The Two Types of Policing in Indonesia

(by Iqrak Sulhin)

Policing mean the way police do their jobs in order to make formal social controls, fighting crimes, and preventing crimes. Every country in the world has a police department and each of them doing different type of policing. Basically, the type of policing will different in every country because of the policing paradigm they have. For instance, in communist country like Republic of China, the policing types are based on the centralistic policy making in communist way. Police department also become the central government tools in controlling the community. This will be different in democratic country, when the police place their roles as the community servant. Overall there are two types of policing, the community policing and the paramilitary policing.

The final purposes of policing are make the social order, whether the community type of policing or the paramilitary one. In pursuing this, these two types do not have significant differences. Every time and every where police have the obligations to make the community live in safety. The increase of crime number needs more active police roles. Therefore in certain cases police can uses the more coercive type of policing like Republic of China usually did. Or in another case do more democratic way in policing as the servant of the community.

Meanwhile, there are significant differences between community policing and the paramilitary policing. The differences lead to discourses about what become the appropriate type of policing in term of the criminal cases and the type of the community it self. In another words, the type of policing is depend on context. It will become problems if policing type are the same in every context.

The differences between these two types of policing can be seen in several aspects. Especially in ideological and symbolic aspect, tools and equipment, rules of engagement, and in instructional order aspects. In term of ideology, community policing is more like a civilian police. Main set of policing are serve the community and in pursuing the social order there are force of cooperation between community and police. The basic reason for the cooperation is because community is subject for their own safety and knowing a lot about their own problems. For examples, police cooperation with the community in term of neighborhood watch. Therefore the symbolic aspect of community policing are different a lot with the paramilitary policing. Community police do not use uniform like army did. In doing their jobs, community police also do not uses military like verbal order or command. Just like daily dialogue. On the contrary, paramilitary policing main set is making the community as enemy of the state order. Criminal are part of the community and it violate the interest of state order. Therefore the symbolic aspect of paramilitary police is just like army. In Indonesia we can find this paramilitary symbol in Anti Terror Force (Datasemen Anti Teror 88) which belongs to Indonesia’s National Police (POLRI). In USA, we see it in SWAT (Special Weapon and Tactics) squad. This type of policing uses military like command. Such as, attack!

In term of tools and equipment, community type of policing is less violent potential. Such as, they do not recommend using guns and other violent potential tools. On the contrary, paramilitary type usually brings guns as their main tools. London Metropolitan Police are the right example for the community police tolls and equipment. Bobby, they usually named, do not bring guns. They only bring stick which is less harm full than guns. Bobby also patrols by foot, horses, or bicycle. In Indonesia, Yogyakarta Tourism Police are the perfect example for this. They also patrol by foot and use mini car which make more visibility to their interaction with the community.

In term of rules of engagement the community police do not put violent as the main way. There is a force to always persuasive to the community. In term of dangerous situation they always put negotiation as the first step to solve the problems. For example in student demonstration, community police put violent actions as the most last choices. On the contrary, paramilitary police rules of engagement put the violent ways as the first step. There is no negotiation for community activity that “breaking” the state order.

Finally, in term of instructional order these two types of policing are very different. Community policing allow each of police officer make a discretional decision. Discretional decision is informal police individual policy in solving the problem they face related to special context. For example, community police may release a boy who stealing something from the market, just because the boy is under 10 years. This police decision is based on his own consideration. The police may think it much better when the boy does not enter the prison. Meanwhile, paramilitary type of policing is very centralistic in decision making. Each police officer does not allow to making they own decision. Each of them also should obey the commander in charge. In term of this, paramilitary policing arguing discretional decision will make big problem for the police it self.

Indonesia’s police reform force the reduction of paramilitary type of policing. Community policing is more compatible with the on going democratic order in Indonesia. The way Indonesia’s police try to change to more civilian police, community policing become the right choice. Even though, these not mean that Indonesia or other countries should choice only one type on policing. In my opinion, in special cases, paramilitary type of policing find it context. Such as, fighting drugs international trafficking or terrorism. Although paramilitary police always put the community interest above other. Especially above the ruler class interest.


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