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Thread: Law & Order: Crime statistics are manipulated

   
   
       
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    Law & Order: Why police are impotent in dealing with growing crime ― Lim Teck Ghee

    Why police are impotent in dealing with growing crime ― Lim Teck Ghee



    July 23, 2012

    JULY 23 ― A few days ago a colleague sent me a copy of an email, which read:

    Though the government is denying it, we are seeing severe escalation of serious crime in the country. At lunch today, I learnt from a member of [respectable organization] that the xxxxxx Embassy is now holding briefings on crime and precautions. There is also a recent entry of some [foreign] crime groups. We are all living in fear….Most people would agree that the current crime rate is the worst we have ever seen. When victims lodge police report, often police will refuse the report as it affects their KPI.

    There is a witticism, which states that “there are lies, damn lies and statistics”.

    A reminder of the close proximity between statistics and damn lies should be sent to Pemandu, the government’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department, which has staunchly defended statistics showing street crime has fallen by 40 percent in the past two years.

    Also according to Pemandu, the country’s crime index fell by more than 10 per cent between January and May this year ― a claim that has drawn hoots of derision from readers in the internet media.

    It is a fact that Malaysians are cynical of the statistics put out by the government. Although the government has been at pains to argue that there is a declining trend in crime, the man in the street does not believe the government. The average Ali, Siva and Chong is even more agitated when the government blames the issue of escalating crime on public perception and blown-up media accounts.

    The truth is that our government-friendly media is under-reporting rather than over-reporting on crime and violence. Let’s be frank and admit that the official statistics on crime, especially petty crime, are unreliable.

    Unlike the statistics collected by the Department of Statistics, police statistics are generated by front line personnel who have a vested interest in under-reporting. Everyone knows that police personnel have every incentive to avoid extra work through understating crime incidence. They also do not want to give a bad name to the police district if they can help it. Under-recording of actual cases of crime is very much the norm in most police stations.

    No need to argue with the public

    It is difficult for the government to convince Malaysians that the police statistics are believable since there is no way the public can monitor how the statistics are generated or processed.

    If we go by neighbourhood and other grassroots accounts, it appears as if episodes of house break-in, handbag snatching, armed robbery and other criminal acts have become commonplace instead of being the exception.

    Rather than trying to argue with the public on crime statistics, it is more prudent for the government to acknowledge the surge in criminal activity, especially of petty crime and to take strong measures to prevent it from getting worse.

    How to combat growing crime

    Amongst necessary measures, these should have priority:

    • Instilling a greater sense of responsibility and urgency in the police top brass on tackling crime. Trying to defend the police or deflect legitimate criticism is the wrong approach.

    • Requiring that a greater proportion of police personnel be assigned to work on the beat instead of at the office.
    • Adopting William Bratton’s policing philosophy. This veteran police officer who is advisor to the British Prime Minister David Cameron on law and order is an advocate of the ‘broken window’ criminological theory of the norm setting effect of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime and anti-social behaviour. The theory which has been well backed by empirical research argues that monitoring and maintaining urban environments in a well-ordered condition stops further vandalism and escalation into more serious crime.

    • Bratton is also a strong advocate of having an ethnically diverse police force representative of the population; maintaining a strong relationship with the law-abiding population; tackling police corruption; being tough on gangs and having a strict no tolerance of anti-social behaviour.

    All of these are commonsense measures aimed at instilling a higher degree of professionalism and requiring our police and urban authorities to focus on protecting the public from criminals. They should be implemented without further delay.

    Tackling police impotency at the roots

    We also have to tackle the problem of an ineffective police force ― the Special Brach may be a lone exception ― at its roots. In the past, these root causes may have something to do with small size of the force and poor pay. Today they are unacceptable as reasons to explain the relative inefficiency or impotency of the police.

    According to United Nations survey, the Malaysia police force is a very large one compared with other countries at similar stages of development. The United Nations recommends a minimum police strength of 222 per 100,000 people. Our number is much higher than this. In 2000, we reported having 354 police per 100,000 people. By comparison in 2007, Singapore had 239 police officers per 100,000 people.

    As for poor pay leading to demoralized personnel, police salaries have recently gone up considerably for all ranks of personnel. Our police today cannot by any measure be considered to be underpaid.

    The root causes of police impotency are found in at least two major factors. This description of crime and industrialisation in Britain is instructive.

    “Crime was rising due to dislocation and poverty and the apparatus of criminal justice was … increasingly ineffective. During the period 1805-1842 the proportion of people per 100,000 of the population committed for trial rose seven times. This is of course what we should expect: rapid urbanisation with people uprooted from their traditional rural ways of life and forced into the intolerable poverty and overcrowding of the early factory towns. These festering conditions were exacerbated by the fluctuations in the labour market and the fact that workers were periodically thrown out of work without any social security or unemployment benefits….”

    For us in Malaysia, the “broken window” theory and the interaction of marginalized immigrant and local poor communities and rising inequality between “haves” and “have-nots” amidst visible affluence provide the breeding ground for breaking rules and anti-social behaviour.

    Effete social policies, tolerance of white-collar and high-level crime, and widespread uncivil behaviour of the general population also provide our underclass the justification for their attempts to subvert the system.

    Our situation compares poorly with Singapore where there is zero tolerance of corruption in the police and civil service, the ordinary citizen is socialised (some would argue, regimented) to higher standards of civic norms, and “broken windows” are mended unlike in Kuala Lumpur where not only the backstreets but also the main streets are littered with garbage, unrepaired pavements and other visible symptoms of urban decay and the indifference of the authorities.

    Perhaps the most important root cause is the trend towards the political use of the police. Instead of focusing attention on fighting crime, our police are all too often ordered to perform political work aimed at suppressing the opposition and other opponents of the ruling government.

    This politicisation of the police force has become worse, with the recent massive police mobilization for the Bersih 3.0 demonstration serving as a prime example.

    Potential election game changer

    The government must recognise that the growing incidence of crime has political ramifications.

    The more the government engages in spinning the crime statistics, the more it denies there are major problems with our police force, the more it orders the police to take political sides; the more the government is alienating itself from the public and inviting an electoral backlash.

    It will be poetic justice if the politicisation of our police force is one of the factors responsible for the Barisan Nasional’s downfall.

    * Dr Lim Teck Ghee is executive director of Centre for Policy Initiatives.

    * This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider
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    Crime: It's your fault, says CID Chief

    Homeowners also to blame for break-ins, says CID chief



    August 16, 2012
    Houses left unoccupied by holidaying homeowners made tempting targets for thieves, said Mohd Bakri. — File pic


    SHAH ALAM, Aug 16 — The carelessness of house owners is among the main factors contributing to break-ins by foreign criminals, especially during the festive seasons.

    Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said the return of city residents to their hometowns provided the opportunity for foreign criminals to make easy money by breaking into homes.

