Showing posts tagged as "police"

Showing posts tagged police

8 Apr
Policing urban violence | Tariq Khosa
While political, ethnic, religious and socio-economic tensions contribute to conflicts, escalating urban violence is largely a product of poor governance, inappropriate security policies and neglected police reforms.
This is the crux of a recent report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG). “The police are demoralised and paralysed by political interference, and a lack of adequate resources and political support,” says Samina Ahmed, ICG’s South Asia project director. “But they could become effective if properly authorised and given institutional and operational autonomy.”
The recommendations are timely and deserve immediate attention at the federal, provincial and district levels of government. Similarly, the legislature, executive and judiciary must not only contribute to improving governance but also display a vision for ensuring that the criminal justice system upholds the rule of law by encouraging police officers, prosecutors and judges who are honest and efficient. This may entail massive purges to weed out the corrupt and the callous.
FULL ARTICLE (Dawn)
Photo: lukexmartin/flickr

Policing urban violence | Tariq Khosa

While political, ethnic, religious and socio-economic tensions contribute to conflicts, escalating urban violence is largely a product of poor governance, inappropriate security policies and neglected police reforms.

This is the crux of a recent report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG). “The police are demoralised and paralysed by political interference, and a lack of adequate resources and political support,” says Samina Ahmed, ICG’s South Asia project director. “But they could become effective if properly authorised and given institutional and operational autonomy.”

The recommendations are timely and deserve immediate attention at the federal, provincial and district levels of government. Similarly, the legislature, executive and judiciary must not only contribute to improving governance but also display a vision for ensuring that the criminal justice system upholds the rule of law by encouraging police officers, prosecutors and judges who are honest and efficient. This may entail massive purges to weed out the corrupt and the callous.

FULL ARTICLE (Dawn)

Photo: lukexmartin/flickr

9 Jul
Kenya’s Governors Seek Security Role | allAfrica
Recent gang attacks in western and northeastern Kenya have led to demands for the country’s new county governors to be given a greater role in maintaining security.
If governors were made responsible for maintaining security in their county, they might have powers to deploy police on the ground without first seeking permission from the force’s central command in the capital Nairobi.
FULL STORY (allAfrica)
Photo: DEMOSH/Flickr

Kenya’s Governors Seek Security Role | allAfrica

Recent gang attacks in western and northeastern Kenya have led to demands for the country’s new county governors to be given a greater role in maintaining security.

If governors were made responsible for maintaining security in their county, they might have powers to deploy police on the ground without first seeking permission from the force’s central command in the capital Nairobi.

FULL STORY (allAfrica)

Photo: DEMOSH/Flickr

18 Jun
Indonesia’s police: The problem of deadly force | Lowy Interpreter
by Jim Della-Giacoma, Asia Program Director
My four year-old daughter recently came home from her Jakarta kindergarten with a story about a visit to the school from the head of our local police station. ‘If there is a robber and he’s running away, the policeman will pull out his gun, fire in the air, and if he doesn’t stop then he will shoot him in the leg’, she recounted breathlessly.
I have spent 25 years working in and around conflict zones, including more than a decade in Indonesia. My reaction might not have been that of the average parent. ‘That’, I replied, ‘is a violation of Perkap Number 8.’ Needless to say, my reference to Police Regulation Number 8 of 2009 regarding Implementation of Human Rights Principles and Standards in the Discharge of Duties of the Indonesian National Police was lost on her. She thought the visit was great.
FULL ARTICLE (Lowy Interpreter)
Photo: Satu Lagi/Flickr

Indonesia’s police: The problem of deadly force | Lowy Interpreter

by Jim Della-Giacoma, Asia Program Director

My four year-old daughter recently came home from her Jakarta kindergarten with a story about a visit to the school from the head of our local police station. ‘If there is a robber and he’s running away, the policeman will pull out his gun, fire in the air, and if he doesn’t stop then he will shoot him in the leg’, she recounted breathlessly.

