In response to the cover feature in issue 113 of Ipoh Echo (Feb 1-15, 2011) headlined “Reduced Crime Rate – Reality or Perception”, Ipoh City police chief Assistant Commissioner Azisman Alias is taking steps to change the relationship between the police and the public and for the police to build better rapport with the public.
He has given instructions for the police force in the city to intensify its Convoy Community Oriented Policing (CCOP) scheme in an effort to combat crimes.
A soft launch of the scheme was held recently at a restaurant in Jalan Labrooy with residents from Lim Garden, Merdeka Garden, Cherry Park and Taman Idris.
Under this programme, the police would meet the public over breakfast for a chat, thus breaking the barriers between them. The meetings have since been held regularly in various housing estates.
Azisman said that he had also intensified the SWAT (Stop Walk and Talk) programme, whereby policemen would chat with the people and discuss their problems.
Azisman is confident that the initiatives he has taken will help reduce the crime rate and create confidence in the police. He stressed the need for members of the public to be in close contact with police so that based on their information the police could increase surveillance on crime prone areas.
On the complaint that many criminals are let off, Azisman said that by law, the police can only detain a person for one day and then he has to be presented to the court. It is the decision of the court to release a person on bail. Most of the suspected criminals come out on bail. Even if the police know a person is a criminal, he cannot be arrested without evidence. He stressed that the Human Rights Groups are always on the watch and accuse the police of abuse of power.
On frontline personnel in the police stations, Azisman had instructed them to be courteous to the public and attend to their needs fast. “The public must not be made to wait to see staff or make a police report,” he said. For those in patrol cars, who are the first to arrive at the crime scenes, he had instructed them to be sensitive to the needs of the people and situation.
Meanwhile, a resident from Taman Semarak, Hamid Lee, said that crimes in the housing estates along Kuala Kangsar Road were increasing. House break-ins, burglary in shops, snatch thefts and gang fights are common. Most of the thefts are not reported. The residents complain that it takes too long to make a police report and they have to take leave to do so.