Greater professionalism in police | Selangor Times
Issue 118


Greater professionalism in police
Writer: Azmi Sharom
Published: Fri, 08 Feb 2013

gain the police are in the news for alleged violence that has led to death. This time the victim is C Sugumar, a man who was reportedly mentally disabled but by and large harmless.

The news reports do not look good for the police. For one thing, the man was handcuffed, so he would effectively have been incapable of inflicting any serious harm. 

After all aren’t the police meant to be trained to subdue people without actually killing them? So, once a person is bound, shouldn’t it be standard procedure to restrain him without any further danger to the person?

The fact that there was a crowd involved also raises disturbing questions. What on earth were they doing there when the police were already in charge of the situation, and what were the police doing allowing the crowd to get involved in such a way (apparently they were beating the man too)? Then of course there is the mystery of the turmeric powder.

Naturally there can be no certainty as to what actually happened because there has been no official hearing yet, but this case does bring to the fore the need for two important developments with regard to the police.

Firstly, where is the independent police commission? I see no other choice but to have one if we are to dig the police out of the mire of public distrust they find themselves in. I am not anti police. 

I have personally been a victim of crime and of course the first people you call are the cops. And it cannot be denied that these men and women put themselves at risk. We need them there, but we also need to know that they can be trusted.

As it stands there is no way out of this conundrum unless any wrong doing by the police is settled in a manner that ensures the public there is no cover up and where the guilty party can escape. And the only way to establish that is by having an independent body not beholden to either the government of the day or the police to deal with complaints.

Secondly, there is a need for greater professionalism within the police. From an outsiders perspective there seems to be a cowboy attitude prevalent where some of the people in blue at least believe that the ends justify the means.

We give the police a lot of power. They are armed and they can have a direct effect on our lives unlike any other citizens. That power must be used responsibly for when unrestrained and unprofessional behaviour is combined with handcuffs, batons, tear gas and guns, then what we have is a situation where people live in fear or an organisation which was meant to protect.

What is required is a paradigm shift where crime fighting per se is not the sole objective nor is it the measurement with which the success of the police is measured. Instead there has to be an understanding that in a civilised democratic country there has to be the strict adherence to procedure; procedure which is not only designed to solve or stop crimes but at the same time to ensure that the values of a democratic state, human rights, fairness and justice are maintained.

For without these values, and without a police force that understands and respects them, then just what is it that they are risking themselves for?  


 Selangor Times



Also by Azmi Sharom:

Ethics, morals needed more than ever

SOMETIMES reading the news makes one rush to the bathroom for a long hot shower. 


We live in warped logic

DON’T get it. I just don’t get it.

Peaceful is as peaceful does

1AI was sitting in Merdeka Stadium on Saturday with a couple of friends, watching the venerable old lady of independence fill up with people, I playfully wondered if  photographers from the mainstream media had been there earlier to take a photo of an empty stadium to be used as “evidence” that no one turned up.

Rotating parties for better governance

IN my last article I wrote about the importance of changing the system of local government that we have. By that I meant we should reintroduce local government elections as well as overhaul the Local Government Act in order to ensure a more transparent and accountable local authority.

Importance of local government elections

THE Batu Caves condominium project has raised some interesting talking points. The most obvious of these, the one taken up by the many comments I have read on the internet, is the sheer bald faced cheek of the BN government.

Can bully boy tactics win?

Oh what a glorious night! Twenty-three years of humiliation, with nothing but self-deprecating humour to comfort oneself, finally laid to rest on that one glorious night.

New wine, old wineskin

It is telling that during the Suhakam inquiry into the Bersih 3.0 rally a police officer revealed when questioned that he did not know that the right to assemble was constitutionally guaranteed for the people of this country.

Really, you can’t make it up

Rais Yatim should be given a present from people like myself who write current affairs articles. 

Scripts for Tinseltown

Hollywood, having run out of ideas, has turned to Malaysia for inspiration. Below are two potential blockbuster movies which draw their plots from the pages of Malaysia’s newspapers.

And so it begins...

The scare tactics that are so beloved by the ruling coalition. We have seen it before of course. Like an evil babysitter, the BN has constantly thrilled at telling horror stories to keep us in our place.

Only the uncaring will not care

If the government is not quaking in their boots after last weekend, then they must be in total denial.

Informed, not phony, reasons work better

There have been two consistent arguments used by the Barisan to persuade the electorate to vote for them. The first and more popular claim is that we should vote for them because they have experience.

Nation of idiots in the making

We are on the brink of becoming a nation of idiots.

When silence implies consent

Hope Springs eternal

THIS year, the most amazing political event to have occurred in the world could very arguably be the Arab Spring. Popular uprisings all over the Middle East have seen dictatorships fall like ten-pins in the centre of of a camel race. The process continues still.


Lack of respect for the Constitution

It’s quite apt that it was during a mass circumcision ceremony that Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz made his announcement that Section 27 of the Police Act 1967 is going to be removed. We, the people of Malaysia, just like the poor little nippers at that ceremony, are going to be rid of something.











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