Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Big budget boost for crime-fighting efforts

A SUM of RM591mil has been allocated under Budget 2013 as part of the Government's efforts to reduce the crime rate in the country.

The Home Minister, under whose jurisdiction the police come under, says a massive recruitment exercise not seen in the nation for the past 43 years will get under way next year.

The budget allocation makes provisions for an increase in the strength of the police force, apart from introducing measures that will strengthen the role of other stakeholders in helping police do their job well.

Previous expansion exercises, according to Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, have not kept pace with the country's demographics.

There are now 110,000 police personnel serving 28.3 million people, which means there is one policeman for every 257 people in the country. But the statistics tell a different story when drilled down to the local level.

The number of police bases or stations, and the personnel to go with them, often cannot keep pace with the rapid pace of development in many districts where housing estates mushroom overnight.

Major districts and towns like Brickfields, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Subang Jaya and Shah Alam definitely need a stronger presence of our men in blue.

Crime in the streets, for example, can be diminished with more policemen out on patrol. Thus, the 2,000 motorcycles to be supplied to patrolling policemen would go in some way to create a presence in these overgrown neighbourhoods.

The installation of more CCTV cameras will be an additional help but the fight against crime can only be truly successful if our citizens do their part to look out for one another.

Even the whole process of making a police report needs to be revamped. There must be a system where a person making a routine report about a lost handbag or document does not have to wait in line with those who are reporting serious crimes involving loss of life and property.

With better use of the Internet, reports can be typed in by the complainants themselves on templated forms from the comfort of their homes, and brought to the police station for endorsement.

The issue about whether there is an increase or decrease in crime can go beyond perception and reality if we simplify the process to ensure that all crime, petty or otherwise, is reported and documented.

With the budget boost, it is also time to relook at the kind of jobs that our policemen have to handle daily.

We need to put our policemen on the streets, not behind desks. And we need to allow more volunteers as well as civil service groups like Rela to take over simple tasks of policing so that our men in blue can do what they do best - nab the criminals and make our society safe.

There is no doubt that our police have served us well. With the additional funds coming in, it is our hope that they will do an even better job.


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