Archive for July 10th, 2007

Paradigm shift – from “Policing for government” to “Policing for People”

Yesterday, when commenting on the series of “Fight Rising Crime” public hearings of the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Najib Abd Aziz said that the public must understand that the police cannot solve crimes on their own as cases involve members of the public themselves.

He said public co-operation was sometimes disappointing with many people preferring to “look the other way”.

Najib is right when he said that policing cannot be left to the police alone but must be a multi-faceted task by all relevant agencies and involve the co-operation of all stakeholders, in particular members of the public.

True, the maintenance of law-and-order and a low-crime society is not just a police problem but requires a holistic approach involving socio-economic, educational and even religious factors and problems such as migrant population, illegal immigrants and the drug menace.

However, the police must bear the greatest responsibility for effective policing because of their specific mission.

The police must undergo a paradigm shift from “Policing for Government” to “Policing for People” and accept public perceptions as of paramount importance in the evaluation of police performance in fighting crime and the fear of crime.

The first thing the Malaysian police must do is to come out of their denial syndrome claiming that law and order is under control and take full cognizance of pubic perceptions that the crime situation in the country, particularly in many black areas of crime, have gone from bad to worse.

At the first public hearing of the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance in Johor Baru on Sunday, the over-capacity crowd of over 600 people were asked three questions:

  • Whether they were satisfied with the police actions and measures which had been taken over the past month in Johor Baru as a result of the public outcry over a spate of brutal robbery-abduction-gang rape crimes;
  • Whether they agreed with the Police that the crime situation in JB had been brought under control; and
  • Whether they agreed with the Police that JB had become a safe city.

Not a hand went up for the “yes” vote for all three instances, as there was an unanimous show of hands to give a thunderous “no” to all three propositions — i.e. not satisfied with what the Police had done in JB in the past month despite stepped-up police activities, did not agree that the crime situation had been brought under control and did not agree that JB had become a safe city to the residents, visitors and investors.

The police may not like or agree with the three answers, but they must accept that it is the people in any area which must have the final say whether the crime situation is under control and has become safe – and they must go back to the drawing board to revise their policing strategy taking into account public perceptions which disagree with police conclusions. Read the rest of this entry »