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Editorial: Our Next Police Chief Must Restore Order
October 06, 2010
The sole candidate to take the helm of the National Police, Comr. Gen. Timur Pradopo, has a tough job ahead if he is appointed to the post. He must restore public trust in the police, maintain law and order and inject some discipline on Jakarta’s often chaotic roads.
Timur, until earlier this week the capital’s chief of police, has strongly suggested that he would uphold the law at any cost.
This is a welcome statement given the rising public concern over thuggery and the use of violence by certain organizations to force their views on others.
His commitment to the law will be closely scrutinized, especially given his supposed links to the radical Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
Pradopo told the media that he intended to include all segments of society, including the hard-line Islamic group, in efforts to maintain security. But he also added that he would not hesitate to act if any group violated the laws of the land.
Involving local communities to provide security in neighborhoods across Jakarta is nothing new.
Local neighborhood watch groups were established in the wake of the 1998 riots to be on the lookout for outsiders or strangers who might be bent on mischief.
While most of these watch groups have disbanded, many communities still police their own neighborhoods.
Such civic groups may play an important role in maintaining security but they cannot not replace the police, which not only have to provide security but also maintain law and order.
This is where the next commander of the National Police will have to devote a substantial amount of his time and energy given the breakdown of order in the capital city in recent months, including a deadly brawl between street gangs outside a courthouse last week.
There can be no excuse for the police to allow militant groups to continue to run roughshod over minorities.
Acts of violence such as attacks on Christians in Bekasi and the burning of an Ahmadiyah mosque must not be tolerated.
Individuals cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands, under any circumstance.
We cannot, as a civilized and law abiding society sanction paramilitary organizations to operate on behalf of the police.
If named to lead the police, Timur must provide better training for officers and strive toward building a professional and highly motivated force.
Following the separation of the police from the military a decade ago, the police have made great strides in improving professionalism and providing better public service.
This must continue, along with rooting out the widespread corruption that dishonors the badge.
The recent raids and arrest of terrorists are a shining example of excellent police work. The longer-term goal, however, must be to serve the public in the best manner possible.