New Police Ordinance to cover social media and modern drugs

  • Cabinet approval received, special attention also to human rights, child abuse 

BY Kiara Warnasuriya  

A proposal to replace the existing Police Ordinance, No. 16 of 1865, which has been amended 37 times in the past, especially paying attention to areas such as illicit drugs, social media, human rights, and child abuse, was presented by Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles at the Cabinet meeting held on Monday (21) and was approved by the Cabinet accordingly.  

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (23), Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security S. Hettiarachchi claimed that many amendments have been made in the past of the Police Ordinance and that therefore, a completely new Ordinance is necessary in order to face contemporary issues. 

“This Ordinance is very old, and it has been amended so many times. Now, we have said that we don’t need any more amendments or changes. We need to replace it completely because there are many things that need to change in order for us to address new problems,” said Hettiarachchi. 

He elaborated on the areas that will be covered by the new Ordinance.

“So many new types of drugs have been discovered now. There’s cannabis, crystal methamphetamine (ice), cocaine, and many other chemicals. We need new policies to address issues related to these. Many of the human rights violations today also require changes in this Ordinance. Especially on social media, where anyone can post anything and tarnish someone’s reputation. 

“I can easily ruin someone through Facebook if I wanted to, so there must be clear, specific policies to address these issues. Then there is the issue of child abuse. I think that there should be severe punishments in place for people who commit child abuse. Many other things need to be addressed in view of the current situation which is why we have proposed a replacement of this Ordinance instead of introducing more amendments,” he said.   

Hettiarachchi further stated that a new Act will be introduced following discussions with the relevant authorities.