Mrs. Bimshani Jasing Arachchi was promoted as Sri Lanka’s first woman Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in October 2020, creating history in Sri Lanka’s 154 years old police service.
The march of DIG Bimshani Jasing Arachchi in her career in police service is an example to Sri Lanka’s women. She is presently the DIG in charge of police administrative grievances division and called as police ombudsman.
“I am from Weeraketiya in Hambanthota district,” DIG Bimshani Jasing Arachchi started to tell us her exciting story.
She was born into a family of ten children. She received her primary education in Meegasara Maha Vidyalaya and learned in Tangalle Girls’ College up to Advanced Level examination. She remembered thankfully the guidance she received from her parents and grandparents.
“They did everything to provide us with a good education. Now, all my siblings are graduates. They are employed in medical, engineering and administrative fields.”
She qualified for Ruhuna University and graduated from that university.
“I studied Economics and Statistics at Ruhuna University. While I was studying in the final year, I saw on a newspaper that police would recruit Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs). I wanted to become a woman ASP and applied to join the Police Department. Subsequently, I joined police on 4th February 1997 as a Sub Inspector (SI).”
Her family, as well as friends, did not like her to join the police. By that time, educated women did not aspire to join the police service. However, she took a firm decision.
In 2001, she passed the ASP examination. However, getting the promotion as a woman ASP was not easy. “I had to face many challenges. But I was not discouraged. I did not step back because I had the courage and confidence to face the challenges.”
On the day the women SIs passed out their training, the entire batch of around 160 female officers were attached to the police headquarters in Vavuniya to get war experience. They had to engage in duties in the operation areas for a few months.
During the Police Training College training, she was selected to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). She started work in CID at the section to investigate immigration and emigration offences. “CID trained us as brilliant criminal investigators. We were keen and dedicated to our duties. I had the opportunity to get administrative experience by working as the personal assistant of the DIG. I received a wide knowledge of investigating commercial crimes. In the early 2000s, when the police higher education academy was started, I joined it as a lecturer and a course coordinator. After that, I served in the inspection and revision division as well as presidential security division. By then, I had promoted as an inspector of police.”
In December 2006, she once again left for East Timor for the UN peacekeeping mission’s duties. East Timor had received independence, and she served in the national investigation bureau in Dili until February 2008.
“I have served mostly in the Police Children and Women’s Bureau,” DIG Bimshani said with gleaming eyes. “Children’s and Women’s affairs is a field I served very enthusiastically. I gained a lot of experience as an investigation officer of the National Child Protection Authority’s police investigation unit. Later, I held the deputy director and director positions in Children and Women Abuse Prevention Bureau.”
She was promoted as an ASP since 2007, SP since 2013 and SSP since 2017. DIG Bimshani Jasing Arachchi said that many opportunities opened to her after joining the police service as a graduate. They were handy for her career development, she said. Bimshani read for Masters on Human Rights at Colombo University.
She joined the UN peacekeeping mission again in 2013, and she was deployed in South Sudan police headquarters as the personnel manager. She participated in several training programmes in Luciana Police Academy in the US and the Central Investigation Bureau of India. She was trained for operations against aircraft hijacking by Luciana Police Academy, and she was the first woman appointed in that field in Sri Lanka.
Focusing on the conventional segregation of male and female ranks in the police service, DIG Bimshani Jasing Arachchi pointed out that women engage in all types of police duties abreast with male officers.
Her husband, Rashan Kodithuwakku, an assistant director of Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, has been a strength to her career development.
“I am the most senior woman police officer in Sri Lanka. Therefore, I have a responsibility to look into the problems of all the women police officers. I must attend to their duty and welfare issues. I have 23 years’ experience in the field and hope to implement programmes for that. It is my duty as well as conscience. Even now, they can directly contact me. Resolving the problems faced by all the police officers is part of my terms of references. Also, I must look into the complaints by citizens and provide empathetic and fair solutions. I will try my best to deliver my services as a friendly and responsible police officer for the sake of the progress of entire police service,” says DIG Bimshani Jasing Arachchi.
She challenged the challenges and achieved victory. Now she has fewer obstacles before her 12-year career ahead of her in the future. We wish her success and hope she will illuminate the police service as a brilliant woman officer.
This content was created for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of Sri Lanka and re-published with approval. Also published on The Island newspaper on 30th December 2020 as feature advertisement.