Royal Malaysia Police response to ‘Why police are impotent’

CPI Intro: We are sharing with readers the response of Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) to a commentary by Dr Lim Teck Ghee on “Why police are impotent in dealing with growing crime“(23 July 2012).

Interested readers are encouraged to send in their views on the various points raised by PDRM in defending the official crime statistics and the steps taken to combat crime.


By ACP Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf | Tuesday, 31 July 2012 16:39

There have been quite a number of debates lately on the issues of crime, particularly on the accuracy of official crime statistics and police efficiency in combating crime. Various articles and reports have been written with many quarters offering differing views. The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) have constantly been keeping the public abreast on the crime situation and police efforts in crime prevention. In this article, PDRM would like to clarify pertinent issues concerning crime and in particular respond to the article written by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee entitled “Why police are impotent in dealing with growing crime” in CPI website which was published on 23July 2012 .

Crime statistics released by the PDRM are the actual figures of criminal cases reported to and investigated by the police department. These figures are auto-generated by the department’s computer system, i.e. Police Reporting System (PRS). In this way, no alteration or adjustment to the figures can be done, in order to portray a rosy picture of the crime situation as claimed by certain quarters.

The process of lodging a police report starts with the complainant walk in to the Police Station and at the Enquiry Office the police personnel received the report and types it into the computer using the PRS. Then, the typed report is shown to the complainant for him/her to acknowledge it to be true and accurate. In case where he/she cannot read Bahasa Malaysia, the report is read to him/her and translated if possible. The complainant will then sign a copy of the report for acknowledgement. The PRS will then generate a police report number and the Officer-in-Charge of Police Station (OCS) classifies the complaint according to the nature of the report, whether it is of a civil or criminal category. The Officer Commanding Police District (OCPD) will subsequently re-check whether the report is appropriately classified.

The PRS is linked-up throughout the country and to the Contingent and Bukit Aman headquarters, Criminal Intelligence Units (URJ) at these HQ levels compile crime statistics periodically – daily, weekly, monthly, and so on.

Since the inception of the PRS, PDRM have stopped compiling crime statistics manually, thus the question of doctored figures should not arise at all. Dr. Lim may agree that while crime awareness have caused more victims to come forward to lodge reports for police investigation, there are instances crime goes unreported for reasons known to the victim. These are the so-called dark figures of crime. But so long as a case is reported and duly investigated, the public can be assured that it is reflected in the official crime statistics.

The PRS is monitored daily at the District, Contingent and Bukit Aman HQ levels. Senior officers at these levels regularly check the accuracy of the classification via the system itself. As a matter of fact, this practice is very important that disciplinary actions will be taken against those officers who failed to classify cases accordingly and those who refused or failed to take down a report will be dealt with disciplinary procedure.

In short, PDRM would like to assure and reassure the public that we do not resort to deceiving the public by playing tricks with crime figures. Obviously such wild and unfounded assumptions are against the interest of the police to serve the rakyat better. All crime data and statistics generated within the PDRM system have been audited and verified by Pricewaterhouse Coopers Malaysia (PwC). Therefore all figures presented by PDRM are valid and reliable in accordance with the standards of the professional auditors and not something of our own creation. In light of this, it is definitely not true to claim that the current crime rate is the highest we have ever seen. Based on crime statistics over the past ten years, the highest number of cases was recorded in 2008 with 211,645 cases.

With aggressive crime prevention measures taken by the current top leadership of the force, crime rates have been brought down in the subsequent years. The implementation of NKRA Crime Prevention initiatives, in particular, has successfully helped to reduce crime index to 177,520 in 2010 and 157,891 in 2011.

To gauge how the public feel about their safety and their confidence in the police service, PEMANDU has commissioned a private international company, TNS Research International to conduct a public opinion survey from December 2009 to date. The survey is conducted with a sample size of 1,212 respondents of age 18 and above who are randomly picked proportionately according to state distribution. The mode of survey is face-to-face interviews.

The latest survey results for the period January to December 2011 revealed that the public’s “fear of being a victim of crime” have increased marginally from 52% in January 2011 to 52.9% in December 2011. This slight increase could be attributed to the fact that some cases have generated more public interest, especially when they involved a “series” or “pattern” of specific crime such as fatal snatch-theft cases. The reports of such crimes have in turn formed public opinions on the “state of crime in the country”, hence registering an increase in the fear of becoming a victim.

