By TAY TIAN YAN
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
I had once thought that the country's law and order had been improved.
During that period of time, we could see more police officers on patrol and more temporary police stands in high crime areas. Even the service efficiency in police stations had been improved.
I really mean it. Take the residential area where I stay as an example, I could see patrol cars from time to time and sometimes, there were also mounted police on horseback, who might scare away thieves.
For a period of time, plainclothes police officers also posted sentries at major intersections to immediately investigated and questioned who looked suspicious.
The relationship between police and residents had also improved. District police and resident representatives held regular meetings and once in a week, they jointly patrolled the area.
The residents and police also held joint feasts during New Year and Hari Raya and when a young police officer got married, the residents held a small gathering to celebrate for him.
The relationship between residents and the police became closer and everyone kept the contact numbers of the police station and the sheriff.
Many residents found that police officers were actually very friendly, enthusiastic and determined to maintain law and order, instead of bureaucratic, apathy and lazy as imagined.
Under a series of communication efforts and innovative actions, I believed that the residents had a greater sense of security and the policing in that area had really been improved.
Unfortunately, the practices were not persevered.
The example reflected that the efforts to improve law and order should not be static, but require more creativity.
The police should not passively combat crimes, but appear in the public's eyes before a crime takes place. They should actively approach the community to understand the needs of the residents.
Meanwhile, residents should not take police officers as outsiders and look for them only in need, and severely criticise them when they are not in need.
Law and order is in fact a collective responsibility of a social group instead of the police force or the residents alone.
I had not much doubt when the government announced that the national crime rate has dropped. The crime rate should be lowered if the police cooperate with residents.
However, recent crimes showed another development trend. From kidnappings in shopping malls to the return of snatch theft, together with robbery and murder, the crimes have made people feel that the police's data seem to having a gap with, or even contrary to, the social truth.
The police has different views but fails to relieve the people's worries. When they are having their own interpretations, they should actually find out where the problem lies.
For example, is it true that after the abolition of the Emergency Ordinance, many detained under the act have made a comeback and resulted in the increase of crimes?
About 2,000 people having poor records have returned in Selangor alone. Their livelihood needs and habits have a certain decree of impacts to the society and it requires a collective observation and supervision of the police and the community.
The point is, there is no need to mutually accuse when crimes take place. Instead, we must identify the problems and solve it together.