By Rose Kenny
Over 60,000 police personnel have bee deployed for election duties for the presidential election scheduled to be held tomorrow. Police Spokesman SSP Ruwan Gunasekara said during a media briefing held earlier today that 8,080 CSD personnel and STF teams have also been deployed for election related duties.
The Police Spokesman said that all police personnel assigned for presidential election duties had been deployed throughout the country by 6.00 am today (15).
“Two police officers will be assigned to each of the 12,856 polling stations totaling 25,712 police personnel. Covering the whole island 3043 police patrols have been deployed comprising a Police Inspector or Sub-Inspector, a Police Constable or Sergeant and two Civil Security Division (CSD) personnel. The number of police officers deployed for mobile patrols is 6086 together with 6086 CSD personnel,” he said.
In addition, the number of police personnel deployed to the 43 main counting centers are an SP or SSP, 5 IP or SI, five Police Sergeants and 40 police Constables for each counting center. Accordingly, the total number of police officers deployed for counting center duties is 2193. Further, covering all parts of the country, 153 riot police squads have been deployed . All the above deployments have been made by last morning. The riot police squads are deployed as 54 full scale riot squads and 99 partial riot squads. Each full scale riot squad comprises an IP or SI, Police Sergeant and 08 police Constables. Each partial riot squad comprises an IP or SI, Police Sergeant and 5 police Constables. The total number of police personnel deployed for riot police duties stands at 1233, the Police Media Spokesman said.
Police teams have been deployed covering almost all main roads, SSP Gunsekara said. “There are 137 permanent road blocks established, which operate on a regular basis and not just during the election period. In addition, there are 190 road blocks set up at main roadways which are established during the election period. Accordingly, 1688 police personnel have been assigned for road block duties. In addition 190 CSD personnel have also been assigned for road block duties.”
“For all these duties, 60,175 police personnel have been deployed for duty so far. In addition 8080 CSD personnel have been deployed for duties including several teams of Special Task Force Personnel (STF). The STF personnel will be deployed for duty at all counting centers as well. The STF will also operate several mobile patrols and riot squads,” he added.
Meanwhile, 107 complaints had been lodged at police stations and 115 complaints of election law violations so far. “In connection with these complaints the police had arrested 90 suspects related to both above mentioned complaints. During the silent period which commenced from November 13th midnight and will be in effect for a week since the conclusion of the presidential election, 5900 handbills defaming one of the presidential candidates had been taken into police custody in Asgiriya, Kandy and one suspect had been arrested. He has been released on police bail. Meanwhile, another 3845 defamatory handbills had been recovered from the Madampe area and one suspect had been taken into custody.”
The Police Spokesman also said that posters are not allowed to be displayed on private vehicles. However, he said a poster and a flag are allowed to be displayed on the vehicle that the candidate is travelling in.
He noted that groups are not allowed to congregate within 500 meters radius from a polling station and obstructing voters or election officers is also prohibited. Within this 500 meter radius, loud music will not be allowed to be played, even at a residence and in such instances these persons will be charged for obstruction of duties of the election officers.
He emphasized tat no mobile phones would be allowed to be taken into a polling center and no photographs of ballot papers would be permitted. Anyone violating these rules would be arrested and charged.