    “The quiet residential areas, with very few people around, make it easier for them to break into homes,” he told reporters during a “walkabout” at the Selangor Economic Development Corporation (PKNS) Complex, here, yesterday.

    He said to curb such incidents, house owners must inform the police and neighbours of their absence, and to make sure their houses were locked.


    Bakri said the police needed the full co-operation of residents to facilitate patrol and surveillance activities.


    “House owners must give information such as house address and the duration of their absence to the nearest police station.


    “Those not returning home should quickly contact the police if they see aliens or anything suspicious taking place in their areas,” he said.


    Bakri said police statistics from January to July this year showed that house break-in cases were still under control.


    “Police recorded 14,291 house break-in cases from January to July this year compared to 18,171 cases during the same period last year or a drop of 24.1 per cent.


    “I hope the public will co-operate continuously with the police to check, not only house break-ins but also other crimes, to ensure the security of the public, especially during the festive seasons,” he added. — Bernama

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    Law & Order: Crime statistics are manipulated

    Crime statistics: Let the truth be told ― Anonymous Policeman



    August 22, 2012
    AUG 22 ― Is the crime rate down? Yes, relying on the statistics provided by the police and Pemandu. Is that a true reflection of the crime situation? The answer is certainly a big ‘NO’.


    Crime is basically divided into two categories. One is ‘Index Crime’ and the other is ‘Non-Index Crime’. The statistics made available by the police are only those cases which come under the ‘index crime’ category.


    ‘Index crime’ is defined as crime which is reported with sufficient regularity and with sufficient significance to be meaningful as an index to the crime situation. Essentially, it means the index is the yardstick to gauge the crime situation of a given place, the district, state or the whole country. The index crime statistics will show whether the crime has increased, decreased or moving constantly.


    ‘Non-index crime’, on the other hand, is considered as cases minor in nature and does not occur with such rampancy to warrant its inclusion into the crime statistics or as a benchmark to determine the crime situation.


    ‘Index crime’ consists of two categories. One is ‘Violent Crime’ and the other is ‘Property Crime’.’Violent Crime’ comprises of murder; rape; armed robbery with accomplice; robbery with accomplice; armed robbery; robbery; and causing hurt.


    Meanwhile ‘property crime’ comprises of theft; car theft; motorcycle theft; heavy vehicle theft; snatch theft; and burglary. These are the crimes used as statistics to portray the crime situation.


    In 2009, the Government came up with the ‘Government Transformation Program’ (GTP) and ‘crime’ was amongst the ‘National Key Result Area’ (NKRA). The Key Performance Index (KPI) set for the police on the 27 July 2009 under the NKRA was to reduce crime by 20 per cent.


    That tall order to reduce crime by 20 per cent was a dilemma for the police. The police knew that the demand is idealistic but not feasible to be achieved. Any criminologist will tell that crime is the product of socio-economic factors and the police being a part of the criminal justice system cannot alone tackle this issue.


    However, in upholding the dignity and image, the police succumbed to the political pressure in agreeing to achieve the targeted KPI set under the NKRA. With the prevailing policing standard and practice, the police may be able to contain the crime situation to a certain extent, but to reduce it by 20 per cent is absolutely a feat impossible. So, in desperate times, desperate measures are taken.


    The police then came up with an ingenious way of achieving the target. The principle behind the plan is, well, if this is what the political masters’ want, then we shall give it to them the way they want.


    As said earlier, the crime statistics consist of only the index crime. Hence, they gradually lowered the crime statistics by shifting the index crime to the non-index crime. The shifting is done at the time the police report is lodged.


    The classification of the crime from index to non-index will be captured in the police reporting system as ‘non-index’ and thus not registering it as an index crime for the purposes of statistics. Lowering the index crime will show that the particular crime is on the decline.


    There are several types of crime where the classification can be manipulated from index to non-index. The manoeuvring begins at the police district level which receives the report and subsequently transmitted to the State Police Headquarters and Federal Police Headquarters. The crimes which were manipulated are:


    (a) Robbery cases under the Penal Code are classified as index crime. This offence will be classified as non-index under Section 382 of the Penal Code. Since, Section 382 of the Penal Code is a non-index crime, therefore will not be reflected in the crime statistics.


    (b) Burglary under Section 457 of the Penal Code is an index crime. This offence will be classified as non-index under Sections 452 or 453 of the Penal Code. Since, Sections 452 and 453 of the Penal Code are non-index crime therefore will not be reflected in the crime statistics.


    (c) Causing hurt under Sections 324 and 326 are index crimes. These offences will be classified under Section 148 of the Penal Code. Since, Section 148 of the Penal Code is a non-index crime therefore will not be reflected in the crime statistics.


    The under classification of the index crime to non-index crime runs into several thousand cases. Of course, by removing these cases from the crime statistics will reflect that the crime has gone down.


    A simple way of ascertaining the extent of cases taken off from the index crime category for the purpose of reducing the crime statistics is by asking the police to provide the statistics of cases classified under Sections 148, 382, 452 and 453 of the Penal Code since the implementation of the NKRA to date.


    Then a comparison should be made with the statistics of cases under the said sections in the last three years preceding the NKRA. You will discover a sudden hike in the number of cases under those Sections after the introduction of the KPI.


    This figure should then be compared with the figure of the same sections for the three years preceding the NKRA. The result will confirm that for the period of three years prior to NKRA, cases classified under Sections 382, 452 and 453 are almost nil and under Section 148 may have only few reported cases.


    The number of cases recorded under the four sections for the three years after the NKRA minus the number of cases recorded for the three years before the NKRA will be the figure that has been manipulated.


    Other factors that suppress the crime statistics during the NKRA period are:


    (a) There are many cases under the index crime category that are not opened for investigation and were closed with no further action (NFA). These cases involve robberies, snatch thefts and burglaries.


    Police take no further action for the reason there is no sufficient ground for proceeding with the matter if the suspect cannot be identified, the loss is minimal or there is no lead to proceed further. There are thousands of cases of this nature and since these cases are not opened for investigation, therefore, will not be reflected in the crime statistics.


    No profiling is done on these cases, but merely swept under the carpet. Without profiling then the trend, pattern, target areas and possible suspects could not be studied to address the recurrence of these incidents.


    (b) There are also cases short-changed in order to achieve the KPI. Say, for example, in a particular day there are 10 cases of burglaries reported in a certain housing area. Only one case will be opened for investigation and the other nine cases will be cross-referred to the one case that was opened.


    For the 10 cases of burglaries, the statistics should be 10 cases of index crime. Since, there is only one case that was opened for investigation therefore the other nine cases will not be reflected in the index crime statistics.


    (c) Dark figures (crimes not reported) are not factored into the crime statistics. There is a theory that for every 10 cases reported there will be one case not reported. People do not report crime when they have lost faith in the police.


    Lack of faith may arise when the people have the impression that the police will not treat the report seriously; ineffective investigation due to incompetence; practicing double standards; no confidence the police can solve the case or bring justice to the victim or can recover the lost items; discriminative investigation based on the person’s background, influence, or status in society; minor trauma or losses treated with scorn; cases can be compromised by suspects getting away through bribery, influence be it political or social standing; exhaustive in going to the police station and lodging report; and last but not least is distrust and suspicion about the police.


    Overall, the crime has indeed gone up. There are many flaws in the statistics dished out to the public. The statistics was tailored to justify the KPI and appease the powers that be. It is better for the police to tell the truth and shame the devil.


    In response to Dr Lim Teck Ghee, the police said, “Crime statistics released by the PDRM are the actual figures of criminal cases reported to and investigated by the police department. These figures are auto-generated by the department’s computer system i.e. the Police Reporting System (PRS). In this way, no alteration or adjustment to the figures can be done, in order to portray a rosy picture of the crime situation as claimed by certain quarters.”


    The rationalization of the computer system (PRS) to validate the crime figures is a flawed excuse. The system picks up only what has been fed into it. PRS system does not control classification of cases.


    To demonstrate that the GTP, NKRA and KPI are a success, classification of cases was doctored and entered into the system that will surely produce the result that was desired.


    The police made another assertion, “All crime data and statistics generated within the PDRM system have been audited and verified by PricewaterhouseCoopers Malaysia.”


    Do you expect accountants to audit and verify classification of cases? Are they going through all the police reports to ensure the nature of crime committed, categorizing the correct section of the offence under the law, and classification of the case as index or non-index?


    Be truthful on their role that is only limited to calculating the figures given by the police. In fact, it is a waste of public funds hiring accountants to just vet the figures if only the police are honest in the first place.


    End the charade on public relations (PR) exercises to erase the fear of crime.


    Stop fooling the public with PR programs, like ‘high profile policing’, ‘high visibility patrol’ ‘walkabout’ ‘stop and talk, ‘meet and greet’, and ‘singing in shopping malls’, that won’t work when criminals are still milling around.


    Spending huge money hiring consultants with no background or expertise in criminal field to advise the police was the biggest blunder.


    It is a shame on the police organization of 205 years, having police officers of more than 30 years in service and experience with educational background from degree to PHD, being unable to tackle the crime situation.


    Police are not looking at the proper perspective in tackling crime. Victims of crime go to the police for what? To seek redress! Investigation is the area where most people are frustrated of, suspicious and lacks confidence in the ability of the police to apprehend the suspect and solve the case.


    This is the primary cause of dissatisfaction and the negative perception of the police. Poor investigation and inaction lead to more criminals on the streets and crime more prevalent and widespread. One of the ways to reduce crime is by removing as many criminals as possible from the society and sending them behind bars.


    Crack the whip on the investigators. Increase the staffing of investigators in all departments involved in investigations and the right officers to helm these departments at district, state and federal levels. As a reminder, terminate at once the current distortion of the KPI on solving rate and charging rate before it develops into another controversy.


    Another bone of contention is crime prevention. Instead of wasting manpower and time on PR exercises, the proven tried and tested methods must be invigorated. The mobile and beat patrols and roadblocks must be strengthened and energized.


    Poor planning, lackadaisical attitude of staff, lack in knowledge and skills are the main problems afflicting this area. Ad hoc measures of crime prevention are ineffective and should be a thing of the past.


    Crime prevention through mobile and beat patrols should be constant and extensive with sufficient police presence, effective enforcement and result orientated.


    It takes a thief to catch a thief. There was a time when detectives were very resourceful in intelligence gathering and have the ability to pin-point the culprit just by analyzing the modus operandi. They were all-rounded and like cats can smell the rats miles away. Good, capable and mind probing detectives have been displaced with insignificant desk jobs.


    The investigation departments are now filled with personnel who are expected to display noble attributes and source for information and intelligence on crime from temples and churches. This segment of the organization needs to be given importance and improvised. More personnel should be inducted with the necessary skills and agility to gather intelligence on criminal activities, detect and apprehend criminals.


    Immediate and drastic move to improve on those three areas (investigation, crime prevention and detectives) will produce significant progress in alleviating the crime menace the people are experiencing now.


    Criminals come from various ethnic backgrounds. The police organization should similarly be staffed with sufficient policemen from multi-ethnic backgrounds.

    The police organization is now filled with more than ninety percent consisting only of one ethnic group.


    Crime has no boundary or race barriers. The composition of the police should reflect the society they are dealing with. The police are unlike an organization that don’t deal or interact with the public.


    How do you expect policemen from one ethnicity to effectually communicate, source for information, deal with criminals, and address communal issues, with a person of different culture, customs, language and background in an effective and practical manner? This is not a racial issue, but voiced with a noble intention in the best interests of all Malaysians.


    Policemen are hired to keep the peace and security for the people. Police should not waste too much time, energy and manpower to preach religion and involve in religious activities. There is too much of religious activities in the police force now.


    All policemen subscribe to a religion at the time of employment and there is no reason for them to go wayward with the discipline of the Force in place. There is a unit called ‘Bahagian Agama dan Kaunselling’ (BAKA) established in all districts, states and federal level to organize religious functions, activities and sermons.


    This should be left to the experts in religion and counselling. They can be roped in or hired to provide religious and counselling services instead of using so much of police manpower trained in fighting crime.


    Police are responsible for the maintenance of law and order. They are answerable to the law and the law alone.


    The home minister has no business in occupying two floors of office building at Bukit Aman. His appropriate place is at the Home Ministry, Putrajaya. His role should be confined to policy making only and not getting involved in, directing, or supervising the day to day operations of the police. There is no guarantee that he won’t be under investigation if he transgresses the law.


    The IGP should not be put in a compromising position should a conflict of issue arises involving the home minister. One very senior police officer with the ranking of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) is dedicated to chaperone the home minister.


    Many more senior officers and men are assigned to him in the name of NKRA. This is a sheer waste of manpower, tax payers money and abuse of power, whence these men should be on the ground maintaining law and order.


    To fight crime, you have to take the bull by its horns. The police should not be parading in public, smiling, giggling, shaking hands, stop and talk, and meet and greet, to overcome the fear of crime or the negative perception. That is only a cosmetic appearance when the real grievance is unresolved and unattended.


    The police are a leading crime enforcement body and are not in the tourism industry or tasked with public relation functions. The police must appear serious and stern whilst executing their duties. Their sacrosanct oath of protecting the people and property must be honoured.


    There must be a climate of fear and respect towards the police. The fear must come from the wrongdoers and those who intend to contravene the law. Respect is from those who feel secured when seeing the men in blue.


    Are the police doing the right thing to earn that respect? People are feeling unsecured with the crime situation and the fear of being a victim keep increasing. Ironically, even the policemen are having the same sentiment.


    Camouflaging crime figures will only aggravate the situation further. Be honest and tell the truth. — liewchintong.com


    * This letter was sent by an anonymous reader to Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong


    * This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
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    Minister, PEMANDU must say if crime stats were massaged, says Pakatan




    UPDATED @ 06:51:35 AM 24-08-2012
    By Ida Lim

    August 23, 2012
    An anonymous letter allegedly written by an anonymous policemen alleges that crime statistics have been manipulated.

    KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) today urged the federal government to rebut claims that its efficiency unit and the police had tinkered with statistics and the classification of offences to show that the crime rate had fallen.

    According to PR, an anonymously written letter sent to a number of MPs had alleged that the police and Putrajaya's efficiency unit PEMANDU had masked the true situation by manipulating crime statistics.


    The letter was purportedly written under the pseudonym Sumun Osram by a policeman wishing to remain anonymous.


    "The 'Sumun Osram' letter alleged that there is a systemic attempt to 'lower the crime statistics by shifting the index crime to the non-index crime," the opposition pact's secretariat members said in a statement signed by PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar, PAS's Dr Hatta Ramli and DAP's Liew Chin Tong.


    "The official crime statistics consist of only index crime," they said, pointing out Sumun Osram's allegation that the police would classify crime under the non-index category when police reports were made.


    According to the letter, which was made available to The Malaysian Insider, "Index crime is defined as crime which is reported with sufficient regularity and with sufficient significance to be meaningful as an index to the crime situation.


    ‘Non-index crime’, on the other hand, is considered as cases minor in nature and does not occur with such rampancy to warrant its inclusion into the crime statistics or as a benchmark to determine the crime situation.


    ‘Index crime’ consists of two categories. One is ‘Violent Crime’ and the other is ‘Property Crime’.’Violent Crime’ comprises of murder; rape; armed robbery with accomplice; robbery with accomplice; armed robbery; robbery; and causing hurt.


    Meanwhile ‘property crime’ comprises of theft; car theft; motorcycle theft; heavy vehicle theft; snatch theft; and burglary. These are the crimes used as statistics to portray the crime situation.


    The writer of the letter also detailed specific examples of how the crime index was manipulated:


    • Robbery cases under the Penal Code are classified as index crime. This offence will be classified as non-index under Section 382 of the Penal Code. Since, Section 382 of the Penal Code is a non-index crime, therefore will not be reflected in the crime statistics.


    • Burglary under Section 457 of the Penal Code is an index crime. This offence will be classified as non-index under Sections 452 or 453 of the Penal Code. Since, Sections 452 and 453 of the Penal Code are non-index crime therefore will not be reflected in the crime statistics.


    • Causing hurt under Sections 324 and 326 are index crimes. These offences will be classified under Section 148 of the Penal Code. Since, Section 148 of the Penal Code is a non-index crime therefore will not be reflected in the crime statistics.


    "Pakatan Rakyat calls on Hishammuddin and Idris Jala to disclose the statistics of cases classified under sections 148, 382, 452 and 453 of the Penal Code since the implementation of the NKRA (National Key Result Area) to date and the three years preceding the implementation of NKRA to refute the allegation," the PR MPs demanded today.


    Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein oversees the police, while Datuk Seri Idris Jala is the CEO of PEMANDU, the unit tasked with reducing the country's crime rate.


    The trio from PR quoted Sumun Osram as alleging that "the under classification of the index crime to non-index crime runs into several thousand cases. Of course, by removing these cases from the crime statistics will reflect that the crime rate has gone down."


    "The allegation is serious in nature as it casts doubts on the integrity of official statistics, and, by extension, the credibility of the Home Ministry, Pemandu, and PDRM," the PR leaders said.


    Last month, PEMANDU defended itself from public criticism after a spate of crime incidents that seem to contradict with the image painted by its crime statistics.


    The agency, along with the police and Home Ministry, had continued to stand by its claim that the country’s crime rate has dipped considerably since initiatives under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) were put in place two years ago.


    PEMANDU’s crime reduction NKRA director Eugene Teh had in July released fresh statistics to show that index crime in Malaysia dropped by 10.1 per cent from January to May this year when compared to the same period last year.


    PEMANDU had earlier released figures to show that index crime had dropped by 11.1 per cent from 2010 to last year while street crime dipped 39.7 per cent in the same period.
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    'Cabinet trio must rebut bogus crime stats claim'


    3:02PM Aug 26, 2012

    DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang has urged three cabinet ministers to break their four-day silence over allegations that police crime data have been manipulated to portray a drop in crime.

    The three are Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Ministers in Prime Minister’s Office Idris Jala (who is also Performance Management and Delivery Unit, or Pemandu, head) and Koh Tsu Koon, who is tasked with monitoring the Najib administration's key performance indicators (KPI).

    Lim (right) was referring to a widely-circulated anonymous letter that claimed that the police had intentionally manipulated the crime statistics to satisfy the federal government that crime had decreased.

    The author claimed that burglary, robbery and "causing hurt" - cases of which run into the thousands - were categorised in such a way that such offences would be excluded from what the police refers to as "index crime", whose numbers are reported to the public.

    This, claimed the author, had deflated the national crime statistics to show a drop in crime rate in line with the government's KPI targets.

    Thank anonymous cop

    Lim argued that unless some form of rebuttal from Putrajaya is forthcoming, the federal government would be making a mockery of its ‘Janji Ditepati’ theme for Merdeka Day.

    "The anonymous but patriotic police officer who had debunked the false propaganda by the home minister and the two national key result areas (NKRA) ministers, has underlined how empty and meaningless is this Merdeka Day theme,” said Lim in a separate statement yesterday.

    Should the three ministers continue to keep mum, said Lim, Malaysians will have to thank the anonymous police personnel for speaking up.

    “At last, Malaysians appear to have gotten the answer to the three-year mystery why Malaysians suffer increasing fear of crime in the midst of the official claim of a drastic fall in the crime rate.”

    In a related statement today, Lim said right-minded Malaysians are withholding judgment on the anonymous claim until the trio of ministers provides an official clarification.

    "Even more serious, the continued thunderous silence... will give the 55th Merdeka Day theme of 'Janji Ditepati' special, though unwanted, connotations."

    He suggested that if there is no explanation, a special cabinet meeting should be convened to discuss the allegation by the said police personnel.
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    Tweaked crime statistics: Who should respond



    • Lim Teck Ghee


    • 3:08PM Aug 27, 2012


    COMMENT Views from several Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI) columnists and regular contributors on a whistleblower's letter detailing the way in which crime statistics have been processed to provide the misleading conclusion that crime is on the decline in the country are provided below.

    We await with interest the official response - whether from Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein, or Koh Tsu Koon and Idris Jala, the two ministers concerned in the Prime Minister's Department or from Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar.

    CPI had earlier published the letter of explanation on the collection and recording of crime statistics by ACP Razali Mohamad Yoosuf in response to my initial article on why our police are impotent against the tide of rising crime.

    We look forward to publishing any further response from Razali and his colleagues in the Polis Diraja Malaysia or from any other of the alleged implicated stake players on the latest developments on this subject, which is of so much concern to our citizenry.

    It is important that some official response be forthcoming because at risk is not simply public confidence in crime statistics and the police but at risk is also the people's confidence in the other officially generated statistics on the country's development as well as the public perception of the professionalism, independence and integrity of the civil service.

    Few Malaysians will ever again look at official statistics without wondering how they have been fudged and manipulated by the government for political advantage.

    How the tweaking works

    Crime statistics consist of only the ‘index crime', defined as crime that is reported with sufficient regularity and with sufficient significance to be meaningful as an index to the crime situation. Essentially, it means the index is the yardstick to gauge the crime situation of a given place, the district, state or the whole country. The index crime statistics will show whether the crime has increased, decreased or is moving constantly. - From the whistleblower's letter published earlier in CPI

    ‘Non-index crime', some of which involve a premeditated preparedness to cause serious injury, on the other hand, does not occur so rampantly as to warrant its inclusion into the crime statistics or as a benchmark to determine the crime situation.

    There are several types of crime where the classification (based under the Penal Code) can be manipulated from index to non-index, the latter category that will not be reflected in the crime statistics.

    Example A:

    Robbery - index crime under Section 390 of the Penal Code: "In all robbery there is either theft or extortion".

    Section 390 (2):
    Theft is "robbery", if, in order to commit theft, or in committing the theft, or in carrying away or attempting to carry away property obtained by the theft, the offender, for that end, voluntarily causes or attempts to cause to any person death, or hurt, or wrongful restraint, or fear of instant death, or of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint.

    To deflate the crime statistics, a report on robbery made by a member of the public at the police station may be shifted in classification by the police officer on desk duty. Thus, instead of filing the report under Section 390 of the Penal Code (offence considered an ‘index crime'), it is instead filed under Section 382 of the Penal Code, which is a non-index crime:

    The offence as classified under Section 382 - "Theft after preparation made for causing death or hurt in order to the committing of the theft" - is less rampant than a straightforward robbery.

    Section 382:"Whoever commits theft, having made preparation for causing death or hurt or restraint, or fear of death or of hurt or of restraint, to any person in order to commit such theft, or in order to effect his escape after committing such theft, or in order to retain property taken by such theft, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine or to whipping.

    Illustration:
    A commits theft of property in Z's possession; and, while committing this theft, he has a loaded pistol under his garment, having this pistol for the purpose of hurting Z in case Z should resist. A has committed the offence defined in this section.

    Example B:

    Burglary: Index crime under Section 457 of the Penal Code: "Lurking house-trespass or housebreaking by night in order to commit an offence punishable with imprisonment".

    Section 457:
    Whoever commits lurking house-trespass by night or housebreaking by night, in order to commit any offence punishable with imprisonment, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine; and if the offence intended to be committed is theft, the term of the imprisonment may be extended to fourteen years; and for every second or subsequent offence shall in either case be liable to fine or whipping.

    It may shifted in classification to Section 452 of the Penal Code, dealing with a less rampant crime and carrying a heavier penalty, and which is a non-index crime: "House-trespass after preparation made for causing hurt to any person".

    Section 452:
    Whoever commits house-trespass, having made preparation for causing hurt to any person, or for assaulting any person, or for wrongfully restraining any person, or for putting any person in fear of hurt or of assault, or of wrongful restraint, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to sevenyears, and shall also be liable to fine.

    Example C:


    Causing hurt is an index crime under Section 324 of the Penal Code: "Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means".

    Section 324: Whoever, except in the case provided for by Section 334, voluntarily causes hurt by means of any instrument for shooting, stabbing or cutting, or any instrument which, used as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, or by means of fire or any heated substance, or by means of any poison or any corrosive substance, or by means of any explosive substance, or by means of any substance which it is deleterious to the human body to inhale, to swallow, or to receive into the blood, or by means of any animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with whipping or with any two of such punishments.

    The filing of a report on a crime of this nature may be shifted in its classification to the apparently unrelated and rarely invoked Section 148 of the Penal Code: "Possessing weapons or missiles at riot".

    Section 148: Any person who attends, takes part in or is found at any riot and who has in his possession at such riot any firearm, ammunition, explosive, corrosive, injurious or obnoxious substance, stick, stone or any weapon or missile capable of use as a weapon of offence shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine or with both.

    The shift in classification of the index crime to non-index crime may run into several thousand cases and thus impact on the statistics to make it appear as if common crime (robbery, theft/burglary) has decreased.

    Excerpts from CPI contributors' views on the alleged tweaking of crime statistics:

    Koon Yew Yin

    Firstly, no less a person than the home minister, whose portfolio includes the police, needs to address the issues raised by the whistleblower.

    Hishammuddin Hussein should convene a special press conference at which he can refute the damaging allegations made of political interference in the work of the police and the charge that "the police have succumbed to the political pressure in agreeing to achieve the targeted KPI set under the NKRA."

    Should he fail to do so, it will be an admission of guilt. Worse, it will show him as unfit and undeserving of the high position of home minister. In such a development, it is incumbent on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the cabinet to give Hishamuddin his marching orders and put him out to pasture in the same way that has happened to Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

    Secondly, Koh Tsu Koon and Idris Jala, ministers in the Prime Minister's Department and the latter, chief executive officer of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) must not pretend to be dumb and deaf on this.

    As CEO of Pemandu - the unit monitoring the implementation of the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) initiative - Idris Jala is responsible for the statistical data that is released to the public. The whistleblower has provided a detailed account of how crime records are recorded and processed, and how these records have been manipulated to give the impression of a decline in crime in Malaysia.

    The onus is on Koh and Idris to show that the whistleblower had got his facts wrong and to also answer the other serious allegations in the internet media on Pemandu's role in this botched attempt to fool the public.

    Jeyaseelan Anthony

    Finally a whistleblower from the police has spilled the beans concerning the crime rate in Malaysia. The article by whistleblower published in the CPI Asia website is spot on.

    With regard to the perceived lowering crime rates, which was boasted by the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) on crime, one must realise that a lot people do not report crimes any more to the police, especially snatch theft and robbery victims, etc, because they feel that it would not make any difference.

    If it is not reported, then it is not in the system.

    That's why the crime rate seems to be low and able to be manipulated by the authorities. Many victims have told me that the police seem to be very insensitive towards such crimes and have made it look that such crimes are normal now. I am sure many of you will have experienced this.

    Malaysia seems to be a free for all country as far as crimes are concerned. Africans are having a ball of a time here committing crimes from cheating to drug trafficking. Iranians and South Americans have joined the bandwagon too. We read about this almost every day in the papers.

    What has the home minister done so far? African students keep coming into the country to commit crimes and our government is receiving them to make Malaysia an educational hub! I can't believe this! Why hasn't the Immigration Department, which comes under the purview of the home minister, got tough on this issue?

    My wife was a snatch theft victim and the culprits came from the nearby flats. The crime rate in the place where I used to live has increased dramatically, when the low-cost flats nearby were built. Even some low-ranking police officers have told me the same thing.

    The Special Branch, instead of going after the political activists should be deployed in these areas. That's how the Special Branch defeated the communists, by placing intelligence operatives in black areas. Why are the police not doing this when they can nip the problem in the bud?

    As the whistleblower writer of the article says, enough of the public relations exercises of the police. It's time to get tough. So home minister, please buck up! If you can't do the job please resign and give it to a more capable person.

    Ramon Navaratnam


    I am appalled by the serious allegations and revelations made by a veteran police officer in his article titled ‘Crime Statistics - Let the truth be told!'

    I believe that the home minister is duty bound, as a duly elected people's representative, to give a full explanation immediately on these allegations.

    If an explanation and clarification by Hishamuddin Hussein is not satisfactory to the public, then the government should order a full public inquiry and investigation into these accusations of statistical manipulation of shifting the index crime data to non- index crime, which can mislead the public and the nation.

    These charges of manipulation largely explain the wide perception and confidence gap in the minds of most Malaysians in regard to the grave doubts over crime statistics and Pemandu's claim of the success in the fight against crime....

    Steve Oh

    The police should never try to cover up the true figures because this is not something that can be hidden when the figures and actual number of crimes taking place don't tally.

    That is why there is public outrage over the police claim that crime has gone down when the anecdotal evidence is against such a claim...

    Thank you, whistleblower, for providing the smoking gun and I hope the police will take note because remedial action may save a life. The life could be that of a policeman or a member of his or her family that becomes another statistic.




    DR LIM TECK GHEE is director of the Centre for Policy Initiatives.

    py

  7. #7
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    How to get to the bottom of this?

    1. Report all cases, index or non-index and correct the fudging of classification.
    2. Put up a website of people who didn't report previously to report (without any risk of charging of any violations).
    3. Repeat for direct report at the police stations.

    From the above data, we should get a clearer picture.
    The issue is not to point fingers. We know the police are incompetent. We don't need numbers to prove it. With 50 years of UMNO-rule, anything will become rotten.
    The issue is how to improve the situation.
    One way is to take politics out of policing. Let the police get on with the job of fighting crime without political interference.
    Two: Set up the IPCMC to monitor them.


    Let the truth be upheld — Mooreyameen Mohamad

    August 27, 2012
    AUG 27 — The recent article by Anonymous Policeman that claimed crime statistics are being massaged listed serious allegations about police conduct, and clearly raised questions about the veracity of the crime statistics itself. PEMANDU has repeatedly said that it depends on the police to present the data for reporting and that the data from the police were never massaged by PEMANDU.


    However, if what is claimed by the article is true, then there are serious questions that need to be asked: is the police force under undue political pressure to perform their duties and therefore dispensed with their charter of being “Mesra, Cepat dan Betul” (friendly, fast and correct)? And, most importantly, keeping our eyes on the real goal of all this, how to deal with the situation?
    First and foremost, in order to manage any situation properly, PEMANDU and the police must work with real data to size up the problem properly and to deal with the problem in the most appropriate manner.


    If data has been massaged for whatever reason, the real depth and scale of the problem would be unknown, and resources may be misdirected accordingly due to the false data. So, data integrity is, needless to say but still important to remember, of the utmost importance.


    Secondly, let’s address the issue of political pressure. The Government Transformation Programme is ambitious. It was formulated with the specific intent of dealing with the worst problems that the Malaysian public is most concerned about. Crime, corruption, education, urban public transportation and so on are all, by definition, high priority, urgent and biggest problems that are facing the nation.


    So, yes, of course there is political pressure.


    Crime and all the other NKRAs are never meant to be feel-good projects, low-intensity issues and of lukewarm concern. Everyone in PEMANDU and the specific ministries involved are all under high pressure to delivery big results, fast, to the Malaysian people.


    The question is then: is our police ill-equipped to deal with such pressure that they have now succumbed to fudging the numbers just to please their bosses? Do they not stand by their motto of “Mesra, Cepat and Betul”, especially the “Betul” part, just because their shoulders carry the heavy burden of preventing and reducing crime in the country?


    This may sound like finger-pointing, but the fact is, PEMANDU, the various ministries, the police and the Malaysian people are all in this together. No amount of finger pointing will absolve anyone of the failure to address the issue of crime in the country.


    We all carry the heavy burden and responsibility of transforming our government and our country. If the police, or any government department for that matter, are ill-equipped, even if psychologically, to deal with the high demands of the NKRAs and deliver the results we want for our nation, what should we do?


    Fudging the data to achieve the targets is certainly not the answer. Pointing fingers and apportioning blame is also not constructive.

    We as a nation need to look inwards and ask ourselves: what will it take and do we have what it takes to achieve our national goals? Do we have the honesty to admit where we are wrong (amidst the things that we’re doing right), that we have weaknesses (amidst our strengths) and that we have the courage to do the right thing no matter how difficult the situation, and correct ourselves when we make mistakes?


    The top leadership of the country is facing the reality of our nation that not all is right with our country: hence the Government Transformation Programme and all its NKRAs. That is a big step. It could all easily have been “business as usual”, plodding along with “average results, in its own time” instead of big results, fast.


    PEMANDU’s task is monumental — and with the monumental task comes the monumental pressure — to work with all relevant ministries and government departments, and members of the public, to deliver the results that the nation wants.


    (Don’t forget, the NKRAs were conceived with inputs from all levels of society, experts as well as concerned citizens in multiple labs.)


    Of course the targets are stretched. They HAVE to be. Of course there is political pressure, because an entire nation wants results. Of course the targets are not easy — they were never meant to be a walk in the park.


    The challenge is to deliver those targets in all earnestness, putting in our best efforts and pushing ourselves forward each and every difficult step of the way.

    Fudging the numbers or making it easier for ourselves is not the way forward.


    Whether the allegations are true, they have to be investigated to ascertain the extent and impact. PDRM would have to get to the bottom of it. If they are true, how would PEMANDU move forward? PEMANDU would have to re-evaluate their plans. If they are not true, then the burden is on PDRM to show how the numbers could not have been fudged in the manners that were described by Anonymous Policeman.


    But regardless of the outcome of the investigations into the allegations, our national goals will not and should not change. We must reduce crime rates in the country. Those targets should not be reduced for expediency. PEMANDU and all involved must still deliver big results, fast.


    Yes, the stakes are high, and high stakes come with high pressure.


    Perhaps the police require more resources than what they have now. Perhaps the police force need extra support in dealing with corporate-style target-setting, frequent reporting and transparency that their work is subjected to now. Perhaps our crimes rates are indeed so high that they cannot be reduced sufficiently to meet our targets within the time frame that we have set for ourselves. These are all good questions that will come up again and again, not just in the Crime NKRA but in all the different NKRAs.


    But above all, we must report the truth and we must work with our reality.


    This is our country, our reality. We have to be honest with ourselves. Let’s not fudge that fact.


    * Mooreyameen Mohamad reads The Malaysian Insider.



    * This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.


    py

  8. #8
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    I don't know why I don't believe the police. My road, 100 metres long, 30 houses, 4 break-ins in 6 months. 13% of the houses broken into in 6 months!

    Police deny crime stats manipulation



    August 28, 2012


    KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — The police today denied claims that statistics had been manipulated to paint a false picture of the crime rate, pointing out that their achievements are “real” while the allegations are inaccurate and misleading.


    “All reported crimes, regardless of which Penal Code sections or category of crimes they come under, WILL contribute to the crime statistics. And this will be further enhanced by the Online Report Tracking System under Beta testing at the moment and due for launch late 2012.


    File photo of policemen on duty to face protestors in Kuala Lumpur. The police have said there is no factual basis or evidence to the allegation that crime statistics is manipulated or ‘doctored’.


    “The achievements of PDRM and improvements by way of the NKRA are real, as are its initiatives, such as Omnipresence, Safe City Programme, Investigation Enhancement, Frontline Servicing,” ACP Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf from Bukit Aman’s public relations department said in a statement.

    On August 22, an anonymous letter, purportedly written by a policeman who penned his name as Sumun Osram, had alleged that crime cases were being methodically manipulated into “non-index” offences that were not registered as part of official statistics presented by PEMANDU.


    In Malaysia, the police divide crime into two categories, index and non-index — the former defined as crime, which is reported with sufficient regularity and significance to be meaningful, indicates the crime situation while the latter is regarded as minor in nature.


    Following the letter’s appearance, Pakatan Rakyat leaders had urged the federal government to rebut the allegation regarding the manipulation of crime data.


    Despite repeated calls for clarification PEMANDU and the police have kept silent until now.


    “Definitions of Index and Non-Index Crimes, as well as the Investigation and Prosecution processes have been instituted long before the introduction of the NKRA programme. There is no factual basis or evidence to the allegation that crime statistics is manipulated or ‘doctored’.


    “The writer, if indeed a police personnel, has not been long in the force, has clearly no understanding on how policing processes and crime investigations are conducted. To avoid doubts and misunderstanding due to misrepresentation as demonstrated by the writer, PDRM would like to gracefully extend an invitation to any member of the public an opportunity to come forward and share their concerns with us,” Ramli said.


    Last month, PEMANDU defended itself from public criticism after a spate of crime incidents that seem to contradict with the image painted by its crime statistics.


    The agency, along with the police and Home Ministry, had continued to stand by its claim that the country’s crime rate has dipped considerably since initiatives under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) were put in place two years ago.


    PEMANDU’s crime reduction NKRA (national key results areas) director Eugene Teh had in July released fresh statistics to show that index crime in Malaysia dropped by 10.1 per cent from January to May this year compared to the same period last year.


    PEMANDU had earlier released figures to show that index crime had dropped by 11.1 per cent from 2010 to last year while street crime dipped 39.7 per cent in the same period.



    py

  9. #9
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    PDRM in a state of unrest



    • S Thayaparan


    • 9:32AM Aug 31, 2012


    "The police are not here to create disorder; they're here to preserve disorder." - Richard J Daley


    COMMENT Bukit Aman police secretariat (public relations) assistant head Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf could be right when he claims that the writer of the anonymous letter alleging the possible doctoring of crime statistics is probably not a police officer.

    However you don't need to be a police officer to be familiar with the operating procedures of the PDRM (Royal Malaysian Police). Massaging statistics and reclassifying crimes is hardly new when it comes to law enforcement agencies worldwide in justifying their performance, not to mention the continued use of their methods.

    All that is needed is someone with insider knowledge motivated to impart this knowledge which lends an air of authenticity to the expose and then if you have something to hide (which the PDRM most certainly has) you are in a whole world of hurt.

    The PDRM's response has been professional, but the rebuttal itself is not the required knock-out that the PDRM desperately needs at the moment.

    The war of words between the opposition and the Home Ministry over the discrepancies of crime statistics and the siege mentality of an urban voting public plagued by crime that seems to permeate every level of society has effectively made the PDRM the least credible government agency in the land.

    Furthermore, the one too many deaths in custody, in addition to the ‘police shootouts' - the most recent of which has resulted in ‘witnesses' being detained for ‘further investigation' - lends credence to perception that the PDRM is hostile to a public it has sworn to protect.

    When we factor in issues such as race and class, what we are left with is a police force bereft of any legitimacy in its pursuit of enforcement of the law in this country.

    Cops and robbers

    However what is most damaging to the credibility of the police force, and this has always been the case, is the perception (reality?) that it is an institution of Umno and not an independent body. This goes for the entire security apparatus of this country.

    When Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali boasts that if a military base is located in his constituency, he would surely be re-elected and this passes without comment from Umno-BN, it doesn't take a genius to realise that the corridors of Umno power intersect with those of the security departments in this country.


    When a former head of the PDRM is asked to head an ‘independent commission' to investigate the police after the Bersih 3.0 civil demonstration after making statements that he considers the demonstrators at fault, well, it's safe to assume that objectivity or impartiality is not a trait or tradition of the PDRM. To throw out further documented examples would be pedantic.

    It really does not matter who has to answer to what because at this point any answer will be spun politically (which usually means Umno-BN will be at the losing end) and also because the present regime since the tsunami of 2008 has demonstrated no serious commitment to reform.

    Of course, I have not seen any detailed proposals of reform from Pakatan Rakyat beyond the superficial appeals to emotion but as always, the devil is in the details.

    Right now we are witness to the power plays which went on between two former high-ranking police officers which no doubt crosses from the bureaucratic to criminal if the allegations and counter-allegations are to be believed. It also highlights the shadowy nexus between organised crime and law enforcement with added racial overtones, which is naturally par for the course in this country.

    Not only that, but we have a former Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief joining PAS to "uphold democracy", which implies that his tenure as a high-ranking police official, not to mention not throwing in with Umno (if his former occupation was not that in spirit), did nothing to further the said aspiration.

    Some would cheer at such a development but we should be cautious of former civil servants, especially those from law enforcement divisions, overtly proclaiming loyalty to political parties whose stewardship of the country would ideally be only temporary. Of course, Fauzi Shaari (above) brings a wealth of insider knowledge which should serve the strategic objectives of PAS.

    Not that I'm implying that he personally or that the opposition had anything to do with this anonymous letter but rather that because of the nature its anonymity, everyone is fair game. Not that it matters of course, whoever wrote the letter has struck at the always soft underbelly of the chitin exterior of the Umno beast.

