According to the latest crime index released by the police today, the average increase in overall crime in 2007 was 7.1%, but the jump in serious crimes was much higher.The highest spike involved the category of gang robbery involving weapons other than firearms - from 2,723 cases in 2006 to 7,076 in 2007 - or a jump of 159.5%.
These are the percentage increases for a selected breakdown of crimes in 2007:
- Rape - 3,177 cases (+29.5%)
- Outraging modesty - 2,320 (+12.4%)
- Night-time home break-in - 24,440 (+21.7%)
- Day break-in - 9,159 (+4.2%)
- Motorcycle theft - 67,854 (+3.2%)
- Car theft - 12,427 (+11.4%)
- Snatch theft - 11,127 (+0.5%)
- Other theft - 44,617 (+5.1%)
- Rioting - 2,608 (+13.8)
According to the PM Abdullah, the police would focus on four core areas:
- Re-hiring retired police officers and training new officers to increase the number of personnel by 60,000 in 2011
- Increasing the number of civilians in the police force (e.g. for secretarial work)
- Compelling private property owners to install CCTV cameras
- Constructing more police stations and beat-bases
Unfortunately, the premier did not mention about enhancing quality and integrity of the force. Even in cases where the culprits were caught, prosecution was found to be wanting due to poor investigation.
No doubt we should address the manpower issue and the need to put more policemen on the streets. Steps must be taken to improve their integrity and professionalism.
Earlier, I have warned that the IGP (Musa) should stay out of politics and focus mainly on issues concerning public safety. The police force must be used as a political tool to suppress freedom of expression.
Apart from the steps suggested to boost the police force, the implementation of the IPCMC should not be swept under the carpet. The government must support genuine action to improve the image and efficiency of the police force.