Thu, 02 Oct 2003

Evaluation, accountability frighten police detectives

Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

If criminals were aware of Jakarta police detectives' time schedule, they might have taken the opportunity to commit crimes on Wednesday as they would have avoided an encounter with their predators, plainclothes police detectives.

Police detectives at the Jakarta Police Headquarters -- who are usually dressed as average people, sometimes with untidy hair, a long beard and thick moustache -- looked well-groomed and clean shaven on the morning in question.

Some of them looked tired, apparently from lack of sleep.

Just like other office employees, who wore well pressed long- sleeved shirts and ties, the police detectives gathered in their superiors' rooms to report their job progress, including expenditure.

However, they were not reporting their jobs to their superiors but to the supervisors of the Inspectorate and Supervisory Division of the National Police Headquarters.

"I never wear a tie unless I am attending the wasrik (which stands for pengawasan dan pemeriksaan or supervision and examination)," said a police officer at the homicide section of city police, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The word wasrik, the officer said jokingly, could also stand for pengawas sirik or envious supervisors.

The officer revealed that the inspectors pointed out detectives' faults and mistakes.

That was why it would be better for the detectives to treat them kindly and offer hospitably just to avoid trouble. A small mistake could mar their achievement record and affect their promotion, the officer said.

Most of the detectives, who are usually accessible to the media, turned off their cell phones or simply picked up the phone and murmured "call me back later, I'm in the wasrik meeting."

Some of them, like Jakarta Police chief of detectives Sr. Comr. Mathius Salempang, told their staff members to tell their guests that they were not available.

"Bapak is in a wasrik meeting. Please, call tomorrow," said a staff member in Salempang's office.

In a wasrik meeting, supervisors receive reports from police detectives reports on their routine jobs. Those supervisors will ask if they have found any irregularities in the reports.

"They asked how many cases we had received and how many cases we had solved. They also asked the reasons behind unresolved cases," said a police detective, who asked not to be named.

The supervisors, the detective said, would also examine how much money had been spent and for what purpose.