A pilot project is to be launched tomorrow within the Northern range of the Western Province which will mobilise all law enforcement agencies in a fully fledged crackdown on narcotics. The project aims to decrease narcotic usage by 40 percent within the next three months.
The project will be launched with the opening of three dedicated drug reporting Hotlines functioning directly under the purview of the Deputy Inspector General of Police Office in the Western Province Northern Range.
“Around 75 percent of crimes committed within the Western Province are drug related offenses. While there’s been many attempts in the past to rid the province of the drug menace, this project will galvanise public support for a comprehensive crackdown,” DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon said. “Through the intensification of crackdown, we wish to bring down narcotic usage by 40 percent and subsequently crimes by 20 percent within the next three months.”
DIG Tennakoon emphasised the need to have public support saying that ordinary citizens are fearful of passing on information to the Police relating to drugs. “This is an issue of credibility and confidentiality,” he said. “Through the drug reporting Hotline, we aim to revert to the initial informer with our findings or arrest which would a foster a better relationship and improve efficiency.”
The project which envisions to clampdown on drugs from the grassroots level mostly concerns drug addicts for which plans are afoot to send nearly 500 of them for rehabilitation. “Rehabilitation is an important facet of the fight against drugs since we will be working from the grassroots level upwards,” he said. “We will be meeting Magistrates next week on how we could streamline this process to ensure that they are swiftly sent to the centres.”
“As part of the first phase of this project, the progress is to be monitored by the University of Kelaniya after which based on its success rate, the project will be implemented to the greater Western Province and Islandwide thereafter.
The toll-free hotline has been initiated by Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel to serve 2.1 million residents in 1177 Grama Niladhari divisions within the Gampaha district.
The project draws support from rural based anti-narcotic committees inclusive of nearly 2000 members.
Speaking further DIG Tennakoon added that selective police officers will work directly under the purview of the DIG’s office in supporting this project. The news measures are intended to increase the efficiency and enable a comprehensive crackdown on drugs.
Accordingly, the three hotlines are 0713690001 (Negombo), 0713210001 (Gampaha) and 0713580001 (Kelaniya).