I have spent 25 years working in and around conflict zones, including more than a decade in Indonesia. My reaction might not have been that of the average parent. ‘That’, I replied, ‘is a violation of Perkap Number 8.’ Needless to say, my reference to Police Regulation Number 8 of 2009 regarding Implementation of Human Rights Principles and Standards in the Discharge of Duties of the Indonesian National Police was lost on her. She thought the visit was great.

FULL ARTICLE (Lowy Interpreter)

Photo: Satu Lagi/Flickr

3 May
Oversight Needed to Make Police Accountable | The Jakarta Globe
By Achmad Sukarsono 
Indonesia urgently needs a competent civilian body that can police the police and show that there are tangible consequences to refusal to enforce the law or in some cases, actively violate it.
Those with the authority to hold the police accountable, including the president, seem to lack the political will to do so; civil society groups appalled by police behavior have so far been unsuccessful in pressing for change. If Indonesian democracy is going to move forward, it is up to these groups to make a concerted effort to press the president and House of
Representatives to bring a civilian oversight body into being.
The standoff with former chief detective Susno Duadji is a case in point. On April 24, West Java Police, together with a political party militia linked to a former justice minister, prevented prosecutors from taking Susno from his luxury house to prison after he lost all appeals against a bribery conviction. Susno was once head of the West Java command, one of the largest regional police units in Indonesia, and many officers there still owe their careers to him. It was clearly more important for top officers to protect the culture of patronage than to enforce the law.
FULL ARTICLE (The Jakarta Globe)
Photo: Flickr/Luther Bailey

Oversight Needed to Make Police Accountable | The Jakarta Globe

By Achmad Sukarsono 

Indonesia urgently needs a competent civilian body that can police the police and show that there are tangible consequences to refusal to enforce the law or in some cases, actively violate it.

Those with the authority to hold the police accountable, including the president, seem to lack the political will to do so; civil society groups appalled by police behavior have so far been unsuccessful in pressing for change. If Indonesian democracy is going to move forward, it is up to these groups to make a concerted effort to press the president and House of

Representatives to bring a civilian oversight body into being.

The standoff with former chief detective Susno Duadji is a case in point. On April 24, West Java Police, together with a political party militia linked to a former justice minister, prevented prosecutors from taking Susno from his luxury house to prison after he lost all appeals against a bribery conviction. Susno was once head of the West Java command, one of the largest regional police units in Indonesia, and many officers there still owe their careers to him. It was clearly more important for top officers to protect the culture of patronage than to enforce the law.

FULL ARTICLE (The Jakarta Globe)

Photo: Flickr/Luther Bailey

18 Sep
Incompetent terrorists test Indonesia’s luck | ABC News
By George Roberts
In the past two weeks, the efforts of some of the would-be bombers have literally blown up in their faces, with two terrorist bomb labs exploding.
Police have also made a number of raids on weapons stores.
This week, Muhammed Thorik handed himself into police after a few days on the run, deciding he missed his family too much.
FULL ARTICLE (ABC News)
Photo: multimediaimpre/Flickr

Incompetent terrorists test Indonesia’s luck | ABC News

By George Roberts

In the past two weeks, the efforts of some of the would-be bombers have literally blown up in their faces, with two terrorist bomb labs exploding.

Police have also made a number of raids on weapons stores.

This week, Muhammed Thorik handed himself into police after a few days on the run, deciding he missed his family too much.

FULL ARTICLE (ABC News)

Photo: multimediaimpre/Flickr

28 Aug

Villa Nueva, Against All Odds | International Crisis Group: Latin America Crime & Politics Blog

23 August 2012 by Bernardo Jurema

First, they receive a letter or a mobile phone, which relay demands for daily payments of 50 to 100 quetzales ($6 to $12), more than half of what most bus drivers earn.  Then the threats begin:  drivers are told to pay up or risk losing their buses or even their lives.

For Contrauvin, a commuter bus cooperative founded more than 50 years ago in Villa Nueva, a city southwest of the capital, the extortion started in 2002. Samuel Rodriguez Prado, a bus driver and currently president of the cooperative, explains that members would report the racket to police, but to no avail. “We would file the complaints, the police would provide security for a short while, but there was no continuity”, he says.

