Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Shocking! Police Lost 0.04% of its Guns!

The recently released Auditor General’s report for the year 2012 claimed that RM1.3 million worth of guns and police gear were missing. The missing items include: 44 firearms, 29 vehicles, 26 walkie-talkies, 22 radios and other equipment.

The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said that the missing guns could have fallen into the sea from boats and therefore could not be recovered and the Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi have also come forward to support the IGP’s statement saying that there “has been no misappropriation”. 

Answering the fears that the guns might have fallen into the hands of criminals, Khalid said that each firearm carries an identification code and so far the Police has not come across any report of the missing weapons being used in any crime.  

As expected, the police was roundly bashed and ridiculed by the opposition parties, their affiliated NGOs, and the public for this apparent act of “negligence”. Some have even alluded to corruption within the force and linked the missing guns to the recent spike in violent crimes involving the use of firearms. 

It is unfortunate that the AG’s report has resulted in sullying the image of Police which has improved in the recent months due to the success of OP CANTAS and OP CANTAS KHAS in controlling violent crimes and gangsterism.

While the weakness in asset management identified in the AG’s report should be improved, is the public ridicule justified or are public taking this a bit too far?

Let’s look the performance of two of the world’s most advanced nations to see how they fare.

AUSTRALIA – in 2010 it was reported that 186 shotguns, semi-automatics and revolvers held by the Victoria Police can’t be accounted for. Police admits that many could have been lost, some destroyed without documentation and listings for others could have been duplicated.

In 2007 it was reported that 14 Glock guns have been stolen from NSW Police since 1996, including from police cars, and only 5 have been recovered.

USA – it was reported in August 2013 that the Philadelphia Police are working to locate a dozen unaccounted firearms including one M-16. Official explanations include the firearms might be with officers on injury leave, working in special units or purchased by officers who have retired from the force.

In April 2013, it was reported that at least 30 to 46 military surplus weapons had gone missing from Indiana police departments. The missing weapons include M-16, M14, shotguns, and .45 calibre handguns.

In December 2011, it was claimed in an audit report that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police lost track of 761 firearms! NRP said half of the firearms are actually non-working replicas used only for teaching.

Of course, these are only a subset of what has happened and is currently happening all around the world. 

The Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) is a 102,000-strong police force with responsibilities ranging from traffic control to intelligence gathering in a country bigger than the Australian state of Victoria. It can be assumed that the police have in its inventory enough guns to be issued to every single member of its force, to be carried when going on patrols, whether on land or at sea (we have the Marine Police who are doing just that). 

It needs to be recognized that no organization in the world is perfect and that weaknesses in the current systems can and should be rectified, but branding the whole police force as incompetent and worse is not the way to do it.

Let’s have more faith in our men in blue and continue to support them in making Malaysia safer together.

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