The National Police and their problems
Paper Edition | Page: 7
Problems of law enforcement and security in Indonesia are related to the role and position of the National Police (NP) as an institution in homeland security affairs.
Some cases that violate the public’s rights relating to security affairs, such as the forced dispersal of Irshad Manji’s book discussion by the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and threats against religious activities of the Ahmadiyah community, indicate that the NP as an institution does not optimally perform its role and functions.
However, the NP are also considered incapable of solving anarchistic cases, like violent motorcycle gangs that involve military personnel.
In a broader sense, the NP are not able to solve social conflicts successfully. Conflicts in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, and Mesuji in Lampung are evidence that the presence of NP in these land and mining conflict areas only makes matters worse.
Meanwhile, the recent unsolved shootings of foreigners and local civilians in Papua reflect poor security management in the region as a result of a less prudent NP role in security and order.
An institution like the NP with its inherent corruption requires strong leadership by a visionary leader. If we use the analogy of a broom, the head of the NP must be a clean and committed person who will sweep all dirt away from the institution.
In addition, police force leaders must also be free from political interests. This can be difficult when the NP’s head enjoys close relations to political elites or leads the institution based on political agreements.
It renders the police chief a political hostage during the period of his leadership.
It is not the first time that the chief of police has become a political hostage of the ruling government.
The two previous regimes also heralded the NP chief as part of efforts to protect government policies. Strong leadership from the institution’s head would ensure the collectivity of the NP as an institution, which is sadly lacking with the current NP chief, Gen. Timur Pradopo.
A series of controversial decisions made by Pradopo indicates political obligations on his part. One of his decisions that raised questions was when he signed the draft of the National Security Bill as the NP had previously agreed that the draft be approved by the House of Representatives.
Three former NP chiefs rejected the bill, arguing that being assessed would be detrimental to the NP as an institution. In addition, the NP was “cheated” when the Social Conflict Management Bill was passed into law by the House.
The law authorizes the military’s involvement in the management of social conflicts, a Homeland Security issue that is actually the responsibility of the NP.
The impact on the NP is poor synchronization of its personnel to the institution’s roles and functions. Various programs and policies introduced by previous NP chiefs, such as the NP Grand Strategy, have become nothing more but formalities.
The period of 2010-2015 is the second period of building police partnerships, where the NP should be more open to and with the public and create public partnerships to improve the country’s internal security.
Community Policing, the main NP program introduced under the leadership eras of Sutanto and Bambang Hendarso Danuri, has sunk without trace.
The NP are merely repeating their previous role and function of “hit and run”, with no encouragement and careful planning as would be expected from a professional police force.
Steps taken are based more on image and clarification of a number of issues involving the NP, taken from the road map for managing professional institutions.
Based on above facts, the NP are about to go back to the dark ages where it is seen as being part of circumstances with unresolved political debts and politicization within the institution.
Even worse, without a concept, strong leadership or a commitment to clean up the institution will only drag the NP down further.
A professional police force is greatly desired by the public. Therefore, encouragement for the NP to become committed with norms and to perform their roles and functions optimally should be effectively carried out.
One of those is to encourage the NP leadership to return to the Grand Strategy program and continue the excellent programs that were initiated by previous NP chiefs.
Without it, the NP will surrender to circumstances, which will negate the commitment to promote professionalism.
Therefore, the government, the House and the public must work together to continually supervise the NP.
The writer is a lecturer at the School of Governance Studies, Padjadjaran University, Bandung