Altus Global Police Station Visitors Week
Sri Lanka
RCSS in cooperation with the Public Relations and Media Coordination Bureau of the Sri Lanka Police Department, conducted the Police Station Visitors Week activities Sri Lanka in November 2006. The period 13 – 17 November, 2006 marked the (PSVW), an international project organized by Altus Global Alliance in The Hague. During this week, civilians in countries across the world visited their local police stations in small teams to assess the station’s service to the public.This initiative facilitated the simultaneous participation of police stations in 23 countries in a one week period with more than 1000 persons visiting over 400 police stations in the 23 countries around the world.  The objective of this unique global event was to assess the quality of service delivered to the public by the participating police stations; to identify some of the best practices in use by the police; and to strengthen the accountability of the police to the people they serve. The project gave civilians an opportunity to observe their police stations and become better acquainted with the police. The police personnel also benefited from these visits as they seeks ways to further improve their service, learning from the reaction of the visitors and understanding how their station compares with other police stations in the region. During the week of 13-17 November, 2006, two teams from RCSS visited 10 police stations in six provinces in Sri Lanka. The six provinces in which the visited police stations were located were the Central Province, North Central Province, North Western Province, Sabaragamuwa Province, Uva Province and Western Province. While police stations were visited in six of the nine provinces in Sri Lanka, due to the prevailing security conditions, it was not possible to include police stations in the Northern and Eastern provinces in the project. The locations of the police stations varied from Metropolitan Colombo to smaller urban towns to rural townships. The police stations visited in Sri Lanka were in Kirulapone, Kiribathgoda, Weeragula, Katugastota, Galaha, Embilipitiya, Sevanagala, Puttalam, Kurunegala and Habarana. The visitors used a special kit to guide their visit, observing protocol applicable to such visits around the world.  Immediately after each visit, they answered a series of questions regarding what they observed and the answers were collated.  The Altus Global Alliance used the ratings supplied by the visitors to calculate the overall score for each station, in addition to separate scores in five categories of service: community orientation, physical conditions, equaltreatment of the public, transparency and accountability and detention conditions. It is noteworthy that almost all the police stations visited in Sri Lanka scored high in terms of community orientation and equal treatment of the public. The main objective of the exercise was to help spread good practices, improve relations between the police and civilians and strengthen the accountability of the police to the people they serve. The teams from RCSS who visited the police stations observed the efficiency of the staff in the police stations and how they serve the public under difficult conditions. The exercise was also a source of encouragement and inspiration to the staff in the police stations as they were provided with an opportunity to voice their opinion in terms of the difficulties they face in conducting their day-to-day activities and their commitment to serve the public. Based on the assessment of scores, some of the police stations in Sri Lanka have been ranked high and viewed as having some of the best practices among police stations in South Asia.