On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Herculean task awaits new IGP

We no longer feel safe any more. Robbers and snatch thieves have become more ruthless, no longer satisfied with just escaping with the loot. 

No warnings are given these days, with victims being brutally attacked, sometimes with tragic consequences. 

Snatch thieves and wayside robbers may be seen as petty criminals, but they have become so common that their collective effect can be quite frightening. 

Such crimes are no longer something we read about in the newspapers. It is not uncommon for us and people close to us, be it friends or family, to have a story to tell.  

Once upon a time, it would seem that only the very rich people were at risk, but now even those in the middle-class fear for their safety and that of their children. Think about those abduction cases involving children from ordinary families living in normal suburban homes. 

It does not help when police are seen to be taking their time to respond to such cases and when the traumatised victims are given the runaround when lodging reports. 

Anyone who has made a report of a snatch theft is unlikely to be assured that the police will go all out to solve the case and recover the stolen items.  

And does it not make you wonder that even money from ATM machines can be stolen these days? By that we do not mean criminals lurking nearby to take your money after you have withdrawn it, but physically carting away the ATM machines. 

We also seem to have come to the point where politicians prefer that the press do not report about these crimes or just downplay them because we fear that the country's image would be affected. 

But it doesn't help if we just pretend that this is not a problem and hope that it will eventually go away.  

It won't, and it will only get worse if we do not do something drastic about it. 

Right now, Malaysians have not heard anything convincing on how we are going to combat crime effectively. 

Yes, politicians have told us that "they view seriously" the situation, that more policemen would be recruited and that even Rela members would be roped in. 

Well, next year will be Visit Malaysia Year, and we had better be serious about fighting crime if we want to make everyone feel safe.  

Take a stroll along Orchard Road in Singapore or Oxford Street in London and you will never miss the presence of the policemen on the beat. It is the same at these countries' airports. 

It is understandable that our police do not want our soldiers to fight crime, as the separation of duties must be clearly defined.  

The number of Federal Reserve Unit personnel could, perhaps, be increased and their deployment be made wider. 

But Musa would not be able to deliver if he cannot get extra policemen, better perks and facilities for the 80,000-strong force. 

Everyone, from the people to the politicians, expects the police to carry out round-the-clock work but not many want to talk about giving the force better allowances and incentives.

The police force in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and the United Kingdom are among the best paid in the world. 

We cannot expect our constables and their families to live on less than RM1,000 a month in Kuala Lumpur, Penang or Johor Baru. 

Fighting corruption has to be another of Musa's concerns. The force has a badly dented image. Wearing badges and putting stickers on patrol cars proclaiming its commitment to fight graft won't win the battle. 

Malaysia is a country of many slogans but when it comes to actual implementation and producing results, we are terribly bad.  

Musa has come in with a reputation as a clean and efficient policeman. We believe that he is a man of high integrity and credibility. 

Our police force deserves our support and trust but we also want Musa to do what he is trained to do – fight crime. That would mean seeking out all criminals, big or small, wherever they may be.