KOTA KINABALU: SABAH recorded a 16 per cent increase in the number of criminal cases reported, the highest spike in the country, state police commissioner Datuk Ramli Din said.
Ramli, however, said the steep increase did not mean police were not doing anything to keep the state safe.
“My instruction for all district police headquarters is to receive and investigate any report, regardless of how minor the offence is.
“Even if it is about stealing oil palm fruit, we need to investigate. That is why Sabah has the highest increase,” he said.
Ramli was speaking to about 60 former policemen at the Have Ex-Policeman Serve as Neighbourhood Safety Leaders programme at the state police headquarters in Kepayan here.
Although the number of cases were high, he said that Sabah’s case-solving rate was the second highest — with more than 60 per cent of the cases solved and completed.
He added that theft and housebreaking contributed to the crime index, adding that these two offences were usually related to drugs.
“I look at the drug problem in Sabah seriously and I always instruct my men to be aggressive in their operations. All district narcotic officers have to go to the ground regularly and I cannot accept it if their report is zero every day.
“This rarely happens. If there is zero arrest, I will ask for an explanation. The narcotics team is not like the Criminal Investigation Department, where we wait for a police report before we act.
“As narcotic officers, we have to look for drug activities. If we don’t, we won’t find anything.”
On efforts to control the misuse of firearms, Ramli said police would focus on homemade guns, known locally as bakakuk, which was used widely in Sabah and Sarawak.
“There have been many incidents where the use of bakakuk has caused death. We are aggressive in identifying bakakuk owners and seizing illegal firearms.”
He said police had identified a licensed ammunition seller who had been selling bullets to bakakuk owners.
“The person has a shop in Ranau and his licence will be revoked,” he said, adding that police had seized about 60 bakakuks this year.
In the engagement event, Ramli shared security developments in Sabah with ex-policemen while taking note of their views on
ways to tackle crime and improve safety.
The programme, under the National Blue Ocean Strategy, was aimed at establishing cooperation and making police retirees the eyes and ears for the police in residential areas.
“We will continue to work
and ask for guidance from the retirees, who have 20 and 40 years of experience in the police force. Many of them are healthy and active in community service.
“We need each other because once a policeman, always a policeman,” said Ramli.
He urged ex-police to register as Volunteer Smartphone Patrol members so that they could channel information to the police.