In 2004, a U.S.-backed model precinct was set up in the municipality. Within a few years “things started to change”, Rodriguez says. “We began to have assistance on a continuous basis”. Investigators, using the letters and phones sent to the drivers, led negotiations, identified the criminals and arrested them. But collaboration with the police came at a cost. In 2006, six Contrauvin bus drivers were murdered by gangs, something that had never happened before. “Until then, there had only been threats, by means of burning down buses or breaking the windows”, he says.

Only recently have police been able to combine more effective investigations with preventive measures to give bus drivers and other small business owners the confidence to resist extortionist demands. “Since January, there are more patrols providing security to the community”, says Contrauvin’s president. “Things have improved lately”.

His impression is backed up by the numbers. According to the government ministry which oversees police, immigration and prisons, 185 people were killed in Villa Nueva from January to June 2011. Within the first six months of this year, that number dropped to 133. But Rodriguez Prado says drivers with other local bus companies are still being shaken down, threatened and sometimes killed.  He says that, thanks to Contrauvin’s cooperation with investigators from the model precinct, only one member of the cooperative has been killed since 2008.

It is too early to know what combination of factors is behind the drop in homicides and whether the trend will continue.  But police and local leaders believe that better law enforcement combined with citizen cooperation explains the downturn in violence.

Villa Nueva is a sprawling working-class town. During the 1950s, it became the country’s main industrial hub.  But in the 1970s and ‘80s, migrants from rural areas – many fleeing armed conflict – poured into the city, creating huge informal settlements. Estimates of Villa Nueva’s population vary widely: official census data puts it at 527,000. The local government says the city has up to one million residents.

In 2004, a pilot “model precinct” program was launched in Villa Nueva, with funding from the U.S. government. The model precinct approach includes community-oriented patrols provided with training in preventive policing, plus anti-corruption measures, like the random vetting of police. The program has had mixed results, due in part to resistance from within the National Civil Police (PNC) and lack of cooperation from local authorities.  While homicide rates have declined since 2009 in Guatemala Cityand Mixco, a neighbouring municipality also suffering from gang-related violence, it has fluctuated in Villa Nueva.

This may be changing. The new mayor of Villa Nueva, Edwin Escobar, who took office in mid-January, has put security at the top of his agenda. He has promised to prevent crime and reclaim public space by providing street lighting, security cameras connected to a central monitoring station and more community patrols, including national and municipal police backed by soldiers.

On inauguration day in mid-January, the new mayor decided to forgo the traditional celebrations and get to work. “When the mayor was taking his oath of office, we were already setting up cameras in Mario Alioto”, says city Secretary Ricardo Antonio Córdova Zepeda. The Mario Alioto asentamiento, founded when the original residents took over government-owned land in 1995, was known as a “red zone”, where gangs operated freely. It now has 43 cameras, monitored from city hall, and police patrols circulate regularly. Local authorities say that killings used to be a daily occurrence in Mario Alioto. But they claim that the six months after the cameras were installed saw only two murders in the neighbourhood.

The monitoring station at city hall was made possible with contributions from the municipal and national governments, helped by local business. Such a system would be too expensive for the city to finance alone.  According to local government officials, each camera costs $4,800. Add the expense of monitoring, maintenance, patrolling, and fibre optic lines and the price tag climbs to $11,000 for every camera installed. The municipality pays most of the fixed costs; the government ministry has provided some cameras and funded installation of the fibre optic network; and, the private sector has pulled together funding for the monitoring station.

The station functions as a control room, where the closed circuit TV images converge.  National and municipal police watch computer monitors while soldiers are ready to join them on patrol and provide logistical support.  All these activities are coordinated by the city government.

The surveillance cameras are placed at strategic spots throughout the city.  If a crime is reported, the officers at the monitoring station can track suspects’ movements. The station then communicates with police patrols to secure the area.

