Sat, 13 Mar 1999

Expert wants Kamra to be trained by police

JAKARTA (JP): An expert on police affairs claims that the training given to People's Security (Kamra) members by the military will lead to the militia's failure to best assist the police in their duties.

The training arranged by the city military command did not meet police requirements, Prof. Sadjipto Rahardjo, also a legal expert at Semarang's Diponegoro University, told The Jakarta Post by telephone on Friday.

"It's the police who should handle the Kamra training instead of the Army because it's the police who have complete know-how in regard to the community's security and order," he said from the Central Java capital of Semarang.

He added that should the police be allowed to transfer their knowledge to Kamra members, the presence of the civilian militia in the capital would be far more productive in assisting the police compared to their current performance.

The recruitment and training of the government-sponsored Kamra program started here early last month and will last until the end of next month.

The two-week Kamra training program includes, among other things, physical exercise, disciplinary lessons and instruction on patrol techniques, the law and human rights.

Sadjipto suggested the police, if at a later stage they are allowed by the government to handle Kamra training, employ the old methods of training that they utilized with recruits of Police Assistance (Banpol) so that Kamra members could really understand how to deal with problems within the community.

So far, the first two of four batches of Kamra graduates have been dispatched by the military to police posts to start their jobs, for which each member receives Rp 200,000 per month.

As reported earlier, many of them remain virtually idle except for directing traffic. Some of them sometimes accompany police officers on patrol or help safeguard events.

Some police officers appear confused as to what sort of work they should be assigning to Kamra members, particularly considering their lack of knowledge on police duties.

One media report early this week alleged that at least two Kamra members had been ordered by police sergeants to collect bribes from gambling operators in North Jakarta.

The report also said that several Kamra members had complained about the public's unfriendly reaction to their presence.

Many motorists, for example, apparently ignore instructions given by Kamra personnel managing traffic.

Just like the police, the Kamra members are required to show up at their respective police posts at 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. But they do not have tight work schedules.

Three to four hours per day are spent managing traffic. They spend the remaining hours chatting to each other at the police posts.

"We usually manage traffic at several crossroads here, and once we were asked to safeguard a senior high school art performance," said Kamra member Sunarto, who works in the Cempaka Putih area in Central Jakarta.

Meanwhile, Jakarta Police spokesman Lt. Col. Zainuri Lubis welcomed Sadjipto's idea, but said it would be best to let the House of Representatives decide further.

Having the police train Kamra, he said, would at least enable the police to know the individual characteristics of the Kamra members and allow them to arrange their deployment accordingly. (01/bsr)