The Star has on Monday reported that the police will be upgrading their equipment to fight the increasing and pervasive problems of crime. It is of course good for us to have a more modern force, with constables using hand-held computers and forensic departments functioning like in the popular series CSI.
I would support this acquisition of modern equipment and advanced methods of solving crime. In fact, any serious attempt to reduce crime rate will be welcomed, not only by me, but by the majority of the population. Crime has become such serious problems that everyone is talking about it.
But I have one caveat in my support of this acquisition of new equipment. The money must be spent wisely and with transparency. In the light of the Auditor-General's Report, there has just been too much of wasteful spending.
Another important point I would like to raise is that a hardware is only as good as the person handling it. You can give a computer to a totally IT-illiterate person, and that computer will be sitting like a white elephant in his home.
You can give a very modern tracking equipment to a constable, but if he has the "tidak apa" attitude, this piece of equipment will not be of any help to solve crime problems. You can give the best tools to a prosecutor, but if he does not prepare his case well, a thief will still be let free.
Similarly, a surveillance camera without an alert and efficient surveillance team will not be of use to prevent crime. A force equipped with modern technological gadgets such as hand-held computers will not be of much use if the force is corrupt or not efficient.
If we want a force that is as good as the FBI, the force must at least be as professional as the FBI.
I think the crime rate will improve if the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Police Force are implemented, especially the provision of setting up IPCMC.
I have written many times on this, in my blog as well as Malaysiakini, but after almost four years of waiting, the IPCMC has remained a dream. I have also blogged many times to ask for increase in pay for the police and I am really glad that they have been given a pay rise in July this year.
A force that is professional, fair and efficient will have more impact in lowering crime rate. Modern equipment to equip such a force will be like adding wings to a tiger, and I really look forward to that day when criminals will shiver on seeing a man in blue.