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උසස් කිරිමේ හා බදවා ගැනිමේ පටිපාටි

Traffic Educational Game



Find out the truth PDF Print

Recently, some news items were to be seen in circulation via internet misinforming the public with regard to the power of a police officer. We wish to stress the fact that it is not possible to mislead the citizens of a country like Sri Lanka, a country with a high literacy rate and a reputed intelligentsia.


1st MISCONCEPTION:  
“A single Police Officer cannot stop you on the road! (It's prohibited and you are not supposed to stop eithr!)
”You cannot evade a police officer in the said manner. A police officer has the perfect right to stop you. It has been made clear under the Section 162 of the Motor Traffic Act as follos.

“The driver of a motor vehicle shall obey all verbal directions or signals, given by a police officer in the execution of his duty, to stop or reverse the car or to make it slow down or turn back or to pass on such side or to keep to such line of traffic as may be indicated by the police officer.
”Furthermore, under the Section 56 of the Police Ordinance with regard to the duties and liabilities of police officers it has been mentioned as follows.
“Every police officer shall for all purposes in this ordinance contained be considered to be always on duty, and shall have the powers of a police officer in every part of Sri Lanka.It shall be his duty.
(a) To use his best endeavors and ability to prevent all crimes, offences, and public nuisances'
(b) To preserve the peace
(c) To apprehend disorderly and suspicious characters;
(d) To detect and bring offenders to justice;
(e) To collect and communicate intelligence affecting the public peace; and
(f) Promptly to obey and execute all orders and warrants lawfully issued and directed to him by any competent authority.


2nd MISCONCEPTION:
“A single Police Officer cannot seize your driving license.”
It has been made clear in Section 135 (1) of Motor Traffic Act that a single Police Officer has a legal right to withhold a driving license. “The driver of a motor vehicle shall always carry his driving license on his person or in the motor vehicle and shall, on demand made by police officer, forthwith produce the license and permit it to be inspected” 


3rd MISCONCEPTION:
“Only a 'traffic control' Police Officer has the authority to request anything more than your NIC when you are behind wheels.”
No restriction has been imposed on any Police Officer which prevents him from requesting any document other than the NIC.Any Police Officer in uniform has authority to examine any document including the NIC. The separate divisions of Police such as Traffic and Crimes have been established merely for the purpose of easy administration.


4th MISCONCEPTION:  
“A single traffic Police Officer can never press charges against you. He must have a witness if he does so. That's why you always find 'two' Police Officers together”
There is not a law in force which states that a single Police Officer is unable to do so or there should be two officers for the same purpose and it has been made clear in Section 162 of Motor Traffic Act as follows.“The driver of a motor vehicle shall obey all verbal directions or signals, given by a police officer in the execution of his duty, to stop or reverse the car or to make it slow down or turn back or to pass on such side or to keep to such line of traffic as many be indicated by the police officer.”   
 

5th MISCONCEPTION:
“Police is a peace controlling force not an armed force. They are prohibited by law to carry anything more than a baton (but due to the prevailing war, they are issued Guns by a Supreme Court ruling, till the war ends) So, if a Police Officer pulls a gun on you, you can sue him.”

A Police Officer has the authority to use fire arms if necessary to maintain law and order in the country. According to the IGP Circular 843 dated 28th March, 2010, the use of fire arms has been limited for the police officers but it has not been prohibited.


6th MISCONCEPTION:
“If a Police Officer claims that you are drunk, you have the full right to ask for a 'balloon test', if they do not have it in their possession on the time of your request, you can go.”
You are not allowed to go at such situations. It has been clearly mentioned in the Section151 (1c). (a) of the Motor Traffic Act that the offender could be arrested after getting a report by producing him before a government medical officer. “Where a police officer suspects that the driver of a motor vehicle on a high way has consumed alcohol he may require such person to submit himself immediately to a breath test for alcohol or the Police Officer can order him to face a medical test which is done by a Government Medical Officer immediately, and that person shall comply with such requirement.” 