On the other hand, the public satisfaction towards the performance of police service has shown a significant improvement, i.e., from 56.6% in January 2011 to 70.5% in December 2011.

In his article, Dr. Lim made some valid recommendations as to how to combat crime more effectively. In fact, numerous measures have been taken by PDRM to tackle the crime problems, including those mentioned by Dr Lim. First and foremost, the force always give the highest priority to tackling crime, right from the IGP to the lowest ranked police officers. We also welcome legitimate criticisms and recommendations that will help us improve.

The force is in the process of deploying more personnel to work on the ground through our “civilianization” exercise where desk works that are more clerical or administrative in nature are assigned to civilian staff, and the relieved uniformed personnel are transferred to the ground. In addition, all officers and men, including those who are office-based, are required to patrol the street under the NKRA initiatives. For instance, our latest “Omnipresence” crime prevention strategy was launched recently where 300 uniformed personnel from the ranks of Constables to Superintendent are deployed to 10 strategic locations in KL and PJ daily. This is on top of the regular beat and patrol duties carried out by the respective Police Station personnel.

With regard to the suggestion of Dr. Lim to take on the approach of Broken Windows, PDRM have similar projects called Program Gerakan Tumpuan (PGT) and Safe City Programme.

PGT has been implemented since 2005 with the objective to tackle social problems and crime, instill more values in the community and create greater rapport between residents and government agencies and non government organizations (NGO).

In this programme, efforts were focused on the operational and strategic standpoint of policing, where resources have been managed optimally with officers being redeployed to the streets. The combination of this redeployment of resources and new tactical initiatives have resulted in the early detection of crime in certain populated and business areas.

Some of the issues addressed under PGT are related to drugs, robbery and snatch thefts. The success of the PGT depended on the cooperation of the various organizations which has brought positive changes in areas of implementation. As a point of reference, a research conducted in the San Peng area by the National Institute of Public Administration (INTAN) in 2006 showed a decrease in social problems and crime in this area.

As for the Safe City Programme (SCP), it was approved by the government in 2004 with the main objective to help crime prevention especially in crime prone areas, specifically to free cities from destruction to properties and lives, like crime, theft and robbery; vandalism; social and moral problems; and accidents inside or outside buildings.

Under the SCP, 23 crime preventive measures have been introduced and installation of CCTVs at public spaces and crime prone areas have contributed to the reduction in snatch theft. CCTV locations to be identified by GIS mapping of crime prone areas and to be monitored by PDRM.

This programme has received a Special Achievement in Geographical Integrated Systems (GIS) Award by ESRI (A US based company specializing in project consultancy and implementation services) at the International User Conference in San Diego on 25th of July, 2012. The award was a form of recognition to the collaboration between PDRM and the respective agencies in implementing the Safe City Monitoring System.

In sum, we have no doubt the author (Dr Lim) has all the good intention in his penetrating observations, but regrettably they do not reflect the actual state of affairs of the various efforts and undertakings taken both by the government and PDRM to combat the ever changing landscape of crime and criminality. It is in this vigor PDRM is committed to relentlessly continuing to protect the life and property of Malaysians – 24/7; rain or shine. In the spirit of supportive and caring Malaysians, we know that this is possible.


ACP Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf
Assistant Chief Inspector-General Secretariat
(Public Relations)
Bukit Aman
30 July 2012

  1. #1 by undertaker888 on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 1:04 pm

    ///PDRM system have been audited and verified by Pricewaterhouse Coopers Malaysia (PwC). ///

    Lehman brothers was also audited and verified by reputable auditors and given green bill of health. But we know better isn’t it? How many people were being conned?

    ///public’s “fear of being a victim of crime” have increased marginally from 52% in January 2011 to 52.9% ///

    Did any of you feel safer? NOT!!! Guess we were not counted. Even pedigree dogs are not safe anymore. They were kidnapped all the time.

    ///police service has shown a significant improvement, i.e., from 56.6% in January 2011 to 70.5% in December 2011.///

    Guess we were not counted again. Most of the time I was stopped by police hiding behind some bushes. Some even lied that I was speeding or not follow rules. Then the usual business came how to stettle this.

