Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz stressed that while former President Mohamed Nasheed's government had fallen on February 7, such a day would not repeat itself as long as he was the Police Chief as he was confident that no Police officer would not stand up against him.
In an interview with Haveeru last night, Riyaz who had assumed the post of Police Chief less than 48 hours after Nasheed’s resignation said that some Police officers had memorized the Police Act when it came into effect in 2008 and hence they were well informed and thorough with the laws. So if illegitimate orders are issued, it would be extremely difficult for the Police to digest them, Riyaz explained.
“They won’t follow an illegal order even if it’s issued by me. In truth the Police didn’t even arrest Judge Abdulla Mohamed (Chief Judge of the Criminal Court). It must be accepted that the low ranking officers refused to do that. Dr Jameel (present Home Minister) wasn’t detained. They did arrest him one day and refused to do that again. They didn’t do all that did they?” Riyaz asked.
The Police Chief stressed that even if the Police officers rebelled against him or the policies of the Commissioner, there was no instance where it can be declared that “they were no longer Police officers.” During such a situation the Commissioner must have to listen to them, Riyaz added.
“During the initial stages of Nasheed’s administration I was the head of operations. Faseeh as the Commissioner had ordered me to send officers to clear Reethi Rah resort. I flatly refused him. I did not obey that order. Gasim Ibrahim was the Home Minister at the time. I told him that protesting is a constitutional right. Police can be deployed but only to maintain order. But the island cannot be cleared by sending riot Police. Finally they bypassed me to do it. It became a huge issue,” he detailed.
Riyaz further said that the Police Service was now functioning as it should and stressed that it was now free from political influence. However, he did admit that there were certain issues that need to be corrected. He also added that the camaraderie among the Police officers was now strong.
“We have noted that between 2004 and 2008 the place was in boom. The Public appreciated our service even above the military. Officers don’t gather here during protests. They get the necessary moral support. For the release of CoNI (Commission of National Inquiry) report, I asked for a status report during our operation unity until August 30. How many people called in sick? How many failed to report for work? Do you know the number? It was Zero [absent]. I was quite astounded. Operations officer told me that Police officers were calling in for instructions and location of deployment. They even call in to find out updates. 100 percent of our officers were available,” Riyaz detailed.
He further pointed out that an officer had left duty during a protest as family members were among the protesters and labeled it as an issue. Riyaz added that the disciplinary board would probe the matter.
“I think that it is something we should now train for. The Policeman I want to see would have the courage and the capability to investigate a case against his own father, brother or anyone who maybe close to him. He should be able to muster such values. He must work in line with the laws of this country,” Police Chief said.
Riyaz further dismissed the chances of a repeat of the clashes that ensued between the Police and military on February 7, as remote. To that end, he revealed that the relations between the Police and the military were much better than expected.