Police Needs to Have Guts to be in Opposition with Any Parties (Reflection Note of Police Anniversary 1 July 2012)

Andawat-the roles and functions Indonesian police force has to play is complex. Not only do they enforce the law, but also they have to serve and protect the people. As a law enforcer, police has to be ready to come opposite with anybody, either authorities, military domination and other interest groups as well as certain individuals in the society.

As defender and servant of society, police has to stand aside society. This means police has to be the first to be aware and alert about any forms of crime against society. Moreover, police has to be able to protect its society from any provocative issues and information which tend to lead astray and bring about envy and hostility. This surely is not an easy job since police is required to be friendly and cause no fear as well as be wise, professional and brave.

The demand for the police to work professionally and brave has become a growing heme in many community groups’ discussions. Many violent cases have not been settled by police, either the perpetrators, the modus and the motives as well as violence. People feel unsecure and unprotected. Certain community groups even gallantly stated that they will settle the problem on their ways, if police is not able to take any measurements, as stated by Forum Komunikasi Lintas Kerukunan Nusantara (Nusantara Cross Reconciliation Communication Forum) (Cepos,16/06/2012).

In Papua, successive violence keeps occurring and any body can be victims which create distress among the society. At the same time, police should not share the moment of “panic’ since such condition would lead to excessive measurement followed by criticisms. Take, for example, the shooting of  Teyu Tabuni in front of Yapis Dok V(7/06/2012) and Mako Tabuni (14 Juni 2012).

Police seems unable to escape from ‘arduous job’. Not long after dealing with a number of incidents in May and June, during the celebration of its anniversary on 1 July 2012, police had to face various issues and the Bintang Kejora (flag) raising incidents which mounted on the shooting of Chief of Kampong Sawiatami Keerom. In fact, police had been ‘watchful’ or so-called siaga satu (Level One Alert) as asserted by Jayapura Police Chief (Bintang Papua/2/07/2012).

According to the police, one of the difficulties to reveal perpetrators of incidents or crimes is when it is hard for the police to get witnesses of an incident. “People are reluctant to present themselves as witness” says Deputy Chief of Papua Police at Papua Lawyer Club session (09/06/2012). Supposedly, the rampant violence recently has discouraged people to become witness because they are afraid of becoming the next victim.

The slogan “Police as people’s friend” is clearly a discourse. On the one hand, the police practically works by itself in building a process of investigation through examination. On the other hand, people view police exclusive, not involving public figures and community groups to gain information as one participant of Papua Lawyer Club put ”not like Chief I Made Mangku Pastika (former Papua police chief) who was very communicative to any parties”.

Police ability to reveal a crime incident is competing with the crime itself. The more the police is supplied with various new and sophisticated knowledge and technology, the more new crimes emerge.

Police has also been seen unable to permeate authoritative barriers and particular groups’ interest. The police will still win out the authorities’ interests and at the same time the police will be put in frail by certain authorities.

On another occasion, police is also not able to reduce people’s suspicion toward a number of case revealing processes it has been through. As a result the police not only have to face forces and authorities but also face people accusations growing from their distress and disappointment. Public do not lay their trust on the way the police handle the problems.

A statement that police has ‘ikut bermain or terlibat (police has been a player or involved) or ‘tidak berani’ (coward) always been made when police has to deal or fail to deal with a problem. Police, both as an institution or individual, would always be linked to accusation of having been in a “conspiracy”. So, anything it performs would not gain appreciation. Police is like garbage bin. When it accomplishes a good thing, it is likely putting a crown on “other person’s” head.

We frankly hope to see our police as a collection of the best people who are assigned to enforce law and protect all people. We hope to see police to go stronger to be out of any interests which has trapped this institution to be less neutral. Police can gain its confidence and synergy with people’s power, support and trust.

There is no other choice. Any kinds of protest, anger, or accusation against police should be viewed and responded in the light of there is a hope laid on police to work to gain more of its professionalism and courage. “The first and last law police should remember and do is do not offend people’s heart,” says Thaha Alhamid, PDP Secretary General.

The main task of the police remains the same. First, police has to be able to disclose and discover motives of the many violent incidents happened these years in Papua. Second, police should provide a state of security to the entire people in Papua because the right to live in peace is one of human rights stated under the constitution.

Along with it, police is demanded to gain reformation to bring about responsibility and professionalism within its body. This demand can be achieved through different ways. First, it should get rid of the tradition of employing militaristic ways and transforms itself into a civil institution which serves and protect people. Second, it has become a wider need to reform police in order to support entire process of democracy in Indonesian, particularly in Papua.

Police 66th Anniversary is ought to be marked by ideological framework and practical actions to: 1) provide security to entire people in Papua at all cost, grounded on professionalism and respect for human rights; 2) prevent violence from appearing at very early stage. These efforts should be maintained that do not create negative access to civil society activities; 3) improve management of recruitment, education, placement and promotion based on qualities and needs. This is closely related to the training system (specifically curriculum and time allocation to appropriately get a deeper touch on the materials); 4) provide supports in infrastructures and structures directed to prevention and handling matters, particularly at regions out of reach of transportation and communication, and; 5) revise ambiguous chapters or articles in the laws and regulations on particular crime investigations to prevent conflict of authority between police and judicial institutions (Andawat/AlDP)