Concern over rising cases of violence against police
As they struggle to restore the tarnished image of their institution, police officers now face increasingly higher risks of violence while on duty.National Police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam told The Jakarta Post on Friday that the National Police were concerned about rising violence against law enforcement officers. “We are currently analyzing and evaluating the situation,” he said when asked about whether the National Police have become more concerned about potential attacks on officers and what measures will be taken to improve the safety of on-duty police officers while preventing similar attacks from recurring.The National Police have reportedly ordered regional police headquarters, particularly in areas that are prone to crime and violence, to intensify firearm raids.Police watchdog Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) has also raised concerns about the issue, highlighting the fact that the targets of attacks were mostly low-ranking officers.“There were 15 police offices that had been attacked and set on fire by mobs in 2010. Between 2010 and 2011, eight traffic policemen were hit while they were on duty. In 2011, at least eight policemen were attacked, seven of them were shot by criminals while another officer was hacked by a knife-wielding theif,” IPW chairman Neta S. Pane told the Post. “Usually, a criminal would just shoot and run, but what has happened recently is different. The perpetrators have attacked the police. It is alarming,” he said.According to Neta, there has been a change in bandit behavior, which is to hurt the police while carrying their operations. This, he added, showed that there were groups of people who harbored accumulated anger toward police and planned retaliation. “This could be because of the unsympathetic actions by the police, particularly [the National anti-terror elite unit] Densus 88, during terrorist raids. When the police act brutally, people become even more brutal,” he said, adding that the recent bombing in a mosque at police headquarters area of Cirebon, West Java, was one example.
Neta said that this new phenomenon also required additional homework for National Police chief Timur Pradopo. “The National Police chief has to evaluate police performance and improve professionalism and awareness,” he said.
He emphasized the importance of the police extending friendship and sympathy towards civilians, adding that Densus 88 also has to avoid executing terrorists during terrorist raids. Police were able to apprehend terrorists without killing them during investigations and raids following the Bali Bombings, so they should also be capable of doing so now, he said. (swd)
Attacks on Police in 2011
June 2: Thousands of people from three villages in South Sulawesi attacked and tore down the Uluere District Police office in Bantaeng, South Sulawesi. According to one of the village leaders, the attack was triggered by a previous incident during which a police officer shot civilians who were allegedly involved in a burglary.
June 1: Second Adj. Insp. Sugiyantoro was shot after approaching a Kijang Innova automobile during a regular patrol because he was suspicious about why the occupied automobile was parked in front of a shop in Bekasi, West Java.
May 25: Second Brig. Januar Yudhistira Pranata and Second Brig. Andi Irbar Prawira were shot dead when they were on guard at Bank Central Asia (BCA) on Jl. Emy Saelan in Palu, Central Sulawesi. Second Brigadier Deddy Edward Undusten was shot in the thigh, but survived.
May 2: First Adj. Insp. Iwan Junawan was hacked by a machete-wielding thief while he was guarding an employee of a Jatiluhur gasoline station in the process of preparing a money transfer to a bank in Bekasi.
Feb. 11: A member of the East Jakarta Police, First Brigadier SP, was found dead in a car near a gasoline station in Cipayung. On the same day, First Brigadier Taufik Asril was shot dead by a thief in Bandung, West Java.
Feb. 4: Second Adj. Insp. Andi Syahrul Rizal was found dead at his house in Makassar, South Sulawesi.
Jan. 17: First Brigadier Marry Amara was shot dead by a burglar attempting to rob his house in Bogor, West Java.