Z, and justice is done to the people!

    PC Riyaz himself should give in, accept his fault for being a part of a coup that robbed people the vote they gave for a democratic ruler, who was forced to resign, because he was giving too much to the people and he was doing too much for the people, and was looking to implement a system of good governance.

    If PC Riyaz can have the guts to declare his guilt, and put in his effort for a good governance system, repent and ask people for forgiveness, I am sure there can be many who will appreciate it and be lenient on him.!

    Ceremoniously coming out and announcing what everyone know is not going to help and be of any good to the country!

  7. the real coup was tried bring by Nasheed himself on 6th Feb.

    Nasheed resigned knowing that his popularity was going down .

    Nasheed resigned because he knew that he can not pay the civil secant and other government officers salary if he stay for longer.

    The real BAAGHEE is Fili Nasheed and his allies.

    Nasheed managed to bluff the public and lot of sympathy , he got thoruhg his lies .

    But now again his popularity is going down too.

    I am expecting peiple bashing at my comments and victims from Nasheed virus will not be able to digest this comments.

    We will show the proof in Sept. as we have shown in all elections that had happened since 7th Feb. 2012.

  8. @Kuribee on Fri, 24th May 2013 4:37 PM

    Ur inglis is poor thet eni 1 will know u r from the police among who popularity of nasheed was lost because of the money you got from champa and gasim.

    The real BAAGHEE is the police SOs.

    In September you will see.

  9. Lopice. Yes we will see who win the election in Sept.

    You must have got just few millions from Nasheed and you must be among people who had robbed this cow try during Fili Nasheed regime .

  10. hey Kuribee, in case you forgot, under islamic law, it is illegal to accuse someone of a crime with no evidence.

    So please present some proof of your rantings, or get flogged. 🙂


Comments are closed.