Police have become political tool under Widodo’s watch: Rights group

CNN Indonesia – July 2, 2020
National police 74th anniversary celebrations at Monas in Jakarta – July 1, 2020 (CNN)

Jakarta – The Lokataru Legal and Human Rights Foundation says that there are two problems with the police which have developed during the era of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration. These two problems relate to politicisation and police professionalism.

“Perhaps it’s still the same as the problem before, particularly during the era of Jokowi’s administration. One of the problems is the politicisation of the police and the second is the problem of police professionalism”, said Lokataru Executive Director Haris Azhar during a Setroom presentation broadcast by CNN Indonesia on Wednesday July 1.

Azhar said that if you look back, the police today are a result of the democratisation of Indonesia since 1998 and there should have been improvements in the police as an institution.

In the process of their development however, the police have in fact now become a political tool of those in power. This is reflected by the different legal treatment afforded to groups who are pro and against the government or those in power.

“Law enforcement is discriminative, targeting groups outside of the power holders. Even if there are reports of cases from outside those in power, it doesn’t automatically mean that they will be followed up. There have been many cases like this, particularly in the lead up to elections”, he said.

Azhar said that this politicisation is also related to police professionalism.

“Because of politicisation in the end they’re not professional. But in the context of law enforcement, providing security, I think we can find a pattern. I’ve long been advocating police affairs”, he said.

Based on his advocacy work, he has found cases which are only dealt with after there is an order from above or it has gone viral on social media. Not only this, he has also come across case where investigators ask those making reports for money so that the case will be dealt with quickly.

On the other hand, he has also found police who do work professionally. “So this [lack of] professionalism is not just the disturbed face of the police in the eyes of the public, but they also betray other officers within the police”, he said.

Speaking at the same broadcast, the head of the National Police headquarters information bureau public relations division (Karopenmas) Brigadier General Awi Setiyono did not deny that police officers commit violations. He said however, that the police are endeavoring to improve.

“God willing, on the matters raised by Haris related to the handling of cases which have to wait for an order, I think we’re getting there, the police are getting better. We already have monitoring instruments, control functions”, he said.

Setiyono said that the existence of unprofessional police officers is because of the mentality of officers who are easily seduced.

“This goes back to the mentality of personnel, it’s true also that there have been temptations. And up until now on that kind of thing we have never compromised. If we straighten it out, there are many reserve players with us”, he said. (yog/agt)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Lokataru Ungkap 2 Masalah Polisi di Era Jokowi”.]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20200702011215-20-519810/lokataru-ungkap-2-masalah-polisi-di-era-jokowi