Dec 7, 2016

Have oversight body to monitor cops, Bar says again

Police accountability has been of public concern for a number of years and it is time the force is reformed, says lawyer Firdaus Husni.

Have oversight body to monitor cops, Bar says again

The Bar Council is making a fresh call to the government to establish an external oversight mechanism in meeting challenges faced by the police force.

The Bar’s Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission deputy chairperson Firdaus Husni said this was also necessary for the police to weed out rogue elements within the force.

“In Malaysia, police accountability has been of public concern for a number of years now due to cases reported in the media which have highlighted this worrying situation,” she said.

Firdaus said this during a public talk titled Rule of Law and Police Accountability, held here last night.

In February 2004, the Yang di Pertuan Agong appointed retired chief justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah as chairman of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the police.

The following year, the commission submitted 125 recommendations to the government, with the core proposal being the setting up of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.

However, the top brass in the police resisted, on grounds that the force should not be singled out for action resulting from public complaints.

She said Human Rights Commission of Malaysia statistics revealed that between 2000 and 2014, 242 detainees died while in police custody.

“This indicates a presence of systemic problems in managing and handling detainees in lock-ups,” she said.

She said the second most worrying trend in the force today was the number of cases of police shooting.

She said while police were entitled to carry guns to open fire when necessary, it had been shown that in a number of cases, it had been done as acts of intimidation.

According to police statistics, between 2000 and 2012, the police shot and killed 394 persons.

Further, she said, it was also reported by the commission in its inquiry that the police had used disproportinate force on participants and media members during the Bersih 3 rally in 2012.

“Our police force needs to be reformed,” she said.

Steven Perian, a Queen’s Counsel spoke on the workings of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales.

Perian said the IPCC, a non-departmental public body, was set up pursuant to the Police Reform Act 2002, to handle complaints against the police forces (in England and Wales).

“The cornerstone of the IPCC is its independence, integrity and accountability,” he said.


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