PETALING JAYA: Consumer groups are disturbed over the ease with which civilians can buy police uniforms and equipment, saying there should be tighter control over them.
Consumers Association of Penang research officer N.V. Subbarao was shocked on reading The Star's exclusive front page on the issue yesterday.
"It is not an ordinary person's uniform. This is the outfit of those who are in charge of law and order in this country, and so, it is a security issue.
"If anyone can pass off as a law enforcement officer, isn't that a threat to national security?" he said.
The matter was highlighted following the recent arrest of two men posing as traffic policemen and serving as outriders for a convoy.
Several shops visited by The Star in Kuala Lumpur revealed that walk-in customers did not even need to produce police ID to buy apparel and paraphernalia thought to be exclusive to the force.
Subbarao also said shopkeepers must never sell the items to those without proper identification and necessary documents to back up their claims of being police officers.
"They need to show their police ID. Those uniforms and equipment are not your day-to-day consumer items, to be sold and bought in an unregulated manner.
"Imagine what would happen if the uniforms and basic equipment of other armed forces personnel became just as easily available to civilians.
"How would civilians tell between real law enforcement officers and impersonators?" he added.
Muslim Consumers Association Malaysia president Datuk Nadzim Johan called for increased control and registration of police uniform and equipment supplies and retailers.
"It is also possible that if anyone is set to commit crime, they can find ways to not only get the uniforms, but also firearms.
"Authorities should make it difficult to obtain such uniforms in the open market place," he said.
It was reported that one needs only about RM500 (S$164) to dress up as a regular cop and some RM2,000 as a police outrider.
The sum can cover everything from police outrider jacket, helmet, riding boots, sirens to blue beacon and strobe lights for the motorcycle.