Form independent regulatory body

LETTERS: The alleged mistreatment of people in police custody has troubled the police force. From 2000 to 2016, more than 250 deaths in custody were reported.

The laws governing police conduct are rooted in the Police Act 1967 and the Criminal Procedure Code 1935.

Section 15(2) and (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code grants police the authority to use "necessary force" during arrests.

Detainees' rights are outlined in Section 28A, but these can be suspended if police suspect evidence concealment, destruction or witness intimidation.

This discretion raises concerns about potential abuse of power and fabrications by police officers, undermining the rights of detainees.

The Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) is the regulatory body for police conduct tasked with the upkeep of justice in the police system, replacing the proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.

However, the IPCC lacks independence. Former police officers and current government officials can be appointed to the commission, blurring the lines of separation of powers.

The commission's inability to take direct action against police officers accused of wrongdoing, only recommending actions to the Police Force Commission, renders it ineffective and has been criticised as toothless in achieving its goals.

Experts have suggested alternative reforms to be instated. There is a consensus that the main reform should be a new independent regulatory body where transparency is prioritised.

Appointment should be done solely by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to avoid an overlap of power between government branches.

A more diverse group should be considered to ensure credible knowledge and first-hand experience.

This new commission would consist of an internal disciplinary system to ensure police conduct is not disrupted as well as an external system to enforce investigations.

Only then would public confidence in the regulation of police conduct be strengthened.

There must be a balance between enforcing human rights and the rights and powers of the police to conduct investigations.

The implementation of closed-circuit television cameras in interrogation rooms and the addition of basic health screenings in the interrogation process will align with the above principles.

However, it is not sufficient to just put out fires. Prevention of misconduct must be prioritised.

Police training reforms focusing on de-escalation techniques, non-lethal uses of force, cultural sensitivity and ethical conduct must be imposed.

Modern policing techniques allow officers to better interact with people to create a more equitable environment.

Additionally, citizens should be informed about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with law enforcement officers.






School of Law and Governance,

Taylor's University

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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