Police misconduct: Immediate dismissal, no appeals - Criminologist

Criminologist pushes for Civilian Review Board

11 Feb 2024 09:30am
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Illustrated by Sinar Daily
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Illustrated by Sinar Daily

SHAH ALAM - Amidst a concerning rise in reported cases of police officers' misconduct, a criminologist advocates for a zero-tolerance approach towards such behavior, proposing immediate dismissal without the possibility of appeal following internal investigations.

Unikop College's Shankar Durairaja described this approach could effectively send a strong message to other officers.

“Police deviance is a persistent issue across law enforcement agencies, regardless of size or location.

"It extends beyond on-duty conduct, with some offences occurring off-duty, blurring the lines between work and personal life,” Shankar told Sinar Daily.

He cited various contributing factors to police criminality, including mental health challenges, authoritarian personality traits, and stresses like financial, family, relationship, and health issues.

He noted that police burnout, frustration, and organisational culture, particularly poor management and leadership, play significant roles in fostering deviant behavior among officers.

Shankar highlighted several strategies implemented by the police force to address deviant behavior among officers.

“In 2014, the police's Integrity and Standard Compliance Department (Jips) was upgraded to enhance the agency's image.

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"Then, the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) was established to investigate misconduct complaints and improve police integrity.

"The Police Force Commission, mandated by Article 140 of the Federal Constitution, handles disciplinary matters.

"A special task force under the Jips monitors officers living beyond their means.

"Integrity tests were conducted to assess officers' conduct, especially those in corruption-prone areas,” he said.

He also stressed the importance of continuous training on integrity and accountability for police officers to ensure they remain ethical.

“A zero-tolerance policy for misconduct, resulting in immediate dismissal after internal investigation without appeal, could serve as a strong deterrent for officers.

"Consideration should be given to establishing a civilian review board comprising experts from academic institutions, social activists, and retired judges to oversee internal investigations and provide recommendations.

"Allegations of bias in internal investigations by the police raise concerns, highlighting the need for impartial oversight,” the criminologist noted.

On methods like mental health checks and anger management classes to address issues, Shankar acknowledged that the police force has already employed such measures.

However, he stressed the importance of assessing the frequency, inclusivity, and effectiveness of these practices in combating the issue at hand.

Shankar also revealed that disciplinary actions were taken against 496 officers in the first five months of 2023, resulting in 34 dismissals.

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