In a very recent function held to give away certificates of appreciation in recognition of Special Operations Command (SOC) and Dignitary Protection Unit’s hard work during recent operations, ACP Riyaz talked of two things; carrying fire arms (small arms) and establishing a Bomb Squad in 2009. He also praised the SOC by referring to them as “the Elite Force” of MPS. Understandably, they were the hardest hit component as far as the outcome of the presidential election is concerned. Praising SOC to this level is not my concern, however the issue of carrying fire arms (small arms) and establishing a Bomb Squad is; and I hope that this concern is shared by the nation as well.
The new Police Act empowers police to carry and use fire arms in times of need. Even then the questions are; do we need to have our officers carrying fire arms? Based on what assessment or estimate are we making this move? It has only been 4 years since MPS’ establishment and we have a lot to achieve in order to become a full fledged police organization. For me, acquiring fire arms and specializing in an area such as bomb defusing, does not fall under that. I believe that we have not successfully instilled the very principles of policing in the minds of a majority of our officers. Issuing these officers with fire arms or to the least ‘less lethal weapons’ would be an inappropriate move at this stage. I myself have experienced how they use the very minimum force in situations requiring the application of force. One might argue that the current volatility in terms of security in the nation requires us to move towards this paramilitaristic approach. I would counter this argument by saying we already have an organization by the name of MNDF to collaborate with us in such times where we have to resort to the use of excessive force in the interest of public safety or national security.
MPS and Interoperability
I believe interoperability is what we need to have with MNDF or other such services or agencies concerning national security, law enforcement, emergency or crisis management. We need to draw up strategies, plans and protocols and not just leave them on shelves but also put them into practice by rehearsing and revising. If the MNDF are unwilling to follow this path as talked by many, then it is the government or parliament’s role to step in to make sure that happens. If a piece of legislation is required to make this work then be it. Our nation is poor and the world community is sliding into the depths of a recession which would surely have a heavy impact on our economy as well. Keep in mind that economic security is the top most issue now in the world front.
The big question
In light of all this my question again is, why should the MPS duplicate resources or waste money on buying fire arms or invest in specializing on areas that the state already have? Why can’t we just think of alternative strategies and optimize resources in hand.
What’s your stand or opinion on this issue, reader?