It cannot be denied that there are some over-zealous policemen who abuse their authority.
On the other hand, the force has reacted
swiftly by charging the constable with
the killing of Dr Tai.
Those who have demanded answers to the killing must understand that the matter
is now in the hands of the courts.
Policing is a tough job but there is
much the force can do to improve its image. For a start, putting on a friendly
face will help.
Generally, Malaysians do not have
serious complaints against the force.
The misforgivings are mostly about the
mata-mata who hide behind trees to stop
Still, many of the complainants are
guilty themselves in offering bribes to
The force is understaffed and needs some
beefing up. There have been complaints
of the police arriving late at a crime scene.
A break-in may be a petty crime, but a
complainant expects immediate attention. He expects the culprit to be
apprehended, even if the circumstances
may not allow it.
Public expectation is indeed high even
unrealistic at times.
We expect the police to make sure that
demonstrators do not turn unruly; at the
same time we expect them to use kid's
gloves on these demonstrators.
When protestors are arrested, police
brutality is often alleged. When
policemen are attacked, it is always
retaliation due to provocation by the cops.
And when a policeman is killed in the
line of duty, there is hardly any
sympathy as if it is expected of them to
lay down their lives.
There is a lot that needs to be done to
improve the force but we should not
dampen the morale of policemen.
A sober approach is called for. We
cannot ignore the fact that there has
been an increase in the crime rate and the
police have been directed to step up
There will be checks and inspections, particularly on suspicious people in isolated areas. If we expect the
police to perform, we should not see
these checks as harassment.
Crimes have become more frequent and brutal. No one has still been charged with the murder of Johor Baru Deputy OCPD Supt Mazlah Jamil. And the murder of student Audrey Melissa remains a mystery.
But there are cases which have dented
the image of the force. Many of us
remember the shoot out in Tumpat last October when six men, including an MIC division Youth chief, were shot dead. Or the accidental shooting of a Bank Simpanan
Nasional teller in January.
We want our police to be tough but we
also want them to restrain themselves.
There must be a middle path, surely. The
police could start by re-examining their
approach while on crime rounds.
Weapons should only be used if there is
reason to believe that the subject is
dangerous. It is ridiculous, for example, to shoot an unarmed person in the
There are rules and guidelines on the
use of firearms and they clearly define
the specific situation that merits the use of a gun, as Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Norian Mai said.
What needs to be done is to re emphasise some of these points to our policemen.
There must be an honest review on the
exercise of power to ensure that
confidence in the force is
Added manpower and better equipment
alone will not necessarily improve the force. Our policemen need to upgrade
their skills, too.
Fighting crime has become more complex.
Policemen need to be trained in
information technology, accounting and
even business management to counter
cyber crimes and white-collar
All these will not be sufficient if the
salaries and career prospects are
Malaysians should play their part in
crime prevention. Neighbourhood committees and non government organisations
can work with the force to establish a strong bond
and to deter attempts to portray policemen as villains in uniform.
It's time our policemen get their act
together. Let the shooting of Dr Tai be