Major challenge in restoring police’s image

17 Feb 2024 09:00pm
Photo for illustrative purposes only - Bernama FILE PIX
Photo for illustrative purposes only - Bernama FILE PIX

As a security force that interacts extensively with the public, the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) image is constantly subject to public scrutiny, whether in the form of praise or criticism.

With information technology advancing rapidly through various social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram and news spreading quickly without borders, the greatness of the police is sometimes disrupted by the actions of a few of its members.

In the case of social media influencers from the United Kingdom (UK) that circulated the act of a traffic police officer offering a RM100 fine payable on the spot, although the issue may seem small, its impact is significant as it involves foreign tourists and negative news has spread widely.

Although the incident involving only RM100, it has had a significant effect on the image of RMP in the eyes of the public.

It is not surprising that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Razarudin Husain issued a strongly worded statement openly to all district police chiefs.

In his stern warning, which was widely disseminated on social media, Razarudin directed all district police chiefs to monitor every activity of officers, ranks and files personnel and their respective administrations, if any of them live luxuriously compared to their positions and salaries.

He said district police chiefs would be held accountable if the federal police found that officers or members under their command were living lavishly, beyond their mean.

"District police chiefs who are unaware or pretend to be unaware that there are officers or members living lavishly are requested to leave (the police service)," he stressed.

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The IGP’s directive is indeed a challenge for all district police chiefs. As supervisory leaders at the district level, this responsibility should be shouldered jointly with officers at the lower levels with full integrity.

As a large force with nearly 140,000 members, RMP faces continuous challenges to ensure that all its members have high integrity and are willing to reject corruption no matter how significant the amount.

Outside, police officers and personnel with 'power' sometimes face parties willing to offer rewards either to obtain something, avoid disrupting their criminal activities and more.

Members who are not strong in faith are easily trapped, especially in coping with the increasingly daunting life today.

Sometimes officers and police personnel with good morals are eventually forced to be involved in corruption or collusion with a certain syndicate because they may receive threats from certain parties.

Imagine if a police officer who reported for duty at a state contingent for only one day was at a restaurant when suddenly approached by an unknown person who left an envelope containing money on the dining table with a message inside and then left.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Ayob Khan, when he was the Johor police chief, once used anonymous letters as one of what could be considered 'eyes and ears' to detect any misconduct by members and criminal activities in the state.

Perhaps anonymous letters can be used as one of the channels to ensure that every member is always aware that their actions are constantly being monitored by their colleagues within the force.

Furthermore, the use of body cameras or body-worn cameras by RMP members is expected to help in efforts to enhance integrity.

Hopefully, the stern warning from Razarudin can restore the image of RMP in the eyes of the public. Insha-Allah.

*Marzuki Yusoff is an editor at Sinar Harian.

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