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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
(Parliament, Tuesday): 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 immigrations 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:
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.
The first series of “Fight Rising Crime” public hearings of the Parliamentary Caucus of Human Rights and Good Governance is not a police-bashing exercise but meant to help the police to fully understand public perceptions about the law-and-order, crime and fear of crime situation in different hot-spots of crime in the country.
The first Parliamentary Caucus hearing in JB has given a clear verdict that the situation of crime and fear of crime in JB remains very grave and critical, and this must be taken fully into account by the police authorities.
The second public hearing of “Fight Rising Crime” of the Parliamentary Caucus of Human Rights and Good Governance, which will be held at the Petaling Jaya Civics Centre tomorrow (Wednesday, 11th July 2007 at 8.30 pm), will provide an opportunity for the police to understand the perceptions of the people with regard to crime and the fear of crime situation in the Klang Valley, particularly Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya and Klang.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman