Call for urgent institutional improvements as police mark 87th anniversary

Source – July 1, 2024
National Police 78th anniversary event at National Monument in Jakarta – July 1, 2024 (Kompas)

Singgih Wiryono, Krisiandi, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has issued recommendations for improvements to the National Police on the institution's 78th anniversary or Bhayangkara Day commemorations on Monday July 1.

In its recommendations, Kontras asked the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) to halt the deliberations on revisions to the National Police Law (UU Polri).

The recommendations were issued because the Draft National Police Bill (RUU Polri) will distance the police from the spirit of reform to the security sector and democracy.

"The deliberations on the National Police Bill were also carried out in a hurry and totally ignored public participation. The DPR suddenly started the initiative to revise the UU Polri, even though the RUU Polri was not included in the National Prolegnas [National Legislation Program]", said Kontras Coordinator Dimas Bagus Arya in in Kwitang, Jakarta, on Monday.

Arya said that rather than being busy revising the National Police Law, the government should be serious about discussing regulations on the criminal justice system which is more urgent.

According to Arya, right now a new Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP) is very much needed to be in accordance with current developments, demands and a more complex justice system.

"The KUHAP which is currently in effect is already decades old and has not been fully able to accommodate rapid social and technological developments", he said.

The second recommendation is that the government needs to evaluate the National Police external supervision agency's mechanisms and take steps to improve them.

The external supervisory agency must have semi-investigative or a prosecutor's authority and have the power to conduct an effective investigation.

The third recommendation is directly addressed to the National Police. Kontras is urging that the culture of violence and impunity within police circles be left behind and that it began to improve the supervision of its own members.

Accountability is also needed, especially related to aspects of human rights (HAM). "Because if left unchecked, then it will have a serious impact on society", he said.

The last recommendation is to ask the National Police to tighten the mechanisms of internal supervision and the enforcement of police accountability.

"The Polri doesn't need to be hesitant in taking firm measures against members of the National Police who are proven to have committed violations through the KKEP [the police's code of ethics] mechanism as well as pursuing criminal law mechanisms if needed", he said.

Revisions to the National Police Law

The draft revisions to the law regulate giving additional authority to the National Police. These revisions have been highlighted by a number of parties. The revisions state that the National Police will have the authority to act against, block or terminate and attempt to slow down access to cyberspace for domestic security purposes.

The National Police will also have the authority to coordinate with the ministry that organises government affairs in the field of communication and telecommunications information service providers.

In addition to this, the revisions also regulate the retirement age limit for National Police members. Article 30 paragraph (4) regulates the retirement age for the National Police Chief or senior officers with the rank of four-star general.

The article stipulates that the retirement age limit for the National Police Chief can be extended through a presidential decree (Keppres) after consideration by the House of Representatives (DPR). However, it is not stipulated in detail how long the retirement age limit for the National Police Chief can be extended.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was " Kontras Minta Pembahasan Revisi UU Polri Dihentikan".]