Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fake crime statistics: ‘Every word is true’ | Free Malaysia Today

Fake crime statistics: ‘Every word is true’

Teoh El Sen | August 25, 2012--FMT
Senior officer in Bukit Aman concedes contents of a letter by a veteran of the force on crime statistics being doctored has merit 

PETALING JAYA: A controversial letter purportedly written by a veteran cop alleging crime statistics have been manipulated has ruffled the feathers of top guns in the force.

It is learnt that Bukit Aman has been made aware of its existence and is now considering how to respond to revealations by the 30-year veteran of the force.

Calls to Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar went unanswered, while a spokesperson said: “I don’t have anything to say for now. I need to refer the matter to my superiors.

“There will be a response soon, but we are still gathering information,” said the spokesperson.

Meanwhile, several officers FMT contacted were reluctant to confirm or deny the allegations, but all agreed that the top police leadership or Home Ministry should attempt to respond.

However, one senior officer from Bukit Aman admitted that the contents of the letter was genuine. “Every sentence written is true,” said the officer, who refused to be named.

“Because of the NKRA (National Key Result Area), we are forced to reach impossible targets. Good officers, those who can do good work, are being unnecessarily pressured.”

“So what do they do? (The way figures are manipulated). It is a loophole in how you deal with statistics. It is wrong. Numbers are numbers, don’t use this a political agenda,” he said.
“Our men are working so hard, their leaves are being frozen for these reasons. It’s not right,” he said.

The NKRA factor

Citing examples, the cop said that there were cases where foreigners with work permits being arrested just to increase statistics, and there are times when suspects in other cases are shifted around just to “close” a case.
Referring to a line in the letter alleging that the Home Minister occupies two floors in Bukit Aman, the policeman said that it was not accurate.

“The Home Minister is on the 31st floor of Bukit Aman, and I agree with the letter writer who says that it is inappropriate.”

The policeman said that one way of changing things is to “first not have the Home Minister interfere too much in police matters”.
“The NKRA people shouldn’t push us so much, we should set our own targets. Let police handle their own matters,” said the officer.

Secondly, the policeman also agreed that having frequent “high profile policing” and “high visibility” programmes does not really help curb daily crime.

“What we really need is more training. But sadly, we are not given the budget, it is now all being spent in other areas, such as the goodies the government is giving out,” he said.

Allegations need to addressed

On Thursday, several Pakatan Rakyat leaders urged the government to clarify allegations made by an anonymous policeman who said that the government had tampered with the crime statistics by re-classifying offences to show that the crime rate had “fallen”,

“Home Ministry and Pemandu (Performance Management and Delivery Unit) must clarify the accusation. The allegations are serious as it casts doubt on the integrity of official statistics,” said a joint statement by PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, Kuala Krai MP Hatta Ramli and Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong.

The opposition pact urged Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Pemandu chief executive Idris Jala to disclose the statistics of cases classified under Sections 148, 382, 452 and 453 of the Penal Code as soon as possible.

A letter, sent to several MPs, purportedly from a 30-year veteran of the policeman, has been circulating in several news portals and websites. The writer claimed that there was a systematic attempt to lower the crime statistics by shifting the index crime to the non-index crime when a police report is lodged.

“Is the crime rate down? Yes, relying on the statistics provided by the Police and Pemandu. Is that a true reflection of the crime situation? The answer is certainly a big ‘NO’,” wrote the ‘policeman’.

Citing examples, the ‘policeman’ said that a robbery case, which falls under the Penal Code, comes under the index crime category. However, the police would classify it under Section 382 of the code and automatically relegate it to a non-index crime .

The policeman added that causing hurt comes under Sections 324 and 326 of the Penal Code which are index crimes. But these offences will be classified under Section 148 of the Penal Code.

Since Section 148 of the Penal Code is a non-index crime category, the case will not be reflected in the crime statistics. The policeman said that under-classification of the index crime to non-index crime runs into several thousand cases.

Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein oversees the police, while Idris Jala is the CEO of Pemandu, the unit tasked with reducing the country’s crime rate.

Recent news reports of a spate of street crimes, coupled with attacks from Opposition leaders, have put the nation’s supposed fallen crime statistics into sharp focus.

Pemandu had to defended itself from public criticism which questioned if the government was being honest in saying that the crime rate has dropped considerably following initiatives under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) launched two years ago.

Also read: Crime Statistics – Let the truth be told!

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