    The funny thing is how come ten people I asked, out of ten said the performance is bad.

  2. #2 by Loh on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 1:32 pm

    The fact that PDRM cares to reply is encouraging.

    As far as crime statistics is concerned, the procedure in checking through should help the accuracy in the distribution of cases by type of crimes. But it does not ensure that all cases are recorded since there are instances where the desk officers at police stations tell the people that “this happens everywhere, and there was no need to make report”. PDRM should ensure that this will not happen again.

    The figure of 52% of the people who fear of being a victim of crime says that on average in every family, there is a member who is afraid of crime. That means people in all households live in fear. Of course those who have special officers to protect them, while they are in office have no fear.

    From 12 August, the government is introducing eight hundred cameras to arrest speeding, and it was said to have cost 300 million ringgit. How many lives does the government hope to save through reduction in speeding, through this programme? Wouldn’t it be a priority to combat crimes, than to arrest non-criminal activities of speeding. The 300 million of CCTV to deter crimes might save as many lives of potential victim. Of course it offers no chance to retailing police power.

    It is said that those caught speeding will be asked to pay on the spot. Why the hurry? Paying on the spot offers convenience for corruption. The officials are now allowed to handle cash, and give a receipt. What if the receipt is not given, with offenders offered a discount. It has been said that one could settle in police station traffic tickets at a discount, if receipt is not needed. Collecting ‘fine’ on the spot is even more convenient. There is no need to make computer records disappear.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 1:51 pm

    The crime figures released by PDRM are doubtful as we do not know how many victims of crime have been turned away from making a report at the police station.

  4. #4 by optimuz on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 1:54 pm

    I’m no statistician, but I’ve worked in enough organizations to know that any statistic can be used and interpreted in different ways.

    My wife and I have both been victims of crime over the last 3 months, neither of which we reported, due to the fact that we felt it was of no point going to the PDRM only to hear excuses such as “biasalah, tak boleh buat apa2, you kena lebih berwaspada etc”. It’s an exercise in futility.

    My parents home were robbed many many years ago. A report was lodged, the police came and then..silence. No updates, no follow through and I guess, no further action.

    So tell me then, what’s the point of reporting any of these crimes. People are fed up. They only report when there is a major loss, or lives were harmed. Otherwise, no one bothers.

    People have to resort to gated and guarded measures to protect themselves. Is that an indication that they feel safe?

    Tak payah cerita panjang lebar la ACP, hang turun tanpa pangkat dok mai dengan rakyat jelata, pastu tengok kalau hang rasa selamat ke tak? Boleh?

    If you don’t have the testicular fortitude for it, please don’t expect me to believe your crappy explanations, even if I give you credit for bothering to respond!

  5. #5 by megaman on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 3:02 pm

    undertaker888 :

    The funny thing is how come ten people I asked, out of ten said the performance is bad.

    Are you asking the same people that participated in the police survey ?

    There is a major doubt on the source of the police survey and whether this source is reliable.

    In the service industry, customer satisfaction surveys are performed after the service is provided and complete. This is to avoid the survey results from affecting the actual service provided and/or the person filling up the survey from being pressured to provide good comments.

    Seriously doubt the reliability and accuracy of the “feel good” survey results presented by the police since so much details are hidden except for the “magical” figures.

  6. #6 by Winston on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 3:05 pm

    Now, stolen passports and ICs do not require police reports for replacements.
    This will help to keep the figures down.
    And with the co-operation of the government controlled MSM which wipe the papers clean of any crime reporting for so long, crimes are almost non-existent.

  7. #7 by a-malaysian on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 3:14 pm

    ACP Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf,

    This was not answered.

    Perhaps the most important root cause is the trend towards the political use of the police. Instead of focusing attention on fighting crime, our police are all too often ordered to perform political work aimed at suppressing the opposition and other opponents of the ruling government.