City authorities say Mayor Escobar and his staff visited Medellin and Bogotá, Colombia, as well as La Paz, Bolivia, to learn first-hand how other Latin American cities are coping with high crime rates. One lesson is that such efforts do not rely on better policing alone. Also key is improving municipal services. So the city government is providing more public lighting, placing new street lamps on main roads and other public spaces. Paving and drainage are also a top priority.

In late March, some major streets in Mario Alioto remained unpaved or littered with potholes. Three months later, there was visible progress: more streets were paved, lined with spacious sidewalks, and newly erected street lamps.

Another illustration of this policy is a lakeside park known as Paseo del Lago (Promenade of the Lake). It used to be a landfill on the shores of Lake Amatitlán, where criminals would dispose of corpses. The local government decided to clean up the dump and convert it into a park, opening it to the public in mid-March. Today, there is a bike lane and pedestrian walkways, plus benches, a barbeque area and a garden tended by local high school students.

Villa Nueva has benefited from the joint efforts of the local and national governments, the private sector and foreign donors. Whether the changes are sustainable remains unclear. But residents, including local business people such as Rodriguez Prado of Contrauvin, seem hopeful. “We are witnessing a positive change”, he said in March. Four months on, asked whether he remained optimistic, his reply was affirmative. “It’s even improved another notch”, he says.

Latin America Crime & Politics Blog

Photos are courtesy of author Bernardo Jurema, Crisis Group’s Guatemala Researcher. 

20 Jul
Police Reform in Guatemala: Obstacles and Opportunities
Guatemala City/Brussels  |   20 Jul 2012
To stem the violence that kills thousands of Guatemalans each year, the government must find the resources and will to carry out long-stalled reforms of the national police.
Police Reform in Guatemala: Obstacles and Opportunities, the latest International Crisis Group report, explores the prospects for change under President Otto Pérez Molina, who took office in January. Although his government has taken vigorous steps to combat organised crime, it is still overly dependent on the military and special task forces that operate outside the police hierarchy. Such efforts may lead to short-term gains, but they do not address the institutional weaknesses that render the police ineffective and corrupt.
Criminal organisations – from the drug traffickers who move at will over porous borders to the gangs that dominate urban areas – have helped fuel violence that has killed more than 57,000 Guatemalans over the past decade. The National Civil Police (PNC) is on the front lines of the battle against crime, though all too often citizens distrust them as much as the criminals.
Continued foreign assistance is essential to this effort, but donors should do a better job of coordinating their efforts and working closely with the government to establish priorities and devise sustained strategies with clear benchmarks. “The government needs to make police reform a top priority, as part of an overall effort to strengthen justice and law enforcement”, says Mary Speck, Crisis Group’s Senior Guatemala Analyst. “That means providing police with better training, better supervision and better working conditions”.
Progress has been made. Some investigative units – including a homicide unit supported by the Spanish government – have proven that given adequate resources, preparation and supervision, police can solve complex crimes. There are also encouraging developments within the area of preventive policing. In Mixco and Villa Nueva, municipalities outside Guatemala City, local governments are expanding community-oriented police patrols in cooperation with U.S.-financed model precincts.
These efforts remain the exception, however. For reform to succeed, the entire PNC – not just isolated units – must embrace reform as a matter of institutional self-interest and prestige. It is vital to design a police reform strategy with clear priorities and timetables that builds on progress already made, so as to improve oversight, combat corruption and avoid over-reliance on the military.
“Achievements made so far are fragile and easily reversed”, says Javier Ciurlizza, Crisis Group’s Latin America and Caribbean Program Director. “To turn limited initiatives into genuine reform will require not just continued international support but also the clear commitment of Guatemala’s leaders”.
FULL REPORT

Police Reform in Guatemala: Obstacles and Opportunities

Guatemala City/Brussels  |   20 Jul 2012

To stem the violence that kills thousands of Guatemalans each year, the government must find the resources and will to carry out long-stalled reforms of the national police.

Police Reform in Guatemala: Obstacles and Opportunities, the latest International Crisis Group report, explores the prospects for change under President Otto Pérez Molina, who took office in January. Although his government has taken vigorous steps to combat organised crime, it is still overly dependent on the military and special task forces that operate outside the police hierarchy. Such efforts may lead to short-term gains, but they do not address the institutional weaknesses that render the police ineffective and corrupt.