    Distrust of law enforcers

    As usual, what I find of interest is not the corruption in high places in Umno and the opposition response to it, but rather how we as a society deal with it.

    Because of the PDRM's inability to carry out the most mundane of police functions, a whole cottage industry has mushroomed providing private security to citizens frustrated by the fact that their security - in fact, their lives - depend on a dysfunctional police force more interested in policing the opposition than being an apolitical instrument of the state.

    Depending on how much money is at play, entire neighbourhoods suddenly become gated communities (municipal laws becoming suddenly extremely porous) or lone guards man ramshackle guard posts, offering the illusion of security.

    The fact that these security companies are sometimes run by former police officers or staffed by men and women who would not qualify (and unfortunately the bar is pretty low) to join the PDRM is evidence of how desperate the situation has become for those who use these services and how as usual in Malaysia, the lines between business and government is blurred.

    There is a reason why in some place the PDRM work very closely with security companies but we should also not forget that in many cases, the PDRM is just relieved that they are getting help from the private sector although they have no problem taking credit (or as this current scandal implies, possibly manipulating the stats) for the reduction of crime.

    Of course, not everyone sees the upside of privatised security. Most times paying for peace of mind - this is what those of us who pay taxes think we are paying for when it comes to the law enforcement agencies in Malaysia - means living with the fact that you are actually paying a ransom.

    As one middle-class Malaysiakini reader told me, her neighbourhood had a spike in crime before the "security guards" came into the picture and suddenly there was zero crime. "What can we do, at least now we are safe even though many of us feel that we are paying not to be burgled or mugged".

    A culture of its own

    This explosive mix of safety fears and distrust of law has brought out so many interesting questions. Another Malaysiakini reader asked my opinion on guns.

    "After a few burglars and car park robbers have been shot, they will think twice of attacking," he said.

    I asked him if he thought that the mob attacks on captured snatch thieves had reduced said attacks - I have no idea, but I don't think so - and does he really think it's a good idea for citizens of a country with such polarised race relations and history of political party race agitation to have resort to firearms?

    Guns are the solutions to a very specific set of problems, problems that the average citizen of any country would not have to deal with if it has functional institutions (some American friends would disagree with me, of course).

    At the end of the day, there is nothing the PDRM can say which would allay the fears of a Malaysian public mired in partisanship and their own racial preoccupations.

    The police force has become a culture of its own succoured by religion, racialism and handouts, riddled with corruption and sharing a symbiotic relationship with the criminal underclass of Malaysian society and beholden to political masters who have always been engaged in protracted internal power struggles.

    But yet I can say without hesitation that there are still those within the ranks of the PDRM, and those who have retired, who are honourable and understand the value of a functional police force but whose ranks are slowly dwindling over the long Umno-BN watch.

    If Pakatan is smart and if there is that much dreamed of (amongst a certain section of the voting public) post-BN happy ending, these voices would play a major role in the long process of reforming the PDRM.


    S THAYAPARAN is Commander (rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.
    py

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    ‘Not suitable’ to reveal detailed crime stats, says Home Ministry


    By Clara Chooi
    October 11, 2012
    Pua had asked Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to state the reasons why his ministry was yet to disclose a detailed schedule. — File pic

    KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Putrajaya has refused a lawmaker’s request to release to Parliament a breakdown of the country’s crime statistics, saying it was “not suitable” to disclose details according to the various crime categories.

    In a written reply released today to a question from DAP MP Tony Pua yesterday, the Home Ministry told the lawmaker that it was “more relevant” to reveal details of the country’s index crime cases as it has a more significant impact on public safety.


    “For your information, there are hundreds of different categories of crimes recorded under the Royal Malaysian Police’s (RMP) statistics annually, which include both index and non-index crimes.


    “Therefore, the ministry is of the view that it is not plausible to present the detailed statistics for each crime category according to the various districts in Selangor and all states,” the ministry said.


    Pua had asked Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to state the reasons why his ministry was yet to disclose a detailed schedule on annual crime statistics according to crime categories and districts in Selangor and all states.


    “It is more relevant to release the number of index crime cases as they have a more significant impact on public safety.


    “The number of index crime cases for Selangor and the country were released to Yang Berhormat through written reply in the first parliamentary meeting this year,” the ministry replied.


    Speaking at a press conference here, Pua railed against the ministry for its reply, saying the government was duty bound to release the details to any parliamentarian.


    “This is clearly a show of disrespect to the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.


    “Even if I had asked for the number of cows there are in the country, they should furnish a reply if they have the details.”


    The DAP publicity secretary repeated accusations by fellow opposition lawmakers that the government was attempting to paint a false picture of the country’s crime rate, hoping to calm public fears.


    “This shows they are hiding something. The government has been claiming that index crime statistics show that the rate has dipped over the past three years... but then again, non-index crime has increased.


    “This is what I wanted to prove but I wanted the detailed statistics.”


    On August 22, an anonymous letter, purportedly written by a policeman who penned his name as Sumun Osram, had alleged that crime cases were being methodically manipulated into “non-index” offences that were not registered as part of official statistics presented by government efficiency unit PEMANDU.


    In Malaysia, the police divide crime into two categories, index and non-index — the former defined as crime, which is reported with sufficient regularity and significance to be meaningful, indicates the crime situation while the latter is regarded as minor in nature.


    Following the letter’s appearance, Pakatan Rakyat leaders had urged the federal government to rebut the allegation regarding the manipulation of crime data.


    “The ‘Sumun Osram’ letter alleged that there is a systemic attempt to ‘lower the crime statistics by shifting index crime to non-index crime,” the opposition pact’s secretariat members had said in a recent statement signed by PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar, PAS’s Dr Hatta Ramli and the DAP’s Liew Chin Tong.


    “The official crime statistics consist of only index crime,” they said, pointing out Sumun Osram’s allegation that the police would classify crime under the non-index category when police reports were made.


    According to the letter, which was made available to The Malaysian Insider, “index crime is defined as crime which is reported with sufficient regularity and with sufficient significance to be meaningful as an index to the crime situation”.


    “Non-index crime”, on the other hand, is considered as cases minor in nature and does not occur with such rampancy to warrant its inclusion into the crime statistics or as a benchmark to determine the crime situation.


    PEMANDU has had to defend itself in recent months from public criticism after a spate of crime incidents that seem to contradict with the image painted by its crime statistics.


    The agency, along with the police and Home Ministry, had continued to stand by its claim that the country’s crime rate has dipped considerably since initiatives under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) were put in place two years ago.


    PEMANDU’s crime reduction NKRA (national key results areas) director Eugene Teh had in July released fresh statistics to show that index crime in Malaysia dropped by 10.1 per cent from January to May this year compared to the same period last year.


    PEMANDU had earlier released figures to show that index crime had dropped by 11.1 per cent from 2010 to last year while street crime dipped 39.7 per cent in the same period.
    py

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