‘We Need the KPK and the KPK Needs Us’: New Police Chief Signals Detente
Jakarta. The National Police finally had their definitive chief on Friday, for the first time since January, when President Joko Widodo swore in Badrodin Haiti to the post and promoted the former deputy chief to full general.
But Badrodin only has until July next year, when he enters retirement age, to mend police’s image as the country’s most corrupt institution, improve public trust, and fix the severed ties with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
The Jakarta Globe spoke to Badrodin at his home in Jagakarsa, South Jakarta, on Wednesday night, just hours before the House of Representatives staged a confirmation hearing that eventually concluded with an endorsement of his nomination.
Q: Do you feel you have enough time to accomplish what you want?
A: I never dreamed about becoming the police chief. This is a huge responsibility. I feel I need to do all I can with the opportunity given, otherwise my being police chief will be meaningless. I will continue several [existing] programs while improving the police’s performance and addressing some of the issues the public have complained about, like illegal fees. I cannot allow this to happen and I will do something about this. I will make the most out of the time I have.
Q: How do you feel about the poor public perception of the police?
A: We can’t ignore the fact that the image of the police force is still negative. We’re very much dependent on people’s input and evaluation. We still see corruption [inside the police] occurring all the time. We need a mental revolution inside the force but also better internal and external supervision. But people also need to be more aware of the law and not break it. I have instructed my men to give verbal warnings to traffic violators and only issue a ticket when they won’t admit to breaking the law. This is one example of how the police are looking to stop corruption.
Q: Officers often argue that they take bribes to compensate for the low pay. What’s your take?
A: Our budget is far from sufficient. But that shouldn’t be an excuse to extort or take bribes from the public. I will take strict measures if they do. The government is slowly increasing our budget and we want to use it to the fullest. For example, according to our calculation, our budget is only enough to finance 300 days of patrols a year. But this doesn’t mean that we can go around looking for payoffs the other 65 days. It definitely doesn’t mean we should stop patrolling during these other days. We just need to be creative. If, for example, we use cars to patrol [an area], then maybe we can drop an officer in, say, Blok M [in South Jakarta] and he can patrol on foot. The bottom line is that officers need to be creative.
Q: How are you trying to mend ties with the KPK?
A:We need the KPK and the KPK needs us. For example, because police’s authority is limited, unlike the KPK’s, we spend too much time going back and forth to the prosecutors’ office when investigation a corruption case. But the KPK can act as a referee and determine if the case should go to trial or if [the prosecutors] are just giving us a hard time. We want the KPK to be not only good at enforcement but also prevention. We also want the KPK to involve the police in their investigations. Together, we can attack corruptors. That is what I see as the ideal relationship between the police and the KPK.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe