The Jakarta Post
A police watchdog has criticized the West Jakarta Police's decision to 'punish' 34 officers who tested positive for illegal drugs with mere physical and mental guidance sessions.
Indonesian Police Watch (IPW) chairman Neta S. Pane said on Friday that the leniency showed to the officers was unfair as they had not set good examples to society.
'The sessions have good intentions but are misguided. There must be affirmative action against drug users, especially those in the police,' he said.
On Thursday, the West Jakarta Police said 34 of their officers had tested positive for crystal methamphetamine, locally known as shabu-shabu, and nimetazepam pills, known as 'happy five', after West Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Fadil Imran ordered all officers to take a urine test last month.
The West Jakarta Police oversee hundreds of nightclubs, entertainment spots and discotheques in the Tamansari, Old Town, Mangga Besar areas and on Jl. Gajah Mada and Jl. Hayam Wuruk.
According to West Jakarta Police spokesman Comr. Heru Julianto, the 34 policemen were from several police directorates, including the narcotics directorate.
The 34, who were all low-ranking officers, have been undergoing physical and mental guidance sessions for the past two weeks and will continue to do so until the end of the month.
'They go through physical training five times a week from 7 a.m. to around noon. Each day they go for a run and practice self-defense, baton training and handcuffs training. We want to remind them what it means to be policemen, ensure they're healthy and that all the 'poison' has been flushed out,' he said, adding that the sessions were held at the Palmerah Police headquarters, West Jakarta.
The policemen have also been given spiritual guidance sessions to strengthen their morals and are constantly reminded of their responsibilities to their families and employer.
They had not been detained and had been given weekends off, he said.
'We will take urine samples again by the end of this month. If they still have positive results then we will send them to a rehabilitation center. If they are still not clean by the end of the rehab, we will consider whether they should be legally processed,' he said.
In contrast, civilians allegedly involved in drug abuse are criminalized. Celebrities Raffi Ahmad and Roger Danuarta, who were arrested for consuming drugs, were criminalized but after public pressure, the judges sent them to rehab.
Neta said the 34 officers should undergo intensive interrogation immediately and those who were found guilty of drug possession or drug trafficking should face heavier sentences than civilians as they were law enforcers.
'If this doesn't happen, it means the police are taking advantage of the fact that they are the law enforcers. It seems like they are above the law. This will only increase drug use within the force,' he said.
National Police Commission (Kompolnas) member Hamidah Abdurrachman also criticized the police for not immediately investigating the different roles that the men may have played.
Last year, the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) estimated that Indonesia was home to 4 million drug users. (fss)
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