Criminal organisations – from the drug traffickers who move at will over porous borders to the gangs that dominate urban areas – have helped fuel violence that has killed more than 57,000 Guatemalans over the past decade. The National Civil Police (PNC) is on the front lines of the battle against crime, though all too often citizens distrust them as much as the criminals.

Continued foreign assistance is essential to this effort, but donors should do a better job of coordinating their efforts and working closely with the government to establish priorities and devise sustained strategies with clear benchmarks. “The government needs to make police reform a top priority, as part of an overall effort to strengthen justice and law enforcement”, says Mary Speck, Crisis Group’s Senior Guatemala Analyst. “That means providing police with better training, better supervision and better working conditions”.

Progress has been made. Some investigative units – including a homicide unit supported by the Spanish government – have proven that given adequate resources, preparation and supervision, police can solve complex crimes. There are also encouraging developments within the area of preventive policing. In Mixco and Villa Nueva, municipalities outside Guatemala City, local governments are expanding community-oriented police patrols in cooperation with U.S.-financed model precincts.

These efforts remain the exception, however. For reform to succeed, the entire PNC – not just isolated units – must embrace reform as a matter of institutional self-interest and prestige. It is vital to design a police reform strategy with clear priorities and timetables that builds on progress already made, so as to improve oversight, combat corruption and avoid over-reliance on the military.

“Achievements made so far are fragile and easily reversed”, says Javier Ciurlizza, Crisis Group’s Latin America and Caribbean Program Director. “To turn limited initiatives into genuine reform will require not just continued international support but also the clear commitment of Guatemala’s leaders”.

FULL REPORT

22 May
Why it is difficult to control the ‘cowboys’ | Jakarta Post
By: Al Araf and Anton Aliabbas
The media coverage of an Army officer who brandished his gun in a street quarrel with a motorcycle rider recently raised concerns about the inappropriate use of arms.
The circulation of small arms has clearly reached a point that puts development sustainability and security in many countries in the world at risk. 
The uncontrolled circulation of arms has contributed much to the mounting tension, terrorism or any other security threats to a country, such as what has happened in Darfur, Sudan and Rwanda.
The United States Department of Public Information defines “small arms” as specially designed weaponries for personal use, such as revolvers, automatic guns, rifles and light machine guns. 
Due to their threat to individual security, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) issued guidelines on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) on 2008, which provides details on regulating small arms for the civilians; international circulation of SALW controls; the making and selling of weapons; procedures for gun tagging and making special codes for each weapon; and regulation on SALW to be held and used by the state and the apparatus.
Even though the harm and effects resulting from the small-arms circulation is felt by states, there is no international agreement that governs conventional arms at a global level yet. 
In July 2011, the progress made on the “Global Arms Treaty” appeared, with further support at a meeting of delegates in New York. This agreement is important, especially given the magnitude of the arms trade, which reached US$1.2 trillion globally. 
FULL ARTICLE (Jakarta Post)
Photo: Meursault2004/Wikimedia Commons

Why it is difficult to control the ‘cowboys’ | Jakarta Post

By: Al Araf and Anton Aliabbas

The media coverage of an Army officer who brandished his gun in a street quarrel with a motorcycle rider recently raised concerns about the inappropriate use of arms.

The circulation of small arms has clearly reached a point that puts development sustainability and security in many countries in the world at risk. 

The uncontrolled circulation of arms has contributed much to the mounting tension, terrorism or any other security threats to a country, such as what has happened in Darfur, Sudan and Rwanda.

The United States Department of Public Information defines “small arms” as specially designed weaponries for personal use, such as revolvers, automatic guns, rifles and light machine guns. 

Due to their threat to individual security, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) issued guidelines on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) on 2008, which provides details on regulating small arms for the civilians; international circulation of SALW controls; the making and selling of weapons; procedures for gun tagging and making special codes for each weapon; and regulation on SALW to be held and used by the state and the apparatus.

