Jokowi tells police: Win back public's trust

Jokowi tells police: Win back public's trust
Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo
PHOTO: Reuters

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has demanded that the National Police fulfil their promise of institutional reform, speaking during a celebration of the police force's 69th anniversary on Wednesday.

Jokowi, who acted as ceremony inspector at the National Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) headquarters in Depok, West Java, said that the public still often reported police officers receiving bribes or extorting money in relation to the direction or outcome of investigations.

"Law enforcement must eradicate criminal violations of protocol and do so with a firm hand. The National Police must be able to quench the public's thirst for justice," he said during his speech.

Jokowi added that money did not only change hands in the law enforcement division of the police force, but also the public services division, in processes such as driver's license applications, which were prone to corruption.

"The National Police must improve all aspects of their service. They should implement online systems in order to avoid corruption," he said.

He reminded National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti of his proposal to implement 11 different priority programs once he was inaugurated, designed to improve the National Police's performance and regaining the trust of the public.

"Going along with the theme of a 'mental revolution' the National Police have proposed 11 priority programs. These programs must be implemented, not just discussed, and should result in positive and constructive change," he said, adding that complaints from the public and the media must be immediately addressed.

Recently, the National Police named and detained a senior investigator, Adj. Sr. Comr. Pentus Napitu, for allegedly attempting to extort Rp 5 billion (US$375,000) from a drug dealer whose case he was investigating.

Badrodin has previously stated that he is aware of the rampant corruption within the force.

"We already have methods to make sure that these 'legal mafias' are eliminated from the force. We hope that this will produce results soon," he said, declining to disclose by what means the force tracks down officers involved in extortion.

During the confirmation hearing for Badrodin's police-chief candidacy at the House of Representatives in April, he expressed a wish, as one of his 11 priority programs, to increase the National Police's budget in order to tackle internal corruption problem.

He argued that the police force's meagre investigations budget forced officers to look for dishonest ways to fund their cases as the budget only covered 36.2 per cent of all cases reported annually.

Since then, Badrodin has announced that next year's planned budget allocation for the force would go up Rp 5 trillion, to Rp 62 trillion. He has said that he would propose another increase next year in order for all investigations to be fully covered by their annual budget.

Meanwhile, National Police detective division chief Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso admitted that some police officers were easily coaxed into receiving money to manipulate a case if they were close to someone who was involved with that particular case.

"A close relationship between an officer and another person [outside of the force] may lead to a case being manipulated because the latter takes advantage of the officer's position. This kind of relationship is what we should watch out for," he said.

Police expert Bambang Widodo Umar told The Jakarta Post that Jokowi was right to ask the police force to keep a closer eye on potential extorters.

"There is a 'legal mafia' in every police station nationwide because police have so much authority over whether or not a person becomes a suspect in a particular case, which is why individuals and companies may try to bribe them," he said.

Bambang added that the chief of the National Police's general supervision inspectorate and the chief of the internal affairs division should regularly go into the field to monitor and deal with officers caught red-handed.

Furthermore, he said that the National Police Commission (Kompolnas) must also participate in the supervision of police, and report to the President the names of officers found extorting money or accepting bribes.


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