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Police stations also now unsafe since cop can be murdered?
Published on: Sunday, September 17, 2017

By P. Sundramoorthy
THE recent brutal killing of a policeman at the Pinggiran Subang Jaya police station raises many questions about the security and safety of police stations across the country.

This horrific incident did not occur in a police beat base (pondok polis) or an isolated station in a rural or under-populated area. The Pinggiran Subang Jaya police station is located in a densely populated commercial area in Klang Valley.

Police stations are viewed as sanctuaries by the public. In many societies, people retreat to the police station when they are in dire need of assistance or protection when their personal safety is under immediate threat.

The feeling of being a victim of crime, especially violent crime, is most frightening and makes a person totally helpless. Thus, the public needs reassurance that they can go to the nearest police station at any time to seek immediate help or protection.

According to official sources, police stations (unlike police beat bases) are supposed to be manned 24 hours a day all year round. In this case, some of the concerns regarding safety and security at police stations are as follows:

2. What is the policy on personal safety of officers on duty at police stations?

3. To what extent are police stations immune from being attacked by criminal and terror groups?

4. Why was this police station not equipped with a CCTV system?

5. How can the public be reassured that police stations are sanctuaries?

6. Who will be accountable and responsible for the loss of a precious human life if evidence clearly demonstrates weakness in the administration and management of the Pinggiran Subang Jaya police station?

Many of the above questions need to be answered urgently. Studies conducted by the Universiti Sains Malaysia research team on crime and policing have clearly shown that public perception of crime is strongly correlated to various other factors besides the police crime index statistics.

Both social and traditional media have a major impact on the crime perception rate.

Symbols of gang graffiti and loan shark posters displayed boldly in communities also create unwarranted negative perception. CCTV systems and street lighting make a difference on the perception rate too.

Police job performance has been correlated with perception of fear as well. The perception variables above are non-exhaustive and incidents like the killing of a police officer, especially in a police station, can create a sense of insecurity among the people.

Police stations across the country must continue to be seen as sanctuaries. The police must relentlessly pursue the killer/s in this case and at the same time go after those who failed to ensure the station was managed accordingly.

P. Sundramoorthy School of Social Sciences Universiti Sains Malaysia

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