Senior Superintendent of Police Darshika Kumari Ranasinghearachchi, Director Police Children and Women Abuse Prevention Bureau
Police Children and Women Abuse Prevention Bureau is famous in Sri Lanka as the Children and Women’s Bureau. According to police website, it was started in 1979. Today, the police Children and Women’s Bureau has been established in 494 police stations in 44 police divisions islandwide. The Police Children and Women Abuse Prevention Bureau aims to implement actions regarding crimes against women and children, from physical violence to sexual abuse. The present director of the bureau is Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Darshika Kumari Ranasinghearachchi.
Read in Sinhala: අම්මා නිසා ආ දුර ගමනක කතාව
“I am from Kandy. I went to Pushpadana Girls’ College and passed the Advanced Level examination in 1996. I sent my first job application to the Police Department for a post of Sub Inspector (SI).”
Darshika was a brilliant school sportswoman. Her school was famous for hockey, and she captained the school team. She was the best school girl hockey player in 1995. She represented the national school hockey team also.
“My mum was also a sportswoman. She loved to see I am on the uniform. Dad didn’t want me to join the police service. However, he was on foreign employment. I attended seven interviews in Colombo with my mother. Dad was informed only when I was called for the training. He consented. I gave up the opportunity to enter university and joined the police as an SI.”
Her mother, who wanted the only daughter among the three kids to join the police service passed away in 2015.
“By then, I had promoted as a Superintendent of Police and led the police parade on Independence Day. In 2015, Independence Day was commemorated in Kegalle. I rehearsed in the morning and in the evening, I visited my mum, who had been hospitalized in Kandy. She passed away due to cancer on January 31. I was unable to lead the parade. But I was proud to see the police parade personnel came in buses to pay last respect to my mum. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Central Range also deposited a wreath of flowers before her. My mum might have liked it.”
SSP Darshika is proud of the leadership qualities, decision-making ability, personality, and self-respect from the police service. Segregation of males and females in police cadre impacts on promotions of the women police officers. She is leading advocacy to change the situation.
She followed Diploma in Criminology in Sri Jayawardanapura University and read for the Postgraduate Diploma and Masters in Criminology at Colombo University. She is thankful to the Police Department for sponsoring for all of these academic courses.
She served ten years in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and supervised the cybercrime investigation unit. “The victims of the cybercrimes are mostly women. The main reason is ignorance. A photo taken by a partner due to trust can be published online. It may remain online just for a few seconds. However, many other people can download it and share it within that period. We can investigate and find out only the person who initially uploaded the photo. Producing obscene images is an offence, and we must prevent that offence
“The offenders related to the spread of obscene photos can be easily found out. In many instances, the offenders admit they are guilty of the offence. The problem is that under the Obscene Publications Act, the fine is minimal. Nothing is mentioned about this offence on 2007 No. 17 Computer Crimes Act. These laws must be amended. We will advocate for that in future.”
SSP Darshika has received specialized international training on cybercrime in France, China, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, Iran and Spain.
The duties of the police service are challenging. After the SI training, she engaged in operational duties in Vavuniya. She involved in police operations abreast with male police officers. During the time of tsunami in 2004, and when the war re-started, she served in Trincomalee in the Eastern Province getting many experiences.
She got married in 2001 and now a proud mother of two daughters who are 19 and 13 years old. “In 2008, I promoted as Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). I was first appointed as the Deputy Director of the Police Children and Women’s Bureau after the promotion. I had a lot of duties. The younger daughter was just one month old when my husband met with a serious accident and fell ill. Managing the family responsibilities, and the duties were challenging, but I overcame them. My mum helped me a lot. Whenever I had to leave the office suddenly for an urgent duty outstations, my mother boarded the bus from Kandy to come to Colombo to look after my family. She looked after my children. There were times I had to keep them in day-care centres. In some unexpected moments, I had to work keeping them in my car. However, they learnt to get their things done by themselves. I never had long plans and faced challenges whenever they occurred. Meanwhile, I always gave priority to my duty and never expected relief.”
SSP Darshika Kumari Ranasinghaarachchi thinks that she can render more service than her previous assignments through her new position as the Director of Police Children and Women Abuse Prevention Bureau. “About 65% of the population are women and children. My task is to resolve the problems they face. I attend to each problem daily.”
She has plans to improve the friendly environment of Police Children and Women Abuse Prevention Bureau. Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs has helped the Police Department to improve 41 bureaus in police stations.
Among the police cadre of 85,000 personnel, only 9,000 are women officers. Police service needs more women. Following is the message of SSP Darshika to the future generations who like to join the police. “I tell you not to hesitate and join the police. Many persons think that police is not suitable for women because of gender segregation and masculine dominance. By the time we joined, the police service had very few senior women officers. Now there are ten commissioned senior police officers. The newcomers to police can consult us and complain via us when they come across a problematic situation. Those who join the police service get many opportunities for higher education, career development and balanced life.”
This content was created for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of Sri Lanka by Creative Content Consultants and re-published with approval.