Tue, 18 Sep 2001

Poor recruitment blamed for Military-Police clash

JAKARTA (JP): A criminologist says here that poor recruitment and the low quality of education in both the military and police have caused frequent clashes between personnel of both institutions, necessitating apologies from both the National Police and Military chiefs for the indefensible behavior of their members.

Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, a criminologist at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, said recruitment methods for the military and police ought to be different from those for civilian institutions.

"Leaders of the two institutions should apologize to the public, particularly victims of the incident," added Harkristuti.

She added that National Police chief Gen. Surojo Bimantoro and Indonesian Military Commander Adm. Widodo AS ought to apologize to the public, especially the relatives of the victims and all parties affected by the incidents.

Harkristuti said potential members of the police and military had to meet certain requirements, such as being in good physical health and possessing a certain level of IQ.

"The psychological test must be conducted very carefully as it can measure the aggressiveness of the potential candidates. This is very important because they will be authorized to use guns in the future," she said to The Jakarta Post on Monday.

"If a candidate displays too much aggressiveness, he or she should not be accepted," she said, adding that public relations know-how should also be taught to police candidates because they would have in the future to deal with a lot of people in their daily jobs.

She commented on Saturday's clash between police and military members in the East Java town of Madiun, in which two students were killed.

It happened when Navy, Army and police officers admonished two soldiers who, on a motorcycle, cut in front of their car, ignoring many vehicles lining up for gas at a gas station.

Apart from claiming two lives, the incident also damaged a number of buildings owned by the police.

According to Harkristuti, military and police trainees had frequently to be reminded about the doctrine that being military or police officers they became the servants of the people.

"The doctrine is important because we often see soldiers and police officers act as though they were superior to civilians and expect civilians to serve them," she said.

Another criminologist, Mulyana W. Kusumah, blamed the lack of discipline among military and police members as the cause of frequent clashes between the Army and the police.

"What happened in Madiun indicates a discipline crisis in both the Military and the police," Mulyana told the Post on Monday.

Mulyana said clashes between the personnel of both institutions often occurred in conflict areas. "Just recently clashes between military personnel and police officers also occurred in Maluku and in Sampit, Central Kalimantan," Mulyana added.

He praised chief of the Army's Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) Lt. Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu's decision to discharge the commander and the deputy commander of Infantry Battalion 501 and 20 members of the battalion over the clash. (02)