During his visit to the North this week, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka John Rankin visited the Puthukudiyiruppu Police Station to talk about the community policing programme, which has made a difference to community-police relations in the area.
The community policing programme, funded by the British High Commission in Colombo and implemented in collaboration with The Asia Foundation, focuses on building relations between local police personnel and the communities in which they serve.
The programme, which has run since 2012, works with 142 police stations across all 9 provinces, covering a third of police stations across the country.
Among its several objectives, the programme implements a range of community policing practices such as community police forums, bicycle patrols, complaint mechanisms and community awareness programs aimed at strengthening community-police relations that contribute to increased confidence in the police.
This programme is also aimed at increasing the numbers of both Tamil-speaking police personnel in primarily Tamil-language areas and women police constables in all areas in order to ensure greater sensitivity towards minority communities.
Speaking about the visit, the High Commissioner said, he was pleased to speak to both the police personnel and the local communities involved in the programme.
"They spoke openly about the changes the community policing programme has brought to their villages; increased trust in the police; and the understanding of the role they can play to reduce crime."
He added that increasing confidence between the local community and the civil administration is an important part of long-term reconciliation.
"I welcome the work being carried out by The Asia Foundation, together with the police, towards this end," the envoy said.