  8. #8 by ksauyong on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 3:18 pm

    The crime statistics is only as good as the quality of the input. As those dealing in statistics are fond of saying “Garbage in, garbage out”. There is little point in having a “PRS” if most citizens do not report a crime. There is little point in having a “PRS” if the police personnel refuses to accept a report. Before we, the people, can accept all these statistics from the police, the police have to prove to us that they are a police for the people and not for UMNO/BN. Hearing reports on the abuses by the police during the Bersih rally did not help us in having confidence in what the police does. If the police wants trust from the people, they have to prosecute all the bad eggs in the police force and ensure that a repeat of their abuses do not occur.

  9. #9 by lkt-56 on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 4:04 pm

    //there are instances crime goes unreported for reasons known to the victim//
    Our residents’ association recently had a dialogue session to voice the residents concerned over crime in our area. The police officer looked at his data (probably generated from this PRS thing) and said: According the the statistics here… your area is very safe.
    Makes me wonder why we are having this dialogue session. He then went on to insinuate that the residents have themselves to blame for not reporting the crime. Here we have a top police officer using statistics to defend the police instead of listening to the people’s concern about crime. Next he suggested that the residents should form ‘rukun tetangga’ to look after our own safety if we are concerned about our own safety. This thought went through my mind:
    “My whole life as a law abiding citizen of Malaysia I pay tax and when I asked for protection from the police whose duty is to protect us when we feel unsafe, he told us we must look after ourselves.” Now I can understand why so many residential estates are resorting to “guarded community” concept and why housing developers are selling “gated community living” concept. If I am in the police force this is not a development I would regard with pride as it shows the people’s lack of confidence in the police force. We are not interested in statistics. We want to feel safe in our own residences. We want to feel safe in the shopping complexes’ car parks, we want to feel safe when we stop at traffic lights and not fear that someone will bash our car window, the list goes on.

  10. #10 by monsterball on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 4:07 pm

    Malaysians do not trust the Police Force right now because of the many selective arrests and creating fear for no reasons.
    They are political minded and protecting UMNO b party politicians more than protecting the country and innocent People.
    Their reputations are stained with so many policemen bullying actions and not protecting actions.
    It’s UMNO b Police Force…..trained and selected to be so.

  11. #11 by Dap man on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 4:10 pm

    Public satisfaction at 70.5% December 2011.
    Wow, this is news to me. Public perception is all that matters. And mind you, people have a very low low impression about the police force. PERIOD.

    If all the gated communities in the country are removed I am sure the crime rate will sky-rocket withing the same day.
    When we have pay for our own protection it means we don’t trust the police. Come one, every parent in the country are fearful of their families’ safety.
    Even former IGP Haniff once said he was afraid and had to carry a gun.

  12. #12 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 - 4:34 pm

    Crime rates will definitely drop if police would fight crime by exercising the SAME zeal as
    they did in clamping down the opposition.

    If police could drive ten police cars to arrest Anwar, why couldn’t they drive the same number of police cars to arrest a robber? I am sure
    the robber will not be able to escape when cornered by ten police cars.

  13. #13 by balance88 on Thursday, 2 August 2012 - 10:28 am

    Interpreting statistics requires careful analysis. Numbers can be window dressed as accountants and statisticians and a host of other professionals will tell you and there are things that looking at the number alone will not tell you.

    I know of people who were advised by the police not to lodge a report because the crime was a petty crime. There were also times when victims are put off by the hassle of making the report and knowing that nothing much will be done by the police, decided not to lodge one.

    The number of reported crimes may have dropped but the severity of the crime may have increased. In the current environment, criminals resort to bodily injury to their victims for even the most petty crime. And the victims now include even children besides man, women and elderlies. All the police see are numbers to determine whether the area is safe or not.

    Previously, there may be 50 petty crimes with no bodily injuries but now there could be 25 petty crimes with injuries to victims in 20 cases or even 1 or 2 deaths. Can the PDRM tell us whether an area with these stats is now safer? Just looking at the number of 50 vs 25, yes it is safer. But looking at the severity of the cases, it tells a different story.

    The PDRM should have a zero tolerance on crime. Look at the number of gated communities now and more are sprouting up. If we remove all these gated communities, the crime rate would sky rocket. We have become prisoners in our own back yard. PDRM, are we safer?

    The PDRM should channel more of their resources into keeping the society safe rather pouring loads of resources in catching the opposition’s politicians who won’t kill or injure anyone.

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