7th MISCONCEPTION:
“Only Traffic Police Officers have the right to stop any moving vehicle. (That’s why you find at least 1 normal Police Officer in every checkpoint even though they are manned by Army)

There is no such law. Any uniformed police officer has the authority to do so. Furthermore, it has been mentioned in the Section 56 of the Police Ordinance which has already been mentioned above (01) that every police officer has equal police powers. Furthermore, the following facts have been mentioned in Section 63 of the Police Ordinance. “Any person who in any street or road, through free, or passage, within the limits of any town, commits any of the following offences, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty rupees, or to imprisonment not exceeding three months, and it shall be lawful for any police officer to take into custody without a warrant any person who within his view commits any such offence.”   (1) Any person who drives a Vehicle or carrying a Cart without lights after dark and before dawn.

  


8th MISCONCEPTION: 
“Police Officers cannot enter your home or work premises without a Court Order in writing. You have the fullest right to ask for it. If they try to enter by force, you have a right to object it.”

It has been clearly stated in Section 25 of Criminal Procedure Code that any Police Officer in uniform has the authority either to enter or to inspect a house or a place of business at any time without a Court Order.  “If ingress to such place cannot be obtained under section 24 it shall be lawful in any case for a person acting under a warrant, or in any case in which a warrant may issue but cannot be obtained without affording. The person to be arrested an opportunity of escape, for a peace officer to enter such place and search therein, and in order to effect an entrance in to such place to break open any outer or inner door or window of any place whether that of the person to be arrested or of any other person, if after notification of his authority and purpose and demand of admittance duly made he cannot otherwise obtain admittance.
 

9th MISCONCEPTION:
 
“A traffic Police Officer cannot seize your driving license until he fully states the crime you have committed and the relevant penal code violation. If he is unable to do so you are free to go.”

You are not allowed to do so. A Police Officer has the authority to request the driving license so as to verify whether the driver is holding a valid driving license for the relevant vehicle. It has been clearly stated in Section 135 of Motor Traffic Act that the driving license should be submitted forthwith if a Police Officer requests a driver to do so.“The driver of a motor vehicle shall always carry his driving license on his person or in the motor vehicle and shall, on demand made by police officer, forthwith produce the license and permit it to be inspected” 


10th MISCONCEPTION: 
“If a traffic Police Officer seizes your license by force and asks you to come to the police station to collect it. Do not go. Lodge a complaint directly to the Superintendent of Police or to the Deputy Inspector General of Police of the relevant area you can get the Police Officer sacked for his misconduct and unruly behavior.”

It is not possible. It has been made clear in Section 135 (4) of Motor Traffic Act that a Police Officer is authorized to take a driving license into his custody after issuing a temporary license for the driver. It is not possible to interdict a police officer after carrying out a disciplinary inquiry against such act.“Where a driving license is produced to a police officer at any investigation made by him into an offence alleged to have been committed in connection with the driving of a motor vehicle by the person who is the holder of the license, the police officer may take charge of such license for the time being and issue to such person a permit under his hand, in the prescribed form and setting out the prescribed particulars.”    


11th MISCONCEPTION:
“(For women) If a Police Officer asks for your name, address, NIC or telephone number and (if you think he's doing it on purpose to harass you) you can deny his request. He cannot arrest you. You have the right to request for a Female Police Officer.


12th MISCONCEPTION:
 “(For women) If you are asked to be body checked, it's your right to get it done by a Female Police Officer. If they don't have one in present,you can refuse to comply.”
A Police Officer has the authority to get information from any woman if necessary. The presence of a female Police Officer at the time is not a prerequisite. When taking a woman into custody or inspecting a woman it should be performed only by a woman. She should not necessarily be a female police officer. It has been explained in Section 30 of Criminal Procedure Code as follows. “Whenever it is necessary to cause a woman to be searched the search shall be made by another woman with strict regard to decency”  


13th MISCONCEPTION:
 
“If a Police Officer is about to levy a fine or to prosecute you for speeding, you have a right to request to have a look at the speed indicated in the speed detection devices. Speed detection devices in most of the Police Stations are out of order and the speeding drivers are caught by hazarding a guess under the pretext of using the deve.”

A Police Officer has the authority to take a driver into custody if he is speeding recklessly. At such instances having a speed detection device is not compulsory to take such measures.






       


 

Inspector General of Police - Pujith Jayasundara

Pujith Jayasundara
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