Even though the harm and effects resulting from the small-arms circulation is felt by states, there is no international agreement that governs conventional arms at a global level yet. 

In July 2011, the progress made on the “Global Arms Treaty” appeared, with further support at a meeting of delegates in New York. This agreement is important, especially given the magnitude of the arms trade, which reached US$1.2 trillion globally. 

FULL ARTICLE (Jakarta Post)

Photo: Meursault2004/Wikimedia Commons

16 Feb

Indonesia: The Deadly Cost of Poor Policing

Jakarta/Brussels  |   16 Feb 2012

Despite years of investment in community policing, the Indonesian police remain deeply distrusted by the people they are supposed to serve.

Indonesia : The Deadly Cost of Poor Policing, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, says that the high frequency of angry crowd attacks on police and police stations is a direct response to abuse, real and perceived, by police and the absence of any functioning grievance mechanism.  

“The cure is not more pilot projects in community policing but systematic reform in recruitment and training, use of force and handling of firearms, and above all, accountability”, says Achmad Sukarsono, Crisis Group’s South East Asia Analyst. “Police are supposed to be helping prevent conflict, but too often they are contributing to its outbreak”.

The report looks at how the concept of community policing evolved in democratic Indonesia and the obstacles it faces from police institutional culture, incentive structure and corruption.  Out of at least 40 attacks on police since August 2010, the report examines three cases:

  • In Buol, Central Sulawesi, citizens destroyed police facilities and forced police families to leave town after seven men were shot dead during a mass protest against the death of a teenager in police custody. This is one of the few cases where several of the officers were brought to court, but only because of the high death toll and media attention. 
  • In Kampar, Riau, residents vandalised a precinct after the arrest and beating of an innocent clan elder at a market. He was accused of illegal gambling because he was jotting numbers on a piece of paper, when in fact he was noting product prices. Trivial arrests like this frequently occur because police are rewarded for favourable crime statistics, and the more arrests they make, regardless of the severity of the crime, the better they are seen to be doing their job. 
  • In Bantaeng, South Sulawesi, villagers attacked a precinct after a deadly police raid on alleged gamblers at a wedding party that killed one, although it happened in a different district. Police claim they opened fire because they believed anger among the wedding guests over the gambling arrests put their commander’s life in danger. In fact, they seem to have shot wildly in the dark without being able to see what they were shooting at.

“These incidents are emblematic of a much broader problem; the Indonesian government should stop treating them as isolated incidents”, says Jim Della-Giacoma, Crisis Group’s South East Asia Project Director.  “They represent a systemic failure that will encourage further deadly violence unless the underlying causes of community hostility are addressed”.

FULL REPORT: (International Crisis Group)

27 Sep

TIME: Haiti Doesn’t Need an Army — It Needs Better Cops

Even in the wake of a catastrophic earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people – or perhaps because of that disaster – nationalism reared its head during Haiti’s presidential election campaign last year. Many candidates, including the eventual winner, Michel Martelly, sensed that Haitians had grown weary of U.N. peacekeeping forces patrolling their streets, and so they made the revival of the Haitian military a khaki-colored plank in their platforms. But now that Martelly is President, many hope realizes – if his speech last Friday, Sept. 23, to the U.N. General Assembly is any indication – that an army is the last thing Haiti needs. […]

Haiti analyst Mark Schneider, senior vice president at the International Crisis Group in Washington, D.C., says he hopes Martelly’s U.N. speech “reflects a recognition on his part that for Haiti to successfully entice business investment, and for him to be successful as a President, there has to be security – and for at least the next few years, that means keeping the U.N. peacekeeping forces and focusing not on an army but on an evolving, stronger national Haitian police force.” Schneider is hardly alone in his thinking: representatives of donor nations, who have pledged billions of dollars toward Haiti’s post-quake recovery and reconstruction, tell TIME that re-creating the Haitian military is at the bottom of their wish list. In fact, many wish Haitian politicians would drop the idea altogether and, as Schneider suggests, concentrate on building a credible constabulary

FULL ARTICLE (TIME)